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Thread: Gaining experience in planning

  1. #1
    Member
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    Feb 2011
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    Mississauga, Ontario, canada
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    Gaining experience in planning

    First and foremost, I wanted to say hello to everyone here. This looks like a great place to connect with many people in this field and genre of work.

    I am in my first year at York University in Toronto, studying environmental studies looking towards a focus in management. I plan on taking this course to become an urban, or environmental planner in the future. This is career change number 3 for me, and I guess my fears of making this jump are as follows: I've done schooling for policing, customs and immigration, and mutual funds prior to my current enrollment. Additionally, I left an investments career in August to pursue this dream.

    I'm curious to hear from people here on how they broke through into this field? This is from a work experience stand point. I'd love to be able to volunteer at a planning firm just to get a taste of things, and to start networking myself.

    Secondly, is a bachelors degree sufficient anymore education wise? Or is a masters the smarter way to go?

    For the experienced planners here as well, what portion of the job focuses on design vs the political aspect? I do love the idea of desigining urban areas, intensification, or managing greenspace, but do find the bureacratic portion to be revolting; I'm sure some people here have been jaded of the difference they wanted to make vs what they have been able to do.

    Sorry for the winded post, just wanted to get all of my thoughts out in one go!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2005
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    NYC area
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    Quote Originally posted by Boncza82 View post

    For the experienced planners here as well, what portion of the job focuses on design vs the political aspect? I do love the idea of desigining urban areas, intensification, or managing greenspace, but do find the bureacratic portion to be revolting; I'm sure some people here have been jaded of the difference they wanted to make vs what they have been able to do.

    Sorry for the winded post, just wanted to get all of my thoughts out in one go!
    It is all HIGHLY political. You're in the change business, which is inherently political. You need a thick skin and a strong sense of both your own ideals as a professional and the ability to read the winds of the particular community you're working in. Now, if you're working in a larger department doing design stuff, it's possible to be insulated from a lot of the political warfare that goes on around planning as you work on your particular piece of an overall project. However, if you're a jack of all trades local planner, you'll have to learn to become an 'operator' in your own right if you are to succeed and not become a burnout. Even then, you may still burn out.... hope this helps.

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