• We're a fun, friendly, and diverse group of planners, placemakers, built environment shapers, students, and other folks who found their people here. Create your FREE Cyburbia ID, and join us today! Register through your Reddit, Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Microsoft account, or use your email address.

Planning: general Article - CT cities struggling to find urban planners in state workforce

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
24,658
Points
50

The state is one of 15 in the country with no accredited, graduate level urban planning programs, which advocates say bring in research dollars, groom qualified professionals and furnish data to inform future investments in development.

The state has been without a graduate level urban planning program accredited by the national Planning Accreditation Board since 1972, when Yale University shuttered its program in alleged retribution for students and faculty in the program conspiring to admit a class consisting of 50 percent students of color in 1969.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
CT is a tough sell. It's expensive (particularly the closer to NYC you get), the weather is crap, and if you have a partner who is not in a FIRE industry it's not exactly a robust job market.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
12,518
Points
40
CT is a tough sell. It's expensive (particularly the closer to NYC you get), the weather is crap, and if you have a partner who is not in a FIRE industry it's not exactly a robust job market.
Yep...except for the weather part. I've looked at jobs in the state before and they had a tendency to be underpaid in both the parts of the state with high COLs and the parts people aren't terribly interested in from out of state.

My wife lived in Milford, CT and worked the region of SE Ct when I was finishing up my MUP in MI and we may have stayed there after I graduated, but we already had definitive plans to move to Chicago for me to start my professional city planner career and her to start law school.

CT is pretty nice to visit though.
 

Faust_Motel

Cyburbian
Messages
313
Points
14
I always heard that planning in CT was highly political due to partisan City Council/ Selectboard elections. Planning Commissions too? I like working for nonpartisan government with a Planning Commission they appoint. I have yet to deal with any member of either group who had a huge axe to grind or wanted to bring national politics/ideologue stuff into planning.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,549
Points
55
The article implies that the lack of PAB programs is responsible for the shortage. Thing is, planners can move. Also, having a nearby PAB program is a benefit if there's a heavy demand for entry level planners. There's also the opposite problem in some regions: too many planning grads in a region where planning jobs are scarce. (Upstate New York, I'm looking at you.)

Does Connecticut have any quirky state-specific planning laws (SEQR, etc.) that would potentially disqualify out-of-state applicants who don't have experience with them?

From what I've seen, the pay in planning job listings in Connecticut aren't commensurate with the cost of living -- that is, when the listing shows the salary.

Connecticut is a very, very suburban state. There's Hartford (with a new FBC) and some cute village centers, but it's not exactly a hotbed of cutting edge urbanism. That may be a turn-off to young planners with more urbanist/NUMTOT leanings. Why would a 25-year old planner consider a job in ... oh, Northford or Monroe?
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,549
Points
55
A followup: What on Earth is Wrong with Connecticut? From the article:
In the biggest picture, Connecticut is a victim of two huge trends—first, the revitalization of America’s great rich cities and second, the long-term rise of hot, cheap suburbs. But Connecticut’s cities are not rich or great; its weather is not hot year-round; and its cost-of-living is not low. The state once benefited from the migration of corporations and their employees from grim and dangerous nearby metros, but now that wave is receding. To get rich, Connecticut offered a leafy haven where America’s titans of finance could move. To stay rich, it will have to build cities where middle-class Americans actually want to stay.

Why Connecticut is Collapsing
Companies are following the talent pool from the suburbs to the metropolis.

GE announced it would leave Fairfield for Boston last year. UBS put its Stamford-based trading floor up for sale and bolted to New York in December. Even Aetna, which has called Hartford home since 1853, announced last month that it was rejecting various enticements from the state to stay and instead moving its headquarters to New York City.

Aetna’s CEO Mark Bertolini, took a parting jab at Connecticut on his way out.

"We have continued to work with the governor and mayor of Hartford to try and improve the quality of life in the Hartford area, but that is too slow in coming,” he told the New York Times.

“New York City is a place where prospective young employees want to be,” he said, and it is "very hard to recruit people like that to Hartford.”

How Did America's Richest State Become Such a Fiscal Mess?
Connecticut’s economic problems extend well beyond the budget. The state prospered in the 1970s and 1980s, when nearby New York City was dangerous and Connecticut’s suburban landscape was welcoming. Corporations were eager to resettle there. But fashions have changed. Millennials and corporations have developed a hankering for urban life. That urge has robbed Connecticut’s suburban landscape of its appeal. This was demonstrated starkly by the decisions of two of its marquee employers, General Electric and Aetna, to move their headquarters to Boston and Manhattan, respectively
...
Connecticut has five cities with populations above 100,000, but each is below 150,000. While some of the cities are doing better than others, they all have more than their share of concentrated poverty, bad schools and unemployment. In short, Connecticut lacks a city that can take advantage of the newfound cachet of urban life. Instead, the state has had to take over the financial reins of several of its troubled smaller cities over the past two decades. Hartford, the capital, has its own chronic budget problems and has hired attorneys to explore the possibility of bankruptcy. “At a time when other states were reinvesting in cities, Connecticut was not, and certainly the state itself was not,” says Gov. Dannel Malloy. “Now, when millennials and people 50-plus want to live in urban environments, our urban environments are not up to snuff.”
...
Connecticut is now at a crossroads. A model that worked for years -- safe suburbs offering good schools for the children of hedge fund managers and insurance agents -- is no longer as compelling. Mansion-size houses in the toniest precincts of the richest suburbs aren’t emptying out yet, but they are getting hard to sell. ...
...
There are a couple of practical reasons why the state may have a hard time changing course, though. To start, its political culture is highly parochial, with strong home rule protecting the interests of 169 cities and towns and nearly as many school districts. Connecticut has the nation’s second-highest rate of income inequality, after New York, but there isn’t a sense in the smaller communities that their future is tied to improving the health of those less fortunate. “More than anything, we suffer from a lack of common identity and the sense of a common future,” says Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin
...
Connecticut can’t say it wasn’t warned. Back in 1999, a report by a consultant named Michael Gallis identified the state’s aging transportation network, its “fragmented political structure” and the lack of a metropolitan center or strategy as glaring weaknesses. The report was widely discussed and still gets talked about in planning circles, but it didn’t convince policymakers or the public that the state needed to change its ways. A sense of isolation -- that Connecticut benefited from not having the same problems as New York or Boston -- kept residents thinking of their state as its own little pocket of prosperity, rather than as part of a bigger region in which it must compete.
...
Connecticut is not in a death spiral, but it has failed to position itself to react to changing demographics and location preferences. There’s a lot of optimistic talk about how the pendulum may swing back, that when the millennials have kids they’ll look more kindly on the Connecticut suburbs. Expecting people to want what they’re currently rejecting is a big risk, however. In a system designed for inertia, changing course will be difficult, especially since most people are still comfortable.
 
Top