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Thread: So we can't be negative, err honest, about the planning profession?

  1. #101
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Hink:

    I hear what you're saying. But I have yet to hear a solid argument refuting my core beliefs about where the Profession is heading, as stated throughout this thread. ....Please, someone, tell me why I'm wrong. I'd love to hear it as much as the next planner. After all, this is still my chosen profession, and I am in the same boat as you. I am just saying things no one on here wants to hear. You can tell me to shut the fuck up if you want, but the ship is still going down. And if I sound arrogant or whatever, please forgive the manner of my speaking and focus on the substance of it. If there is anyone out there who is confident that things will not be as I say they likely will be, I want to hear it. And I promise not to argue just for the sake of arguing.
    I guess I don't think you have really made a solid argument proving planning is dead. But it is obvious that we aren't going to agree on that. Really there is nothing gained from arguing that point. I am not going to judge your arrogance or lack thereof, or whatever. I am just saying that I don't find this to be a substantive discussion about the merits of planning, more a sh!t on planning thread. Which again is fine. I think we need these.

    But for those who don't believe what you do, I think the arguments have been made which you requested. Just look throughout the thread. It is just the perspective of the reader I guess. To each their own. I respect that you feel that way, and I don't think there is anything wrong with your perspective. I just am not subscribing to your newsletter.
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  2. #102
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    While i don't think the ship is sinking like CC and Nick's views tend to lead, I strongly believe that planning will be experiencing a fundamental shift to leaner/meaner contraction mode. The days of the generalist planners are pretty much counting down to an end. Some States, particularly those with heavy regulation in the development realm will continue to utilize planners with specializations such as transportation, environmental, and economic development. Obviously getting a specialized BSCRP/BUP will be a disadvantage in these fields compared to someone with an environmental engineering/CE/or Economics background coupled with a masters in planning.

    Sadly, the days of the "designer" or "land use planner" are outnumbered (I consider myself this type of planner, as my specialty is design by trade). The reason being that this type of planner can be filled by insert arch/la/civil engineer trade here. Crappy design or knowlegable of rules or not, these guys can pretty much take a planner's place in a heartbeat, and have a valid and recognized license to boot. I know, you can say engineers can't design, but seriously, bottom line is the almighty dollar. Bottom feeder developers can care less who designs or entitles what as long as a project gets approved.

    Those of us with jobs and experience (especially public sector experience with the ability to guide projects through the entitlement process and work with governing bodies) will continue to be gainfully employed, but at the expense of the noobs. That's where the rub is. Those of us with jobs will be looked down on by those climbing to reach the peak, but instead we will cannibalize the new grads because we want to hold on to our profession.

    To be honest, I too have idealism, and I think I produced some nice long range plans in the private sector. I enjoy planning (and more so design and the built environment and shaping the future), but our schools and hot jobs or whatever the latest employment site claiming "planning" is the next big thing has it their head in the sand. Students or Noobs who want to make a difference? Go work for a development company or non-profit. I am serious. I wish more programs would take notice of the real world rather than worshiping ass-hats like Kutchner or whoever the latest in my face I know what's wrong with the world, so "mixed use" and "higher density will save us" comes along.

    I know my place. Incremental change takes a while, and I am ok with that because I know what my ultimate end game is (which isn't planning btw,but connected to it). Those of us that recognize how to weave through politics, land use, and government will continue to do well in planning or whatever is left when our nation and states continue to trim down the size of government, but I am sure those of us gainfully employed will make damn certain how to either keep our standings in our organizations, who pinpoint where our next gig will be at (selective job hunting).

    I might have rambled, but these are my thoughts on the subject.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  3. #103
    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post

    But for those who don't believe what you do, I think the arguments have been made which you requested. Just look throughout the thread. It is just the perspective of the reader I guess. To each their own. I respect that you feel that way, and I don't think there is anything wrong with your perspective. I just am not subscribing to your newsletter.
    I've re-read the entire thread, and no one has refuted my statements about where the profession is headed long-term , and why, without merely saying "I don't agree." (aside from the above which was posted in the time I wrote this)

    If you're not willing to get into it, that's fine, I respect that. But I disagree that this is a "shit on planning" thread. It is just a thread that has some very serious critical things to say about the profession that need to be addressed and talked about. Just because we are negative, (err honest) about where we feel this profession is going, doesn't mean it should be treated with such a dismissive air. That's nothing but a shoot-the-messenger mentality.

