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Thread: is 90% of planning done by government?

  1. #1

    is 90% of planning done by government?

    I'm new to the list and looking forward to interacting with students from different places.

    Yesterday in one of my classes the professor mentioned in passing that "90% of planning is done by government" [we are talking about the US, I should note]. I will follow up on this with her, the class was structured so that we couldn't discuss the statement at that time.

    But I am wondering -- does this seem to ring true to folks? What about non-profits, consulting firms, regional planning associations, , etc, etc? Are they just feeding into the government planning machine?

    Does this mean that 90% of the planning jobs are in government? This certainly doesn't seem the case for me.

    I graduate in May and am beginning a job search. I would love to hear others' ideas about this statement in general, and any specific ideas about working in the different sectors (eg govt, NGO, Nonprofit, academia, consulting, etc)


  2. #2

    Sep 2001
    somewhere cold
    I think that you professor was overstating it a bit. In my opinion, the figure would be closer to 50%. What was the contect? since planning is sometimes a little broad, was your professor including planning done by non-profits and community groups, or just regular governmental planning duties? Also, I think that there are many planning departments out there that contract out much of their work. Some small cities have all of their planning work contracted out.

    Where I used to work, the planners did the regular day to day stuff, soning, development review..., but the "important" stuff was contracted out because (I think) the administration felt that the planners could not do the hard stuff. This was, of course, wrong, and was a major reason for my departure. The consultants were getting paid more than twice what the planners for the City made, and (in my opinion) were not as qualifies nor did they do quality work.

    So, yea, I guess the consulting firms were just feeding into the government machine, but still, I think that nonprofits do a lot of planning too.

  3. #3
    Member Mary's avatar
    Aug 2001
    I suspect that the jobs are split about 50/50 public private. Your instructor may have been refering to setting long range community plans and planning related laws. Those are probably 90/10 as the consultants feed into the government and the developer planning just follows government rules. So besides governent the only people planning in that since would be not-for profits and perhaps some neighborhood groups (who also may ultimately feed into the government system as well)

  4. #4

    Re: is 90% of planning done by government?

    Planning, as both a profession and an activity, seems to have been largely overlooked by society until recently. I can't agree that government dominates the planning market. The private sector has always been involved, but in the past "planning" was a role served predominantly by government, presumably because it wasn't profitable.

    BTW, regarding your job hunt. I will be interviewing at the Nat'l Conference to fill a new Associate Planner position within my organization (suburb of Milwaukee) for a June hire.

  5. #5
    Geez, at first I thought you meant that 90% of what gets built is planned by the government.

    People who plan in the private sector are not always planners. Lots is done by civil engineers, landscape architects, and investors.

    Also, government planning is mostly big picture stuff like infrastructure, while development planning is done by the private sector, mostly.

    So I would say that 90% of the people working with planning degrees are non-private sector.

  6. #6

    Sep 2001
    somewhere cold
    on a similar note, people who do planning in government are not always planners either.

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