Urban planning community

Poll results: Do you get outside, or are you an officebody?

Voters
38. You may not vote on this poll
  • I stay inside by choice. It's dangerous out there.

    1 2.63%
  • They've chained me up and I never see the sun.

    12 31.58%
  • I'm regularly sent out into the field to do something.

    25 65.79%
  • I'm never in my office, always out there knee deep in something.

    0 0%
+ Reply to thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 42

Thread: Field Work

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 1997
    Location
    Clowns to the left, jokers to the right
    Posts
    1,438

    Field Work

    I regularly do field work, including certificate of occupancy inspections, taking pictures of sites, delivering something somewhere, etc..

    Am I the only one, or do other planners do this too? Is everyone else chained to their desks? Does anyone else have to brave the elements to bring home a paycheck?

    What do you do about field work in less than ideal conditions, like mud, odor, or less safe areas. Does your work have a policy that you don't go out there alone? Do women have issues with doing fieldwork that men don't?
    JOE ILIFF
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Debt is normal . . . Be weird!
    Dave Ramsey

    "Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think."
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
    Posts
    3,120
    I was an erosion and sedimentation inspector - I went out in just about any weather, and of course, mud. I am female, and often was accompanied by local code enforcement. It wasn't so much a safety concern as it was to make sure we didn't contradict each other when dealing with developers and contractors (we had agreements with municpalities regarding plan requirements, etc.).

    As far as personal safety, the only person I would not take into the field with me was an intern who gave me the willies. My boss understood and supported me; there was even someone that he wouldn't allow any of the staff to be out with.

  3. #3
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 1996
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    14,552
    Blog entries
    3
    Can't be acting building inspector or acting code enforcement officer without soending a bunch of time out in the field. Last job, though .. there was only one city car for a department that had 15 current planners, if that's a sign of how often we left our cubicles.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  4. #4
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Samsara
    Posts
    5,075

    Ah......Field Work

    As the career progresses the field time recedes. I used to love to stop and watch the crop dusters fly in the spring and fall. I tried to time my field work to when Rush was on the radio. I loved being in the other end of the county around lunch time. I miss having the time away from a phone. I liked playing "can I get across this field without sticking the truck." It was the best of times.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 1998
    Location
    Greensburg, Kansas
    Posts
    2,951
    elGuapo is right about longevity in the career. These days I make excuses to get out, which is rare. I do know that if you are working on a neighborhood plan or project, you do not know the area by driving around. Get out and walk the streets to get a good feel for things.

    I used to enjoy doing traffic studies with a co-worker many jobs ago. We always wanted to see the rush hour on Friday afternoon. Always took our own car. Sometimes we bothered to watch traffic.

  6. #6
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 1996
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    7,584
    I'm in the field less than my previous job, but still go out in the lovely Ford Escort with the Town Seal on the side about 2-3 times a week.
    "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

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    South Milwaukee
    Posts
    8,935

    Field Work like the tides, but without the influence of the moon

    Like El Guapo, there is an inverse relationship between field work and rank. However, I do try to get out into the community 2-3 times a month to observe projects and get a feel for how things are going "in the field". It's important not to lose that connection to the residents and developers.

  8. #8
          Downtown's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Under a pile of back issue Plannings
    Posts
    3,174
    In the winter, I'm out maybe 3 times a week, but once the good weather rolls around, I usually spend about 25% of my time out inspecting, making sure everyone is up on their landscaping and doing escrow release inspections. If the drycleaner happens to be on the way to my inspection, well then, all the better.

  9. #9
    maudit anglais
    Registered
    May 1997
    Location
    Odd-a-wah
    Posts
    6,586
    I had a lot more fun in my first job, where I got to cruise around in the ex-cop car, checking up on traffic operations, lazy students, and sneaky developers.

    I get out maybe once a month now...not including meetings outside the office.

  10. #10
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Middle of a Dusty Street
    Posts
    6,374

    A missed category.

    How about:

    _ I go out when I want, depending on the weather.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    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

  11. #11
          Downtown's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Under a pile of back issue Plannings
    Posts
    3,174
    Yep - I fit better into Mastiff's category. There was a two week period this winter where I refuse to go inspect due to the negative windchill that would make scraping 2 inches of ice encasing my crappy C.E. vehicle under 2 inches of snow pure hell. In dress pants no less. Funk Dat. Chick's Auto Repair can wait.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,920
    Unfortunately, those of us on the economic development side of things don't ge out much at all. "Field work" is usually a visit to a business or a nice lunch. Once every couple of weeks I drive around the city to check up on things.