  4. #104
    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
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    Boy, a lot of sturm und drang in this thread. I think everyone is missing a couple of big points:

    - Planning is about being holistic. It's about bringing various disciplines together, trying to see how they interrelate, and what that means for the future. Few other professions require that level of "meta" thinking. That is a positive aspect of planning that will not change.

    - Other professions are trying to become more holistic. Complete Streets for transportation planning, NU/TND/LU for LAs and architects, etc. While this means that they somewhat encroach on plannings turf, it also validates the way of doing things that planning as a profession has been concentrating on for decades now.

    - Technology has made it easier for anyone to be a "planner." I remember 10-15 short years ago when GIS was hard, data was difficult to get and use, and lots of important planning materials were hard to get. Now, data is everywhere, 3-D maps are on Google Earth, etc. Much of the work that professional planners used to slave over has become much more easy to do. This lowers the bar and makes it harder for planners to be "experts."

    - In the near future, there will be incredible amounts of data for planners and the public to digest and put into some sort of rational framework. Just look at these blog posts from Flowing Data:

    Digital spotlights on landmarks

    iPhone fireflies across the Europen sky

    Brand sentiment showdown

    The first two map spatial data derived from Internet and iPhone users, the third mines Twitter for consumer preferences.

    This is just a glimpse of the kind of information that we will be playing with in the future. What will it mean for planning when we can see how many people actually go into a park or historic area in our city or town, when they go, and what they take pictures of? What kind of data is out there that hasn't even been mined yet?

    The future will still require planners, because only planners are positioned to take in the full view and make plans outside of the traditional silos of transportation, design health, environment, etc. But near-future planners will need to become much more data savvy to absorb and analyze all of the information that is already available and will become available. That puts pressure on current planners to up their game, and means that our skills will become out-of-date a lot quicker than we might like. But it doesn't mean we're going to disappear, just that we're going to change (and quickly).

  5. #105
    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    While i don't think the ship is sinking like CC and Nick's views tend to lead, I strongly believe that planning will be experiencing a fundamental shift to leaner/meaner contraction mode. The days of the generalist planners are pretty much counting down to an end. Some States, particularly those with heavy regulation in the development realm will continue to utilize planners with specializations such as transportation, environmental, and economic development. Obviously getting a specialized BSCRP/BUP will be a disadvantage in these fields compared to someone with an environmental engineering/CE/or Economics background coupled with a masters in planning.

    Sadly, the days of the "designer" or "land use planner" are outnumbered (I consider myself this type of planner, as my specialty is design by trade). The reason being that this type of planner can be filled by insert arch/la/civil engineer trade here. Crappy design or knowlegable of rules or not, these guys can pretty much take a planner's place in a heartbeat, and have a valid and recognized license to boot. I know, you can say engineers can't design, but seriously, bottom line is the almighty dollar. Bottom feeder developers can care less who designs or entitles what as long as a project gets approved.

    Those of us with jobs and experience (especially public sector experience with the ability to guide projects through the entitlement process and work with governing bodies) will continue to be gainfully employed, but at the expense of the noobs. That's where the rub is. Those of us with jobs will be looked down on by those climbing to reach the peak, but instead we will cannibalize the new grads because we want to hold on to our profession.

    To be honest, I too have idealism, and I think I produced some nice long range plans in the private sector. I enjoy planning (and more so design and the built environment and shaping the future), but our schools and hot jobs or whatever the latest employment site claiming "planning" is the next big thing has it their head in the sand. Students or Noobs who want to make a difference? Go work for a development company or non-profit. I am serious. I wish more programs would take notice of the real world rather than worshiping ass-hats like Kutchner or whoever the latest in my face I know what's wrong with the world, so "mixed use" and "higher density will save us" comes along.

