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Thread: A Vision for a City

  1. #1

    A Vision for a City

    I'm seventeen. My favorite game is Sim City.

    I live in a town that is basicly a planning nightmare, but I still think it has tons of potential. I've got all sorts of ideas about projects that could really help it--not just to revitalize it, but to build it for the future. I could really use some advice on how I could make it a reality as far as what I could take in college and what careers to look at. Any thoughts would be very appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
    Nov 2002
    Paris of Appalachia

    Solicited advice to a young fellow planning nerd

    There's lots of things you can to to get involved in your town's development. For one; go to planning commission meetings and speak up. Very few people even bother to show up for these so your opinions will matter. Also, you should right letters to the Mayor/Manager/Council members expressing your concerns for your planning nightmare of a town. As for your education...
    Having recieved my BA in Planning, I would suggest getting yours in Architecture, Landscape, or Engineering AND then getting a masters in planning (Makes getting a job MUCH easier) And depending upon the size of your town and how well you know the people in charge, you could work as a planner there as part of an internship or after you get your degree.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    Welcome! Don't be scared off when we gripe about some of the bad aspects of our jobs around here. It is really a great profession and most of us here wouldn'e want to do anything else. Biscuit is right in saying you should get involved. Find out what interests you. Is it sprawl? parks? Whatever, speak up on the issue. If you have ideas, share them. We have a skate park getting built in town because some teenagers decided that it would improve the city and went to the park board with the idea. Maybe you can do something similar.

    As far as preparing for a career, it might be helpful to get online and look at some of the job postings. Cyburbia has links to most of the best resources. You will see that they are looking for many different things. I would not say that you need to get a degree in a more technical field to get that first job. Look at all of the ads listing planning, geography, and public administration as acceptable degrees. Experience will carry far more weight in the end.

    Most of all, keep an eye on Cyburbia. Join our discussions and keep asking questions.

  4. #4
    This site is really something, the forms are great. I had no idea I would get a response so fast. Plus the information I've recieved is spectacular. Thanks alot for responding, it really helps. But I've got another question, what would be a good route to take in order to attract developers. I mean, I've got a vision for where the town could go, but I need people to invest in what I'm wanting to get done. Actually, I'm not sure what I need. Would architecture/planning get me into a position I want to be in? Thanks again for your responses!

  5. #5
    I guess I can kinda sort of relate to your exeperiences Quail64. I always liked playing SimCity & other Sim games and when I rediscovered that interest I decided to pursue a career in Planning. My school offers a more general degree in public policy for would-be planners but I hope to get some experience working for a small town or non-profit after I get my degree and then going back for my master's.

    I agree with the other guys on picking up Architecture or Engineering as a major for your Bachelor's but if you really want to be proactive in development I would suggest taking some Real Estate classes if you can. I plan on doing that to better understand the market in which developers operate. They might be useful to you too.

    Also want to recommend searching the Internet thouroughly for info & opportunities. That's how I ended up here.

  6. #6
    Dec 2001
    Mr. Cool Ice
    Biscuit really hit the nail on the head as far as getting your ideas across to the people that matter. He's right, most people don't even know what a planning commission is let alone do they go to the meetings.

    I can speak from experience when I say that anyone who shows up to these meetings, or voices concerns over the direction their town is going is listened too.

    Good Luck

  7. #7
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
    Apr 1996
    New Hampshire
    Welcome Quail!

    I'll echo everyone else's comments. Get involved early, and stay involved.

    Feel free to bounce ideas off of us here in the forums....there are more people and opinions here that you'll find practically anywhere on the net for planning & development issues.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  8. #8

    May 1997
    Williston, VT
    Just to echo some of the other comments: most community leaders want to hear from young people, but seldom do. Don't hesitate to share your ideas with the local planners (if any), city manager, planning comm'n members, or whomever, as long you do it in a constructive and well-organized way. Depending on where you live, there may also be non-profit organizations working in community development and land use, and most of them welcome volunteers.

    There are undergraduate programs in planning, and if that's where your head is at, I wouldn't hesitate to enroll. The route through another discipline, like landscape architecture, and a master's in planning may be more marketable in some places, but my experience from having once taught in an undergraduate program is that motivated students found decent jobs.

  9. #9

    Dec 2002
    Williamsburg, Virginia

    ah, someone after my own heart

    I think Quail will join me in my great sadness that SimCity 4 has been pushed back to January. Grr. At least it will mean a better game that doesn't have new skyscrapers popping up every three months, or three of the same type all in a row. Man.

    Any advice on what the best grad school for planning is? I like to plan (ha) ahead.


  10. #10
    While I may be a little biased, I would suggest Queen's University (Kingston, Ontario, Canada). The best part is that for American students, fees are in Canadian dollars!

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