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Thread: Reactions

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    Reactions

    I'm curious as to the types of reactions folks get when they tell someone what they do i.e. "I am an urban planner" usually meets with the "curious dog" look, you know the one, their heads cock to the side and they go "huh?"

    Input from others?
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    I always got a ...huh??

    You do what??

    Oh you're the zoning guys right?? Yeah, exactly, the zoning guy.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Edmonton
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    Yeah, that's pretty typical. Usually it's the vacuous stare and the "oh... well, what's that?". I have found that advanced planning is easier to explain than current planning.

    Whenever I would explain current planning (reviewing proposed developments for conformance with city bylaws, policies, etc... making sure that developments don't harm the environment, etc...) I would usually get the following response: "so you are the one that reviews plans and then inspects buildings to make sure they are safe?" Depending on who it is I am talking to, sometimes I would just be like "yeah, sure"... if I actually thought this person cared about what I do, then I would go through the process of truly explaining it (maybe I've been through this too many times and I've gotten sick of explaining it over and over).

    My father went to some business function recently and met some colleague's daughter who had just graduated from UCLA's planning program. When she said that she started work as a city planner, he replied that I had been working in the field for many years. Her response: "Thank God I don't have to explain what I do for once!" So I guess it really is universal.

  4. #4
    "So you are the people who made <insert business name here> take down their sign"

    "Oh, you mean like redevelopment and stuff?"

    "So you tell people what they can't do with their own property"

    With people around here (Milwaukee Area) I can usually tell them some of the projects that are going on in the City where I work (like a major mall redevelopment) and then they go "ahhhhh...I understand"
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Dec 1998
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    NOLA
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    I get the blank stare. It was easy for me to say that I worked for the city. Now that I'm in the private sector, it's much different. I just cop out and say that I work for an engineering firm, but "I'm not an engineer."
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  6. #6
    Cyburbian sal95's avatar
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    Jul 2002
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    Hohenfels, Germany
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    I always get the huh? What kind of degree do you get for that? After trying to explain they ask "So, when is the City going to bring in a Red Lobster, Target, Best Buy, etc., etc." Sorry, don't work for the Chamber of Commerce or Economic Development Department.

  7. #7
    Typically get what's a city planner.

    My response a person who plans cities (hence the name). Then usually respond with we decide where the streets go and where the businesses should locate.

    This is always followed by we really do need people like you around (insert whatever city I happen to be in).

  8. #8
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Originally posted by sal95
    I always get the huh? What kind of degree do you get for that? After trying to explain they ask "So, when is the City going to bring in a Red Lobster, Target, Best Buy, etc., etc." Sorry, don't work for the Chamber of Commerce or Economic Development Department.
    Same thing. There's usually the inevitable three questions.

    1) What's that?

    2) What kind of degree do you need for that?

    3) "So, why are you letting them put a gas station over there? Why can't you put a nice restaurant over there?"
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Either I get a rundown of every problem that exists in their neighborhood that they think government should solve,
    or... the usual "Huh?",
    or... the other usual (from the new exterminator, new hairstylist, and most of the other parents I meet at my son's school) "Oh, I know you. I've seen you on t.v." (at commission meetings). I'm pleased that a lot of them become interested in the cases they see and ask intelligent questions, but on the other hand I wonder what they're doing watching local government t.v. in the first place.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Course, now that I am on the other side and I have to say I am a "DEVELOPER" the fun really starts

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Floridays's avatar
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    South FL
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    Them: "What does a planner DO?"
    Me: "Oversee the development of a community...platting, site plans, zoning, infrastructure...."
    Them: "Oh, so you're an ENGINEER!"
    Me: "Not exactly...."
    Them: (Eyes glaze over)
    End of conversation.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Feb 1998
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    Greensburg, Kansas
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    All of the above, often at the same time. I like the "so when you grow up, you will be a city manager?" types.

  13. #13
    Member
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    I can glaze eyes in seconds flat:
    Census data, thematic maps, redevelopment plans, neighborhood revitalization, government reports...
    Almost as bad as my last job: Annual reports, newsletters, annual apeals, grant proposals, media relations...

  14. #14
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Feb 2002
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    Michigan
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    I get a lot of the "OH really....that's um....pretty cool!" (all while displaying a blank ass stare on their face).

    Unless I want to start a lengthy conversation that most people don't care to hear, I change the subject. There are a lot of people that think it really is cool once they understand, and I then have no problem talking about my job.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    South Milwaukee
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    THEM: "...Well then maybe you can help me with my drainage problem..."

    ME: "No, those are civil engineers."

    THEM: "...Okay then, what size joists do I need to span my 24' wide deck..."

    ME: "No, those are building inspectors."

    THEM: <blank stare>

  16. #16
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Oct 2001
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    Middle of a Dusty Street
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    Them: So, what do you do?

    Me: I'm the Community Services Director.

    Them: Oh, I see... Erm, what exactly is that?

    Me: Well, I'm like God... only on a municipal scale.

    Them: *blink*



    I don't get invited to many parties anymore. Actually, since my job is so very varied, I use this line:

    "I work for the City... If it isn't bleeding, speeding, or on fire... it's my job."
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    C'mon and get me you twist of fate
    I'm standing right here Mr. Destiny
    If you want to talk well then I'll relate
    If you don't so what cause you don't scare me

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Originally posted by Mastiff
    ...I use this line:

    "I work for the City... If it isn't bleeding, speeding, or on fire... it's my job."
    *shamelessly steals that line and tucks it into long term memory for future use*

  18. #18
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Oct 2001
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    Rough Crowd

    I went to an Indian (Asian) get together of about 100 couples and their families with my wife this weekend. Doctors, doctors wives, academics, some pre-med students and hotel owners - that was about it. I know that sounds stereotypical but it is true none-the-less. No Indian welders in attendance.

    Everyone seemed to want to know what the white guy that married the Indian Hottie does for a living. This was our first time at the annual Diwalli (festival of lights) dinner. There were only two of us "mixed" (indo-Anglo) married couples. So we get descended upon in the patented kind and gentle Indian probing your shields way. I explain I'm a masters grad geographer working as an urban planner in a rural regional planning district. I do my best to see that small justidictions have a planner's assistance when working on land use issues.

    I might have well said I sack groceries or mop porn halls to gain about the same level of respect for my chosen profession. If you ain't got that MD you are nothing in this crowd. I'm still sore from all the grimaces, defensive body language and overly polite "Well, I imagine that is a very nice job to have, I must go now and talk to someone who is educated please" -(Say it as APU would for more dramatic effect).

    Rough crowd.

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