    I know my place. Incremental change takes a while, and I am ok with that because I know what my ultimate end game is (which isn't planning btw,but connected to it). Those of us that recognize how to weave through politics, land use, and government will continue to do well in planning or whatever is left when our nation and states continue to trim down the size of government, but I am sure those of us gainfully employed will make damn certain how to either keep our standings in our organizations, who pinpoint where our next gig will be at (selective job hunting).

    I might have rambled, but these are my thoughts on the subject.
    CPSU, what you describe to me sure sounds a lot like the "ship is sinking," at least for the generalist planner. As for those who are left remaining in public positions, we will have to re-position ourselves out of the APA-approved planner trade and into a sort-of "Community-Government Facilitator" image, where our expertise has less and less to do with how things get built, and more to do with running government, since the physical planning will have been handed back to the architects and engineers.

    Cardinal:
    The future will still require planners, because only planners are positioned to take in the full view and make plans outside of the traditional silos of transportation, design health, environment, etc. But near-future planners will need to become much more data savvy to absorb and analyze all of the information that is already available and will become available. That puts pressure on current planners to up their game, and means that our skills will become out-of-date a lot quicker than we might like. But it doesn't mean we're going to disappear, just that we're going to change (and quickly).
    This is the first clear refutation I've read on this thread. My question is not how do we keep up with this rapid change, but more importantly how do we do so in a way that adds value to the profession?

  6. #106
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    But where do you see the profession going?
    One: Continue to address transportation issues with sprawl. While I doubt sprawl will die completely, I think a focus to make public transportation more accessible will exponentially grow as the years pass. The concept is far from new, but I think the future package will be. I'm working on something that relates to this right now, and already see ideas of how things can be improved.

    Two: Resource preservation. Example: You're from California, so you should know about AB 1887 and SB x7-7, etc, that deals with water. If you don't, you should. I think planners will need to work more with other departments to create better packages that address the needs. You can specialize, but you can't plan anything in a vacuum.

    Three: Hazard planning. Whether you believe in climate change or not, the term 'build back better' should still apply, and as we continue to grow, it'll make a larger difference.

    Four: Shrinking population planning. Europe and the UK have already seen this, and while states lie CA may continue to grow, other places will shrink. Read the thread abut the Sears houses in Ill, and I think this will become a growing issue as well.

    Five: Cities still have problems. Nothing is perfect and eventually you'll be able to start anew. Plus the community involvement that should go with it.

    These are just some basic quick ideas. The point is: the world is not stagnant and neither is the profession. But as I said (relating back to my theory 101 class ), the art and practice of planning has always existed. It won't suddenly die because you think so. Will it change? Yes, of course. It's why you need to be resilient and put issues into context. But I think having a heavily negative opinion won't help anyone in the long run.
    Last edited by dw914er; 02 Aug 2011 at 3:18 PM.

  7. #107
    Cyburbian HomerJ's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    I've re-read the entire thread, and no one has refuted my statements about where the profession is headed long-term , and why, without merely saying "I don't agree." (aside from the above which was posted in the time I wrote this)

    If you're not willing to get into it, that's fine, I respect that. But I disagree that this is a "shit on planning" thread. It is just a thread that has some very serious critical things to say about the profession that need to be addressed and talked about. Just because we are negative, (err honest) about where we feel this profession is going, doesn't mean it should be treated with such a dismissive air. That's nothing but a shoot-the-messenger mentality.

    I think what Hink is saying, and I agree, is that trying to prove that an entire profession is "dying" is kind of futile. Do you mean to say that the planning process as we know it is going to disappear? Or that planning as a profession will eventually be swallowed up by other related professions? I suppose I would agree that these things can occur, but I don't think it's occurring as violently or as drastically as you paint it.

