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Thread: Urban planners in non-traditonal settings

  1. #1
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    Urban planners in non-traditonal settings

    Hey all,

    Sorry if this has been posted already, but I was wondering about planning jobs in non-traditional professions. For example, I thought I heard Wal-Mart has planners that help plan their new stores or take over warehouses etc. What are some other ways to get in to these professions and how do they compare to the traditional government and private-public organizations?

    I'm looking for other avenues to get into planning in addition to school since I'm a non-traditional student.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I am fairly certain all of the big chains have Planners to help them through Zoning, traffic impact studies, site selection.

    Those the follow Christaller's Central Place Theory will have an advantage over the competition.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  3. #3
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    You are correct that there are a number of avenues within planning that are somewhat non-traditional or hybrids with other allied professions. I've seen financially-oriented planners that consult with developers/businesses on real estate proformas. I've seen exceptionally analytical planners, particularly those with a knack for demography, consult or work for businesses in site selection & market analysis. Some, like our very own Cardinal, tend to specialize in economic development related planning. There are all kinds of niche sub-fields in the profession.

    As far as getting into these sub-fields, it honestly comes down to job hunting and internships. It also may involve how you supplement your degree program at the university with a minor or double-major in a field that compliments. I've known a few planners that minored in Finance in order to move toward the development side. Every company functions a bit differently, especially in the private sector, when it comes to some of the specializations. For example, some businesses have in-house folks, while others have a consulting firm handle it. For some reason, it seems like a lot of these consulting firms are based out of Ohio. Similarly, these companies often have regionally preferred developers that do the work for them under specific site criteria.

    By non-traditional student I assume you mean that term as established in education statistics. Your non-traditional status doesn't have a lot to do with whether you go into a less traditional planning field--you should study and pursue the planning niche that interests you regardless of your personal background. My advice to anyone is to cast a broad net to figure out what you're really interested in and what will pay the bills. Get involved with local planning groups like APA so you can see what might be a good match in the region for future internships/employment. If site analysis/selection & land development is more your interest, I'd suggest Urban Land Institute as well.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    You are correct that there are a number of avenues within planning that are somewhat non-traditional or hybrids with other allied professions. I've seen financially-oriented planners that consult with developers/businesses on real estate proformas. I've seen exceptionally analytical planners, particularly those with a knack for demography, consult or work for businesses in site selection & market analysis. Some, like our very own Cardinal, tend to specialize in economic development related planning. There are all kinds of niche sub-fields in the profession.

    As far as getting into these sub-fields, it honestly comes down to job hunting and internships. It also may involve how you supplement your degree program at the university with a minor or double-major in a field that compliments. I've known a few planners that minored in Finance in order to move toward the development side. Every company functions a bit differently, especially in the private sector, when it comes to some of the specializations. For example, some businesses have in-house folks, while others have a consulting firm handle it. For some reason, it seems like a lot of these consulting firms are based out of Ohio. Similarly, these companies often have regionally preferred developers that do the work for them under specific site criteria.

    By non-traditional student I assume you mean that term as established in education statistics. Your non-traditional status doesn't have a lot to do with whether you go into a less traditional planning field--you should study and pursue the planning niche that interests you regardless of your personal background. My advice to anyone is to cast a broad net to figure out what you're really interested in and what will pay the bills. Get involved with local planning groups like APA so you can see what might be a good match in the region for future internships/employment. If site analysis/selection & land development is more your interest, I'd suggest Urban Land Institute as well.
    Outstanding post SR. Thank you very much, I will definitely employ some of these tips to help me on my journey.

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