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Thread: Getting ready for planning and urban design....

  1. #1

    Getting ready for planning and urban design....

    Trying to get some courses under belt to apply to planning and design school. I really want to hit the ground running when starting the program and have a whole year to get started.

    What would you guys recommend to take at your local CC? GIS? AutoCAD? I am really just looking for basics.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by manoverde84 View post
    Trying to get some courses under belt to apply to planning and design school. I really want to hit the ground running when starting the program and have a whole year to get started.

    What would you guys recommend to take at your local CC? GIS? AutoCAD? I am really just looking for basics.
    hand drawing classes. Start there first.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  3. #3
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Moderator note:

    Moved to the student lounge so you can get more feedback from other students as well as professionals that take a particular interest in helping students chart a planning career.

    SR


    I 100% agree with Raf. Hand-drawing/hand-rendering is my recommended start point because you learn the art of good design and learn to be more deliberate in what you draw compared to our computer software crutches.

    "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
    Cyburbian
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    Great idea to get a jump on learning these programs. I and many others in my program had a steep learning curve, while also trying to learn content. I'd say Adobe Illustrator is extremely important, although not very difficult to learn. GIS is also extremely important and in my opinion much harder, so I'd start there. Photoshop is another useful tool, as is AutoCad, especially if you're leaning towards the design end of the spectrum.

    I actually don't agree that hand drawing is all that important. The vast majority of the drawing we did consisted of boxes and circles on trace.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by bostonplanner View post

    I actually don't agree that hand drawing is all that important. The vast majority of the drawing we did consisted of boxes and circles on trace.
    Not to pick a fight, but to say hand drawing is not that important for someone seeking "urban design" is like bringing a knife to a gun fight. Knowing how to draw goes back to a fundamental principal of planning. One of the main things I see recent grads lacking in skills is placemaking and the lack of emphasis of teaching basic hand rendering skills (urban planning with a spin on policy aside).
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    It's not picking a fight, but I stand by my statement. Getting a master in urban planning with a focus on urban design is very different from getting a master in urban design in terms of required skills and what one can do with the degree. If the OP wants to actually design, then the latter is the degree to get (which would probably required getting a first degree in architecture or landscape architecture). In that case, yes, hand drawing is important.

    As an urban planner with an urban design focus in school, and who now works for a large urban planning and design firm, I've found in my experience that hand drawing has been of minimal value.

  7. #7
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    oh wait... I just put together that you were not already IN a program yet. In that case, you're just looking to get familiar with tools, etc. and will be developing your design chops in school and through internships.

    Given that you want to do design, I would start with the Adobe family of products or AutoCAD rather than GIS (which is more of an analysis software). The Adobe products are also a bit more friendly to your home computers compared to ESRI's ArcGIS or AutoCAD, plus I think the Adobe stuff is a bit cheaper & easier to learn. If you're a student in high school, voc/tech/cc school or university, I think you can get pretty substantial student discounts on Adobe software. The Adobe products you'll likely need to know for a future career are Adobe Photoshop (easiest to learn), Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign. I believe those three programs are included in one of Adobe's "Creative Suites." AutoCAD is also a good community college course choice--CC courses in AutoCAD are often far more practical in nature because most CC's have an associates degree available in drafting.

    "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)

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by bostonplanner View post
    As an urban planner with an urban design focus in school, and who now works for a large urban planning and design firm, I've found in my experience that hand drawing has been of minimal value.
    As an urban planner with a design focus in school, whom worked for a boutique planning and design firm and now employed by a municipality, my boss(es) have emphasized hand drawing versus the computer. Than again, I probably was trained as one of the last planning classes that really emphasized this as indesign/photoshop/illustrator was still coming of age in the profession. (to which i am completely proficient in simply because i am ok at hand rendering, but my real skills are taking hand renderings and really making them pop in those programs, so i am no dinosaur ;P)

    For expediency of design alternatives and land use planing, paper and pencil is just always faster than setting everything up in either CAD or GIS, well at least imo
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  9. #9

    Excellent guys...

    Now moving on to the classes too.

    Which classes should I be ready to take at my local CC? By hand drawing, you mean take a regular drawing art course or an architecture art drawing course?

    Later on should I take GIS? AutoCad? Enviro Design? Actual planning or urban design courses are very limited in community college so I guess I will substitute arch classes for it?

    http://www.elarchitecture.org/Courses.html

    There is this program at East LA College

    OR


    http://catalog.lacitycollege.edu/pages/architecture.htm

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    [mod]
    I 100% agree with Raf. Hand-drawing/hand-rendering is my recommended start point because you learn the art of good design and learn to be more deliberate in what you draw compared to our computer software crutches.
    I think this is why you should take a drawing class or some kind of art class in design:to learn the principles of good design, which are the same whether you are painting a picture or sculpting a statue or designing a building or planning a development project. Computer software can't give you that knowledge.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  11. #11
    I am interested in Cal Poly Pomona. Anyone know their GPA minimum requirements? Website says 3.0 but that's never really the case.

    My GPA is a paltry 2.99, right at the cutoff for 3.0. I wanted to take these community college courses to not only build my portfolio, tool kits, but start fresh with a new higher GPA.

    I want to take important and vital classes. Which ones should they be in?

  12. #12
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I, like Raf am a dinosaur. I jumped ship out of architectural school after four semesters because I saw the writing on the wall. I loved to draw without the aid of computers and CAD was very much in its infancy and not yet in schools! Yes there was a time when schools lagged on the technology curve (1980's).

    I have no regrets that I spent years perfecting my draftsmanship qualities though I never get a chance to use them other than to explain to other planners what the symbols mean! I also have no regrets of switching over to doing more policy work.

    Manoverde84, the most important classes are the ones that interest you the most. You will have a better chance of upping your GPA and learning skills that will transfer into what you want to do. School is not purely about getting good grades or getting a high paying job. Its about learning. If you go to college and not learn its very boring and not challenging. That is primarily why I never finished grad school. I excelled as an undergrad and took all of the grad level courses then. That left me slim pickings for post graduate work.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  13. #13
    I Understand I should take courses in stuff that I love but I do enjoy urban planning, arch, design, etc. I am just wondering whats best to help enter into grad school

  14. #14
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I, like Raf am a dinosaur. I jumped ship out of architectural school after four semesters because I saw the writing on the wall. I loved to draw without the aid of computers and CAD was very much in its infancy and not yet in schools! Yes there was a time when schools lagged on the technology curve (1980's).

    I have no regrets that I spent years perfecting my draftsmanship qualities though I never get a chance to use them other than to explain to other planners what the symbols mean! I also have no regrets of switching over to doing more policy work.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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