    I don't know if I can refute your point (I frankly don't think there is a way to refute your point since so much speculation is involved in this discussion), but I graduated in '10 with only a 'BUP and after about a year of interning I have been employed as one of those disappearing generalist land use planners, for a municipality no less. Do I think my career will continue to go down the generalist planner route? I dunno, maybe, maybe not. If it's really as bad as this thread says it is, I have a hard time believing that there isn't some way to transfer the skills I have learned now into something else.

    I will give you one thing though, noobs need to see this. I think they should take it with a grain of salt, but they need to have their eyes wide open before making a big decision. It's unfair and irresponsible to just shrug it off and tell them "things will eventually turn around" without showing them how it is right now...
    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

  8. #108
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    I've re-read the entire thread, and no one has refuted my statements about where the profession is headed long-term , and why, without merely saying "I don't agree." (aside from the above which was posted in the time I wrote this)

    If you're not willing to get into it, that's fine, I respect that. But I disagree that this is a "shit on planning" thread. It is just a thread that has some very serious critical things to say about the profession that need to be addressed and talked about. Just because we are negative, (err honest) about where we feel this profession is going, doesn't mean it should be treated with such a dismissive air. That's nothing but a shoot-the-messenger mentality.
    I was almost going to post something similar earlier this morning but decided to wait it out Am I attacking the profession? Yes. Am I encouraging others to BE negative? No, but I think we need to face facts. Planning is dysfunctional and extremely unstable: it has been that way for years and years. BUT, this needs to be addressed, and if that means bringing out the ugly and unbearable into light then so be it. I started this post a week ago and already it has garnered +100 replies and over +3000 views. I don't monitor web traffic but that seems like a high response rate to me.

    We complain over and over again about the planning job market being flooded with applicants. Well what are WE doing to contain that? Writing letters to APA? Our profession is supply-heavy, and we have little demand for our services. So why don't we work at decreasing our supply? Heck, I don't have a problem with that, I'm already leaving the field anyway I'll side with CC, I haven't heard one valid counterargument to our claims, although I'm still a gentleman and try to avoid vulgarities and swearing

    Many of these responses have pointed out noteworthy exceptions, rising to planning's defense: "My job is safe" or "I'm focusing on this niche" or "this city has more job ads in THESE fields." Great. But that was not the point of my OP. I think it is our responsibility to offer a" realistic picture of our current profession [at large], even if it grows bleaker by the day."

    For a profession that claims it looks at the bigger picture many of you are looking it through your own jobs. That might keep you going, but what does it say about the rest of the profession. What were trying to do as a profession BEFORE this mess happened? Encourage planning licensure, promote "sustainability", encourage more affordable housing, educate the public about planning, foster and develop stronger relationships with allied professions. Yes, we do that, but do we really unify or rally behind a cause? Are we doing that now? No, its everyone for himself, save your job if you have one, and tell others to wait when the coast is clear. That's not saying much for our profession as a whole.

    I, too, have yet to hear anyone tell me to shut up. Scratches head-
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
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  9. #109
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    I, too, have yet to hear anyone tell me to shut up. Scratches head-
    Shut up already .

    I admire you and CC for voicing (strongly) your concerns for our profession. Most of the times we agree on many subjects (especially since all 3 of us were gainfully employed in the private sector at one time or another).

    Working in the public sector, my role truly is "facilitation". It just so happens that I am more grounded than my predecessor because of work i have completed in private practice and understand the whole "time=$" concept and I look at my role as a stepping stone to what I ultimately want our of this job/career track which is City Management.

    Maybe those of us are looking with a bit more "rosy" aspect because we have jobs that pay the bills, and bennies that to this day i tell myself "how the eff do we get away with this?"
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  10. #110
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    We complain over and over again about the planning job market being flooded with applicants. Well what are WE doing to contain that? Writing letters to APA? Our profession is supply-heavy, and we have little demand for our services. So why don't we work at decreasing our supply? Heck, I don't have a problem with that, I'm already leaving the field anyway I'll side with CC, I haven't heard one valid counterargument to our claims, although I'm still a gentleman and try to avoid vulgarities and swearing

    It wasn't but three or four years ago that I was trying to hire, and couldn't find a "pool" of qualified applicants - because they were all employed. Searched for a project manager, ended up with an entry level planner - on multiple occasions. It was like that, by the way, for all of my planning career - up to about 3 years or so ago (when the housing bubble hit). Never could find a qualified project manager... and entry level was somewhat slim pickings as well.

