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Thread: I'm interested in urban planning and need some advice!

  1. #1
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    I'm interested in urban planning and need some advice!

    I have yet to begin my undergraduate education, but I have recently discovered the "world" of Urban Planning. It caught my eye because I have strong organizational and problem-solving skills, I love planning and creating layouts (no matter what it's for), and I have a passion for revitalizing urban areas and bringing business and people back to "dead areas". Do the characteristics I have described correlate with an Urban Planner?

    Also, where are most Urban Planners employed? Do they work for the government? What are typical salaries of an entry-level and a Senior-level Urban Planner? (I'm not one of those kids who "wants to get rich", so don't worry.)

    Lastly, if I do, indeed, pursue a career in U.P., I was considering an undergraduate double major in Urban Studies + Economics and a graduate degree in Urban Planning. What do you, as students, think of this education plan? Would it make me marketable? Any suggestions on other degrees, etc.?

    ANY ADVICE IS GREATLY APPRECIATED! Thank you!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally posted by Fargo View post
    I have yet to begin my undergraduate education, but I have recently discovered the "world" of Urban Planning. It caught my eye because I have strong organizational and problem-solving skills, I love planning and creating layouts (no matter what it's for), and I have a passion for revitalizing urban areas and bringing business and people back to "dead areas". Do the characteristics I have described correlate with an Urban Planner?

    Also, where are most Urban Planners employed? Do they work for the government? What are typical salaries of an entry-level and a Senior-level Urban Planner? (I'm not one of those kids who "wants to get rich", so don't worry.)

    Lastly, if I do, indeed, pursue a career in U.P., I was considering an undergraduate double major in Urban Studies + Economics and a graduate degree in Urban Planning. What do you, as students, think of this education plan? Would it make me marketable? Any suggestions on other degrees, etc.?

    ANY ADVICE IS GREATLY APPRECIATED! Thank you!
    I'm just in my master's rpogram for planning, but from reading and speaking to people here is my advice. It's my personal advice.

    Most planners work for governments (~2/3rds). From jobs I've looked up starting range bounces between 30k-60k depending on the region of the country and the level of work required. The national average is ~68k a year for planners. Depending on where you find employment you COULD make six-figures later in your career, but cost of living will eat into that notably.

    Now, for my personal advice. Major in Engineering. Engineers will always have an easier time finding work than planners, and you can be an Engineer making decent money without a master's. Get an undergrad in Engineering. Minor in either Economics, Political Science, Urban Studies or maybe a couple of them. Intern your butt off and get experience. Go to graduate school for planning, and get your master's degree.

    You'll always have a good fall back in engineering, and it'll give you a decent foundation for urban planning.

  3. #3
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    I think planning could be a good fit for you. Just with undergraduate degrees, pick a degree that you feel that best aligns with your interests in the planning field. Urban studies and economics are both good options but maybe not so much if you're interested in things like transportation, urban design, or the environment. If you just want a well rounded undergraduate degree, I'd say your best bet is probably geography though.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally posted by Fargo View post
    I have yet to begin my undergraduate education, but I have recently discovered the "world" of Urban Planning. It caught my eye because I have strong organizational and problem-solving skills, I love planning and creating layouts (no matter what it's for), and I have a passion for revitalizing urban areas and bringing business and people back to "dead areas". Do the characteristics I have described correlate with an Urban Planner?

    Also, where are most Urban Planners employed? Do they work for the government? What are typical salaries of an entry-level and a Senior-level Urban Planner? (I'm not one of those kids who "wants to get rich", so don't worry.)

    Lastly, if I do, indeed, pursue a career in U.P., I was considering an undergraduate double major in Urban Studies + Economics and a graduate degree in Urban Planning. What do you, as students, think of this education plan? Would it make me marketable? Any suggestions on other degrees, etc.?

    ANY ADVICE IS GREATLY APPRECIATED! Thank you!
    I agree with blide, and I recommend sifting through the million threads on this board discussing the difficulties in finding a job in this profession, and the discussions of taking on so much debt for a profession in the doldrums for the foreseeable future, especially if there is no mini-revolution in this country to get rid of the current political economy and replace with something else. Econ might give you a tiny advantage for real estate work or maybe in regional planning or possibly at the federal level.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  5. #5
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    I assume any profession in architecture, planning, real estate, construction, etc. is hurting right now. In your experience(s), have you found this to be true? Are you wishing you had followed a different career path?

  6. #6
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    Yeah, any profession related to construction is really hurting right now. It'll certainly recover in time but it's unlikely it return to how it was.

    As for whether I regret my career path. I'm still early in my career but I personally don't regret it. Pretty much every field is hurting now, planning perhaps a bit more than others though. You just have to make the best of the opportunities you're presented with and try to make it work.

  7. #7
    As far as whether planning is just another career field that is hit hard due to little construction, read this: http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showt...egrees-granted

    There is strong evidence that suggests limited opportunities through 2020 for graduating planners.


    (post 666!!!) oh my

  8. #8
    I'm on the same boat as the opening poster. I've been fascinated with cities since I was a kid. I still draw maps and design my own cities, and I've always wanted to be a city planner. But reading these forums over the past six months makes me doubt my prospects in the future as a steady career choice.
    It is very disappointing. But I guess I have another year until college and four years of university to really decide what I want to do.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by IndianaChris94 View post
    ...reading these forums over the past six months makes me doubt my prospects in the future as a steady career choice...It is very disappointing. But I guess I have another year until college and four years of university to really decide what I want to do.
    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    There is strong evidence that suggests limited opportunities through 2020 for graduating planners.
    The way our politics is failing to respond makes job prospects in planning/arch/LArch poor. Your indicators for improvement is whether the transfer of wealth to only the rich continues. Whether Citizens United is repealed/overturned. Whether the student loan debacle that just passed is reversed. Short of a coup/revolution, that is your hope - the big money is prevented from directly entering politics.

    If that doesn't change, the country doesn't change (and indeed gets worse). We are in decline. Luxury jobs don't expand in decline.

    That's the deal.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

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