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Thread: Housing: planning vs. public policy

  1. #1

    Housing: planning vs. public policy

    I am a Bay Area resident debating whether I can impact our much-balley-hooed "Housing Crisi" best by getting professional training in Planning or in Public Policy.

    My area university--UC Berkeley--is strong in both areas, although the Planning program's Housing & Community Development concentration is reportedly its weakest, while the Public Policy school is weakest in social policy.

    Does anyone have any insight/adivce on which way I should go?

  2. #2
    I doubt that formal planning school will help with the housing situation.

    Housing, for a number of reasons has become unaffordable. Paer of the reason was the regressive tax policies of the Reagan years and thereafter, which freed up a lot of discretionary income. A relative minority held the majority of the financial assets and a bidding war for property ensued (Such has subsequently been the case in the stock market).

    The cost of housing reflects the overall inflationary aspects of the economy, e\which though reported to be "under control" by the Reagan Administration was only reportable as such because they took the cost of housing out of the CPI. Furthermore, if you look at just about any new housing, whether it be apartment complex or McMansion, you should be able to note that the building materials used are quite inferior. This is partially because twice since the 1920's they have lowered the standards for lumber. For example, a 2x4 used to be just a hair shy od 2x4, now a 2" by 4", now a 2x4 is actually 1+1/2" x 3+1/2". These were decisions made by the Lumber Associations, which were complicitous with their capitalist company memberships' desire to squeeze profits at the expense of quality product.

    You will find exactly the same mentality of all the APA dominated Planning Schools. They will teach you how to carry on the organized crime of American (now international) corporate industry.

    If you're lucky enough to find a job after wading through their two or three years of Planning School crap, you will not find anything rewarding if you honestly take pride in trying to help people.

    I'm sorry that I can't recommend an alternative path for you. When I was in my twenties, I worked construction for a while. If you can find any work along those lines, take it and find out what the means oriented armies and their bosses are really all about.

    I guarantee you'll never build anything affordable, never mind of quality.

    Sorry to be so real.

    Mike Morin

  3. #3

    Thanks for the reply, and no problem with the realness, that's far from the most pessimistic (and I think it IS pessimistic, no matter if real) thing I've ever heard. I assume, though, that you would know, being, I assume again, a planner.

    I am eager to hear from others.

  4. #4
    Either educational field would do you good. The key in my opinion is to focus on the type of work you want to do and get the experience and knowledge that you need from an assortment of programs. I have my degree in planning and historic preservation, but the real key to me success so far in affordable housing has been to continue learning. Their are lots of professional development programs that will help you build even more experience once you get a job.

    So, my recommendation would be to follow your gut. Take on the challenge of improving your community's housng needs and don't let some disappointed planner tell you any different. I am doing it and I feel great.


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