    I believe later in your post (not quoted), you note that most of us who are "positive" about planning are viewing this only through the viewpoint of one's own job security. By the same token, I would point out that you're viewing the state of our industry wholly through the lense of the recession. It will be a few years yet, but the housing market will eventually recover - and with it, the job market for planners.

    As to whether it will be "the same," I'd say both yes and no - depending on the context. If you plan in the Detroit area, it likely won't be the same (not by a long shot) - or so I assume, I'm just guessing as I don't live in or near Detroit. Out here in California, it will be the same thing, but probably in a different place (i.e., even further inland than the last wave of development in the late 90s/early 2000s). In more developed areas, the focus may be less on undeveloped parcels and more on redevelopment.

    However, in ALL of these cases, planners will be in demand - and they will fill a role that LAs/Architects/Engineers cannot fill. For one thing, LAs and Architects are EXTREMELY site level focused - meaning they're not equipped for larger developments (and we won't even get into their lack of writing ability). Engineers can't write (and I tend to think they can't read, either - outside of math equations), and so the very notion that engineers are going to supplant planners in any measurable way is laughable at best (indeed, in my experience, it has been we planners who have supplanted the engineers). General Plans/Community Plans/etc. still will continue to be only the planners domain, not to mention things like environmental documentation (which I strongly assert is NOT just a bureaucratic process).

    Yes, I'm on the optimistic side, at least in the long-term. I strongly disagree with the assertion that planning is somehow going away, or that it will mutate into some bureaucratic enterprise totally devoid of the principles and practices that we claim as unique to our profession.

    The only exception I hold out on is areas where Tea Party support is high, as in such areas planners are nothing more than government-hired communists (their view, not mine). To any planner in such areas, I feel for you - though your situation is not new or unique (as it's been happening in certain areas for as long as I've been studying or doing planning..such as parts of Nevada, Idaho, etc. - and there are probably similar references back east or in the mid-west).

  11. #111
    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
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    I think that calling out planning schools for churning out too many graduates, especially in a recession, is a valid point. However, this is not the profession's fault, it is the schools. Law schools are churning out too many lawyers, liberal arts schools are churning out too many english lit majors, and everyone is graduating into an environment that has 8 million less jobs than it did three years ago. APA has no say over how many students get accepted into planning school, nor should it. It's not a guild.

    We have between 16 to 20 precent unemployment right now, if you count the underemployed. Things are bad. We are three years into a recession. Government spending always lags in a recession, as it takes a while for tax revenues to fall and for government budgets to catch up to lower revenues. When the private economy starts heating up again (fingers crossed), it will take a while for government to ramp up spending after tax revenues increase.

    We have a way to go before government starts feeling stable again. Until then, planning jobs will suffer because, as others have pointed out, planning is more expendable than, say, police and fire protection. This does not mean that "planning is dying," just that planning is not a necessry function during a severe economic downturn when precious little development is occurring that requires planning.

    Planning "died" in the 1970's recession, it "died" again in the early 1990's recession, and it's "dying" now. It will come back at some point like it always has, but it will be different because the world will be different.

    This does not help those who lose their jobs during the recession and can't get new ones, nor does it help those who graduate into a terrible work environment. Many of those people should go back to school to become nurses, accountants, or IT professionals, as they will probably kick around for years in unfulfilling jobs waiting for their chance at a "real" planning position, then get passed over by recent graduates who have up-to-the-minute skills in the areas that planning will require in five years.

    So, in short, it sucks now. But it sucks for lots of people now, in all professions. A few years from now, it won't suck, and the profession will improve. But that doesn't help anyone now who's on the outside looking in. Those people should look at their options and see what else they can do with their lives. Sad but true.

