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Thread: Urban design or transportation planning?

  1. #1

    Urban design or transportation planning?

    Hi, I'm working on my grad school applications. I just want to get some opinions from the community. I've narrowed my options to the greater New York area because I would ideally want to work in this area. I have a BS in landscape architecture and would ideally want to work at city government or nonprofit.

    I'm interested in Urban Design so my top choice is Penn. However, many of you mentioned that I shouldn't go broke with the degree and if I decide to go to Penn (or if Penn accepts me) I will be paying off debts for a long time. I went to their Open House and was thoroughly impressed with the program. I also really liked their many dual degree options, so in any case, if I want to pursue my MLA I could do that on top of my MCRP (of course, that would mean more debt too...but having the option is wonderful). On the other hand, I am also interested in transportation planning, which I heard Rutgers does a pretty good job in and their tuition is much less than Penn. However, I was there for undergrad and I am looking for some new experiences. I went for their grad expo and got some information from current students, they seemed very positive about the program...

    Initially, Columbia was my 2nd choice after Penn, but the cost and the overall impression of Columbia planning on here aren't very positive. I know this is really minor and shouldn't speak of the quality of the school, but their website is really hard to navigate. I plan to attend their open house next week to get a better assessment on the program. I am also planning to apply to Pratt because it fits in my geographic criteria. I don't know how strongly I feel about Pratt given that it is an evening program which means it will take more time to complete.

    Should I apply elsewhere within this area? I know applying is expensive, but I want make sure that I'm heading in the right direction. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Sep 2011
    Location
    newark nj
    Posts
    187
    Quote Originally posted by cindabyte View post
    Hi, I'm working on my grad school applications. I just want to get some opinions from the community. I've narrowed my options to the greater New York area because I would ideally want to work in this area. I have a BS in landscape architecture and would ideally want to work at city government or nonprofit.

    I'm interested in Urban Design so my top choice is Penn. However, many of you mentioned that I shouldn't go broke with the degree and if I decide to go to Penn (or if Penn accepts me) I will be paying off debts for a long time. I went to their Open House and was thoroughly impressed with the program. I also really liked their many dual degree options, so in any case, if I want to pursue my MLA I could do that on top of my MCRP (of course, that would mean more debt too...but having the option is wonderful). On the other hand, I am also interested in transportation planning, which I heard Rutgers does a pretty good job in and their tuition is much less than Penn. However, I was there for undergrad and I am looking for some new experiences. I went for their grad expo and got some information from current students, they seemed very positive about the program...

    Initially, Columbia was my 2nd choice after Penn, but the cost and the overall impression of Columbia planning on here aren't very positive. I know this is really minor and shouldn't speak of the quality of the school, but their website is really hard to navigate. I plan to attend their open house next week to get a better assessment on the program. I am also planning to apply to Pratt because it fits in my geographic criteria. I don't know how strongly I feel about Pratt given that it is an evening program which means it will take more time to complete.

    Should I apply elsewhere within this area? I know applying is expensive, but I want make sure that I'm heading in the right direction. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    I'm currently doing Transportation at Rutgers and I love it.

    With that said, you have to do what makes you happy. But think about being happy for a long time and how happy you'll be saddled with huge debts. Your call.

    I did Rutgers both undergrad and graduate. I have too many thing in the area (fiance, etc.) to opt for further away and new experiences.

  3. #3
    @ddomin4360

    Can you elaborate on your experience at Rutgers doing transportation? What kind of courses intrigued you the most? What made Rutgers so enticing....besides your personal ties to the area?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Sep 2011
    Location
    newark nj
    Posts
    187
    Quote Originally posted by cindabyte View post
    @ddomin4360

    Can you elaborate on your experience at Rutgers doing transportation? What kind of courses intrigued you the most? What made Rutgers so enticing....besides your personal ties to the area?
    Well for starters Professor Pucher is just fantastic. I'm currently taking both his Transportation courses this semester, Urban Transportation Policy, and Walking and Biking for Sustainable Cities. He's very knowledgeable on transportation issues, particularly when it comes to bike/ped stuff.

    Urban Transport Policy is kind of like an intro to Urban Planning & Transit. The other course is much more in depth, and he works very hard to get "real world" people to come give lecturers. I don't think he himself has given a lecture in that course yet. We've had engineers, local planning department planners, urban designers, ADA people, regional planning groups, etc come. It has been very enlightening, and very hands on. Most of the guests lecturers bring some kind of corridor redesign project of some sort for us to apply what we know to real world intersections, etc.

    Currently, I'm also in a studio that is developing a greenway for a local municipality. Next semester I'll be doing a studio on developing complete streets in Newark to encourage low-income people to bike more often as a means of travel.

    To be honest the main reason I went to Rutgers besides personal issues was my desire to concentrate on International Development, not that many Planning Programs offered a concentration in ID. Of the schools I applied to only Rutgers offered it (Also applied to Buffalo, Albany, Temple, and U of Southern Maine) I took a course in it my first semester and didn't find it appealing. It was too theoretical and economics based for me. I wanted to take courses on planning/land use/transit issues in developing countries, but the program definitely doesn't go that way.

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