As far as number 3 goes buyouts do seem popular in more conservative states where public workers are looked upon with disdain already.
So I went through the ACSP numbers as well and got roughly 2,884 degrees being issued annually by US universities to student across all levels (undergrad, masters, and PhD) so I find Chocolate Chips 25,308 number over 10 years to be quite possible.
A couple of things I noticed were:
-Most programs are only issuing less than 30 degrees per year
-The only university issuing more than 100 degrees per year was USC
-California makes up a large portion of degrees offered (7 of 73 programs for 489 of the 2884 degrees or 17% of all planner degrees),
Last edited by chocolatechip; 12 Jul 2012 at 7:16 PM.
When you factor in how many graduates with non-planning degrees end up competing for planning jobs, I'd be willing to bet this more than balances out in terms of planning grads moving to other fields vs. non-planning grads competing for planning jobs.
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As far as economic/community development, many of those jobs are a subset of planning, and are, to a degree, captured in the BLS figures. Also, many of the programs reviewed by the ACSP have specializations in these areas and so they are also captured, to a degree, in the estimated number of new planners, although I did not include programs where the only major was, for example, historic preservation, etc. Of course, this would under-estimate those competing for planning jobs, because the BLS numbers include a lot of those people in "Urban Planners."I find it interesting that collectively, posters to these threads seem to think that going into economic development or community development means leaving the planning field.
Planning will continue to, and increasingly be, a very competitive field to get into, despite attrition, despite economic recovery, despite population growth projections, despite the rise of cities, despite the supposed "need" for planners. What we're seeing is a major cultural shift, where some professions are morphing into others. And the numbers that I analyzed are a product of that.
How did hundreds of universities get to the point where they are producing tens of thousands of unhireable planners? I think it's because of two things, and represented by two different types of planning schools: 1. The Old School, or programs that started in the 1950s-1970s. What we see here is an increasing emphasis put on the environment, a cultural undercurrent toward socialism, and the beginning of suburbanization. So planners were needed, and they fit into that system. 2. Then there are the Copy-Cat Schools, the ones that start pumping out truck loads of planners starting in the 1990s because of the temporary demand of the housing boom. Both of these types of schools are tied to a quickly fading paradigm. The New Economy has no place for the types of planners produced by these schools. But, as shown in the numbers, they are still producing them en-masse. And that's going to be a problem.
Hopefully, every one of these schools has professors who understand what's happening in the real world and have the guts to affect change toward a more relevant department and curriculum. Limiting entry into, and slimming down, their programs might be a first step toward this... but I highly doubt many of them will choose to do so.
CC, you had me till the last two paragraphs. You have it dead wrong with the production of "unhireable planners." Not everyone in planning school has the intention of landing a generalist Planner I gig with a city. My grad program attracted several discernable groups with interests ranging from: the environment, transit, international development and the Peace Corps, growth management and land use, and design. Of the groups mentioned, it was usually only the one pursuing growth management that knew they wanted to work for a city. Others wanted to work internationally with an NGO or DOT and so on. Yet we all received a MSP that would have been counted toward the BLS numbers. This paradigm shift you speak of is further progressed than you may think.
My views of the problem are those choosing to pursue a masters in planning but haven't done their homework about their desired career or the realities of the job market.
The economy will turn around. Communities will still need planners. Maybe just not as many as we're producing, but quit with the hyperbole about "The New Economy".
Population growth estimates:
http://www.planetizen.com/node/54838 ; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richar...b_1608363.html).
Also, what's wrong about opening up a dialogue about how planners should be educated in the future? What's so unhealthy and negative about that?
But if you only want to answer one question, answer me this: If there's nothing wrong with how many planners are being produced and how they are educated, why are there not enough jobs now and projected for them in the future?
I am going to chuck most of these projections out the window. No one knows how many doctors or lawyers or plumbers we will need 10,20,30 years down the road, just as we never know how many shoelaces, razors, or cups of Victory Gin will ever be enough. There is not some centralized hierarchial ministry that dictates the right supply. Our profession is roughly 30,000-50,000 and our profession still operates at the local level. If you want to know what the demand for planners is, do a bunch of informational interviewing with practicing planners before signing up for a program. Chucking around some reports isn't going to solve anything. Too many people take the easy way out read up ABOUT the planning profession without even TALKING TO A PLANNER FIRST.