  12. #112
    Quote Originally posted by JimPlans View post
    A few years from now, it won't suck, and the profession will improve. But that doesn't help anyone now who's on the outside looking in. Those people should look at their options and see what else they can do with their lives. Sad but true.
    For all you student out there reading and not posting, read this statement and read it again. Despite which side of the fence you fall in regards to the future of this profession, both sides more or less agree with this statement.

  13. #113
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    ^ If only I didn't switch out of Civil Engineering just last year

    Did I just ruin my life?

  14. #114
    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by FullCollapse747 View post
    ^ If only I didn't switch out of Civil Engineering just last year

    Did I just ruin my life?
    I was told that many of the applicants for our currently open zoning administrator position are out of work civil engineers, so I'd say no. Everybody's hurting.

  15. #115
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Without adequate funding, this profession is DOA.

    The planning profession has always been well financed, through one means or another, often through federal monies, whether it be old school grants for the development of zoning ordinances (can't remember the numerical program name) or more recently, the CDBG program. "Planning", doesn't bring in money.

    I consider myself lucky that I got in a few years before the crash and have developed some marketable skills that have served me well.

    Would I tell an individual not to pursue a career? Perhaps not. Would I tell the profession as a whole to reexamine what it means to be a "planner"? Without a doubt.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  16. #116
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Is every planner going to lose a job? The vast majority will continue to be employed, while ten or maybe even twenty percent will struggle. How is that different from other development-related activities like civil engineering or architecture, or unrelated fields like finance or retail? Are we going to pronounce them dead because of high unemployment?

    For all the discussion of how manufacturing is dead in the US, we still make a hell of a lot. We do it with fewer employees, but we continually hear of the inability of manufacturers to find qualified candidates. The people with the right skills and background are in great demand and can find jobs just about anywhere. In a worst-case scenario, the same will be true for planning; twenty percent fewer jobs, but continuing demand for certain skills. If all you did was development review you may struggle, but those with specialties (transportation at the moment, but that may change) will continue to have options.
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  17. #117
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    The people with the right skills and background are in great demand and can find jobs just about anywhere. In a worst-case scenario, the same will be true for planning; twenty percent fewer jobs, but continuing demand for certain skills. If all you did was development review you may struggle, but those with specialties (transportation at the moment, but that may change) will continue to have options.
    Well, that's not really surviving as a profession. When this mess started in the middle of last decade (or later depending on where you lived) it was the developers and the physical site planners. Then some of us switched to non-residential, so we built more strip malls, big box, libraries, city halls, public work facilities. Then the demand for those fell flat. Then we had the "shovel ready" products. Now, it could be severe cutbacks for DOT funding, CDBGs, Fannie/Freddie, etc. The changes over the past 6-7 years have impacted generalist planners, land planners/designers, current planners, long range planners, consultants and public sector alike. If it's not one group it's another.

    For those switching to other careers (1) the vast general public doesn't even know planning is which (2) makes it harder (although not impossible) to sell our transferable skills. I have had some luck so far bridging into another field, I have gone on several interviews and turned down an offer (distantly related to planning) a few weeks ago. I came up with some complex and innovative ways to market myself, which I'm not going to get into, but it was still a ton of blood and sweat. I don't think it's easy to just HOP on to the next project or the next project or the next project. Besides, if you are a generalist planner or a subdivision designer or grant writer whatever (or a mixture of many) planning could have been dead for years, too.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
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  18. #118
    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
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    Just wondering, do planners ever consider going into law as a land use attorney? I don't really see this discussed on this thread but it seems like another option to consider. (All kidding aside about attorneys in general.) I do think there's a need for competent land use attorneys since it seems like we only have one competent one in our area that everyone uses.

  19. #119
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    There have been plenty of planners who have gone to law school and vice versa. Land use law is just a specialization like malpractice, criminal, family, general practice, maritime trade, etc. The tens of thousands of students who graduate each year from law school are not in the same boat as this experienced attorney. I am guessing he/she probably built his reputation over several years, working for a firm or his own practice, to the point where people contract him as an expert.