    I worked for a (very) short time as a site analyst for a retailer. Three or four days every other week was spent at a prospective site. There was a bias in the office (among other issues). If the site was in a bad location, one of the guys was sent. The women got all of the nice sites. OK, so who was being discriminated against? The women were not getting the opportunity to evaluate and become familiar with bad locations. I had the experience of Chamber presidents cringing and telling me "Don't go there at night."

  13. #13
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2001
    Location
    West Valley, AZ
    Posts
    3,894

    office work?

    well i'll bet half of my time is in the field.

    my long list of respobsibilities are:

    1. surf the web to cybrubia read posts and respond to them
    2. run Historic Presrvation Commission/Enforcement
    3. Zoning Enforcement for my third of the town (about 50,000 residents)
    4. new this year: Community or NEighborhood specific enhancement sweeps. those kill me, we sweep about 3 city blocks for any and all violations and give me about 20-30 new zoning violations to process, ticket, take to court, blah
    5. issue zoning permits for buildings, fences, parking lots, etc.

    i listen to wscr-670AM out of chicago whenever i'm in the field. Best sports radio station ever.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Paris of Appalachia
    Posts
    3,902
    Working Community Development, I tend to spend most of your time at my desk. The only time I really "officially" go out is to meet with a contract group or to visit a construction site. That's the one thing I miss about working as a private sector consultant is being able to spend lots of time outdoors doing stuff like environmental studies and building inventories. I especially miss it in the in the spring and fall.

    I've heard, however, that there's a chance I may be tapped to pick up some of the slack caused by the lay-offs and start working some of the more "hands and and physical" planning projects in the department. Something I would ordinarily be happy about but under the circumstances...

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 1999
    Location
    400 miles from Orlando
    Posts
    13,747
    I get out fairly frequently:

    Take pics for website, displays, etc
    Check out trail conditions, complaints
    Research trail corridors
    Check zoning sites that could impact trails
    Planning for trail events (the most fun!)
    Ride down trails in County truck, thereby annoying the decent, law-abiding trail users

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2002
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,664
    I'm at my desk most of the time with drive-by visits about once a week.

    My old job required doing traffic counts twice a week in all types of locations - hammering nails into pavement was a real contrast to the office work. It sucked in the heat but it was fun to get out. I could go for it now.

  17. #17
    We are such a small staff (2) that it is almost impossible for even one of the two of us to get out regularly to keep up with all the miscreants. We set aside time every other week to inspect upcoming PC/BZA sites and visit the busiest/most troublesome sites along the way.

    No city vehicle, though. Strictly personal vehicles (and a paltry 28.5 cents/mile at that)!
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  18. #18
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    City of Low Low Wages!
    Posts
    3,236

    Women issue

    Off-topic:
    I know that being an insensitive male, I have no clue how women feel, but they really should get over the victim routine. Fact is that men are much more likely to be victims of violent crime than women are. The chances that a women would get into trouble doing a site inspection even in a "bad" location are so negligable that it is ridiculous for it even to factor into if she goes and does it or not.

    I've had more than a few conversations with women where I talk about a particular neighborhood (my own, for instance) and she responds "oh I'd never go there," or something similar. So I point out that the statistical liklihood of victomhood is just above that of winnig the lottery and she responds with "yeah, but you're a guy" as if that makes any difference.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Who cares.
    Posts
    1,038
    Just got done scrambling around one of our historic buildings, got to drive around the city yesterday afternoon and the day before. It's good to be low-ish on the totem pole, on a beautiful day, with gorgeous weather. We do lots of site visits, probably a couple a week. And yes, I am female, and no, I generally don't feel threatened in any of the neighborhoods. It's mostly common sense, usually.
    And women are more likely to be sexually assaulted than men, by the way. It depends on the form of violent crime. There are a few neighborhoods where I take my photos from inside the car and cruise around once or twice and leave. Again, common sense.
    I don't dream. I plan.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    City of Low Low Wages!
    Posts
    3,236
    Off-topic:
    Originally posted by Plannerbabs
    And women are more likely to be sexually assaulted than men, by the way.
    Criminal Sexual Assult is almost always perpetrated by an aquantence of the victim, not by some random guy she meets on the street. The odds that you'll happen to meet the incredibly rare random rapist in the twenty minutes it takes you to take pictures of a "bad" area are so low that it's not at all rational to even be concerned about it. Do you avoid doing site visits because you're worried about a serious car accident? The chances of that are much greater.