"This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
"M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."
That is: resuming a return to status quo because that is what people do - without examining evidence - is a suboptimal way to plan. Jus' sayin'. Presuming that a luxury good like the regular planning like we all did up to several years ago with less and less money going to luxury goods is a risky way to plan your personal future. Maybe we can learn Chinese and go over there and bite your lip under our face mask.
Yes, intensive planning is a luxury good. Infrastructure planning will not be, but plan review to make sure the developer has their two trees and four shrubs and 15' setback and .4 FAR in a country in economic and social decline will be. Unless something happens and magically we lock up all the bankers and current pols and throw away this dysfunctional political economy. Come now.
Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.
Having hired and having worked with many planners over the last 25 years, I have to say that some of the best came from an educational background outside of planning. Some did not have college degrees in the first place, and some of these have been among the best planners I have known. This does suggest that there can be changes to planning education to improve the quality of new entrants to the field. It also corroborates what others have said, that if you include all of the geography, public administration, environmental science, and other majors who will pursue a career in planning, the number of candidates is much larger than when you only consider those graduating from an accredited planning program.
I think it is useful to look at the potential number of job openings in the future. I do think this is possible. It is no different than when we do population projections for an area. We may get it right or we may be blindsided by events beyond our control. A few years ago the prospects for planning looked pretty good when I could not find a qualified candidate for a senior planner job I wanted to fill. If I were to advertise that job today I would have a hundred appliants. That job no longer exists. Could we have guessed that in 2007? The current political environment is not favorable for government in general, and certainly not for planning. Maybe that will continue or maybe the winds will change.
The point I made earlier is that I would not tell anyone not to pursue an education for a field they desire, simply because it may look like there are not many jobs. Remember the episode of the Simpsons where Lisa is in a toy shop building a doll?
Employee: What outfit do you want for your doll?
Employee: Okay, nurse it is.
Employee: Kindergarten teacher.
Employee: Secretary to a CEO.
Lisa: You know, it's a boy dolphin.
Employee: Ohhh, here you go... doctor.
Does anybody here really want to be that employee? Maybe they will finish their degree and maybe they won't. Maybe they will stay in planning and maybe they will change majors to another field. Maybe they will graduate a and find a planning job and maybe they won't. As I said before, so what? Nobody is guaranteed everything they want. Few will get it if they don't pursue it. Don't tell people not to follow their dreams.
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So that is my perspective. Which is different, I guess, than for someone who has the luxury of thinking in terms of dreams, especially now. (Incidentally, it was enough of a dream for me to actually go to college in the first place.) But what I thought of as a practical choice (almost entirely fueled by housing bubble growth) is now shown to be most unfortunately not, and I don't think it's going to get any better for future planner graduates.
Last edited by chocolatechip; 14 Jul 2012 at 1:49 PM.
You want to blame the planning schools? Fine. Then please tell us what's wrong with the PAB accreditation criteria and how out of touch they are with the educational demands of "The New Economy". Your broad generalizations about the "old-school" socialist-leaning programs and the modern "housing-bubble oriented" programs are misinformed and won't cut it...
Maybe this should go in another thread, but I'd be interested in what topics planning education doesn't cover but should and which it now includes and should be deleted.
There is no consistency in planning education. We are not a licensed profession, and we do not have title/practice acts that bar other professionals from doing planning and calling themselves planners. Licensed professions (architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, interior design, surveying, etc.) are more or less streamlined. The goal of these programs is to produce entry-level workers capable of passing a licensing exam. That is why you see very few people with a PhD in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, etc. On the other hand planning academia has a huge research component that has little to nothing to do with career preparation. In many schools, who shall remain nameless, the planning program focuses far more on research/academia and does little to nothing to prepare students to DO planning. As many have said we have a very porous profession so it is much harder to judge the health of the profession.
"This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
"M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."
Anyone want to adopt a dog?