    With any profession, I don't think enough people accurately measure the demand for services. Just because a profession is in demand, don't assume that you and I are in demand because we are in that profession, the same goes for planning. I am not an attorney, but I recommend picking up a copy of Law School for Dummies if you are interested in learning about law school. I recommended a few law school blogs a few years ago on here, I don't remember them but just search cyburbia under my name.

    I think lawyers are a very important asset, including planning and development, and there are plenty of hard-working, brilliant lawyers/planners earning rewarding careers practicing their craft, even if it's in a low-key office far away from a courtroom. BUT tuition has not gone up, especially with a swelling load of applicants each year. There is a HUGE opportunity cost and you may not see the benefits that this attorney has for many years, long after this country has come out of this mess, or possibly right when we are headed into the next one. As long as you know what to expect, go for it
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  20. #120
    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    Just wondering, do planners ever consider going into law as a land use attorney? I don't really see this discussed on this thread but it seems like another option to consider. (All kidding aside about attorneys in general.) I do think there's a need for competent land use attorneys since it seems like we only have one competent one in our area that everyone uses.
    A few of the top planning firms have a lawyer specializing in land use law in their firms. However, most land use law is practiced in an actual law firm (good example in California is Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP). One of my prior bosses was a land use lawyer who had gone into planning. He was not actively practicing law, but he was able to offer that kind of perspective for some of our clients.

  21. #121
    Cyburbian
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    If I had a nickel for each of my friends in civil engineering, architecture, finance, law, even primary/secondary education, police work, nursing and so on who complain about the same problems as many on this forum... well, I might have enough cash to match those jobs on the 'lowest salaries for planners' thread.

    Seriously, if you work in a profession that is not experiencing serious downsizing, grumbling about how the glory days are over, or even questioning aspects of its relevancy, you're probably an accountant or a doctor. No doubt planning is hurting, but i think some of the members on this site who are in their late 20s and 30s don't know just how tough it is for those of us who were born into this recession.

    On that note, I think some of the positive experiences i've taken away from this discussion are:

    1) consider working for non-profits. I have some non-profit experience, and while it doesn't give me the AICP tag (which most here seem to agree is next to worthless) I found that there was a lot of room for creativity on development projects.

    2) if times are tough for 'generalist planners,' find what you like about planning and pursue it.

    Times are tough for everyone; instead of reading law schools for dummies, I would suggest reading shitlawjobs.com. (keep in mind these people are paying off 3 years worth of law school loans).

  22. #122
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    Just wondering, do planners ever consider going into law as a land use attorney? I don't really see this discussed on this thread but it seems like another option to consider. (All kidding aside about attorneys in general.) I do think there's a need for competent land use attorneys since it seems like we only have one competent one in our area that everyone uses.

    Land Use Attorney = all the boring stuff about planning, without any of the fun stuff.

    Not to mention, it's not planning at all. Related - in the sense that planners need to understand land use law to an extent - but land use attorneys (in my experience) know little to nothing about planning (because they don't plan).

    Not to mention, land use attorneys are a dime a dozen in CA

  23. #123
    Quote Originally posted by tarf12345678 View post
    Land Use Attorney = all the boring stuff about planning, without any of the fun stuff.

    Not to mention, it's not planning at all. Related - in the sense that planners need to understand land use law to an extent - but land use attorneys (in my experience) know little to nothing about planning (because they don't plan).

    Not to mention, land use attorneys are a dime a dozen in CA
    In CA, land use law largely centers on CEQA, which I find fairly interesting, actually. But yes, I agree, most of land use law is quite dull.

  24. #124
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    In CA, land use law largely centers on CEQA, which I find fairly interesting, actually. But yes, I agree, most of land use law is quite dull.
    True that, but we get involved in the fun stuff with CEQA as planners. Heck, half the attorneys are worthless anyways

  25. #125
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    I would like to argue for the generalist planner. As public funds dry up and downsizing hits all of us, would not the generalist be able to take on the tasks of the former specialists? Some detail work the specialist used to do has to go away as there are no funds to cover them.

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