    There are a few neighborhoods where I take my photos from inside the car and cruise around once or twice and leave. Again, common sense.
    The only time that fear of violent crime is ever rational and ever common sense is if you've got an abusive boyfriend, you're gangbanging, peddling crack, or if the godfather is asking you for a favor. Otherwise, you'd do better to worry about your morning commute and the structural integrity of the trees you walk under.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Who cares.
    Posts
    1,038
    Originally posted by jordanb
    Off-topic:


    Criminal Sexual Assult is almost always perpetrated by an aquantence of the victim, not by some random guy she meets on the street. The odds that you'll happen to meet the incredibly rare random rapist in the twenty minutes it takes you to take pictures of a "bad" area are so low that it's not at all rational to even be conserned about it. Do you avoid doing site visits because you're worried about a serious car accident? The chances of that are much greater.


    I don't like to tempt fate, having known several people who were victims, and not just of acquaintances, either.


    The only time that fear of violent crime is ever rational and ever common sense is if you've got an abusive boyfriend, you're gangbanging, peddling crack, or if the godfather is asking you for a favor. Otherwise, you'd do better to worry about your morning commute and the structural integrity of the trees you walk under.[/ot]
    Fear of violent crime is also rational when you're strolling around a neighborhood that is known--statisically, not hearsay--for drivebys and other acts of random violence, toting a $300 digital camera, and driving a nice car. I don't consider myself paranoid, I actually walk around more neighborhoods than several of my coworkers. It's just common sense, when in a neighborhood you obviously don't belong in, to exercise a little caution. It's sad, I don't like sitting in my car taking photos because it's easier to see the neighborhood on foot, but I also don't want to explain to my boss why the camera is gone and I have no photos.
    Besides, I have enough to worry about with that morning commute and spilling hot coffee on my lap.
    I don't dream. I plan.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 1998
    Location
    NOLA
    Posts
    4,468
    Originally posted by jordanb
    Off-topic:


    Criminal Sexual Assult is almost always perpetrated by an aquantence of the victim, not by some random guy she meets on the street. The odds that you'll happen to meet the incredibly rare random rapist in the twenty minutes it takes you to take pictures of a "bad" area are so low that it's not at all rational to even be concerned about it. Do you avoid doing site visits because you're worried about a serious car accident? The chances of that are much greater.



    The only time that fear of violent crime is ever rational and ever common sense is if you've got an abusive boyfriend, you're gangbanging, peddling crack, or if the godfather is asking you for a favor. Otherwise, you'd do better to worry about your morning commute and the structural integrity of the trees you walk under.
    I, like Plannerbabs, have gone into neighborhoods where I felt exactly like her. I'd hate to think someone is telling me that my fear is not RATIONAL because of some statistics. I turn on the news just about every morning to hear about some kind of violent crime that has occured, many times in those same neighborhoods where I performed site visits. Now, are those statistics telling me not to worry or the cold hard facts??
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  23. #23
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Down by Dun Ringill
    Posts
    5,897
    Blog entries
    6

    Field Work

    I get out once or twice a week. Fortunately, I am also a planner in a mostly rural county, so my site visits are often quite nice. See lots of deer and antelope playing. Occasionally elk or a coyote. Once played hide and seek with a grey fox (he hid and I sought). Get to go up in the mountains to Lincoln, MT a couple times a year (it's real pretty but they don't like planners much). It is delightful in the spring and summer. When it is winter and 20 below, it is much less delightful. Driving 40 miles back to the office in a blizzard last winter is not an experience I want to repeat.

  24. #24
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 1996
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    7,584

    Re: Women issue

    Originally posted by jordanb
    Off-topic:
    I know that being an insensitive male, I have no clue how women feel, but they really should get over the victim routine... {snipped}.
    Maybe I'm being an irrational moderator, but what in this thread possibly spurred this OT discussion? Other than trolling and inciting flames, jordanb, what did you expect to accomplish with this post?
    "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

  25. #25
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Jukin' City
    Posts
    16,481
    I'm scheduled for field work one day a week. We're an average size county so most of my visits are completed in half-days or less. I agree with otterpop, nice to get out in the country and see deer, elk, and moose.

+ Reply to thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 12
    Last post: 21 Aug 2008, 8:26 PM
  2. Field changes
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 5
    Last post: 20 Dec 2005, 9:28 AM
  3. Replies: 37
    Last post: 10 Apr 2004, 4:40 PM
  4. Let's go out in the field!
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 37
    Last post: 01 May 2002, 9:12 AM
  5. Another Field
    Perry's Cantina (archive)
    Replies: 3
    Last post: 25 Sep 2000, 8:38 AM