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civil engineering vs. urban planning

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krebstar

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hey,
I wanted to get your opinions on this:
I'm currently a student in civil engineering at the university of illinois at urbana-champaign but I'm very interested in urban planning. I am in the process of switching into urban planning for next semester but I was wondering what you guys thought about this. Should I finish my civil degree and then get a masters in planning? Would it be useful? I've discovered that I'm much more interested in the broader social picture than the engineering/technical side, but I don't want to regret switching out of engineering.
thanks.
 

ludes98

Cyburbian
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1,264
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Go planning!

Seriously- I am planner, but work at civil design firm. We do planning services in addition to design and a few of the folks doing planning are engineers. You could do planning without the planning degree in alot of communities, but not the other way around. The masters in planning would be nice since alot of communities want these degrees, but I have no idea if civil engineering will get you into a master in planning program.
 

inzane

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31
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Funny you should ask. I went through the same situation when I was in school (about 3 years ago). I was a civil engineering major and after some internship it felt like my life after school was headed towards crunching number for the rest of my life. I met with planner at one of the cities I had an internship with and we talked for a bit about his job. Needless to say I changed my major planning and never looked back. One of the good things that come out of it is that I have a BS instead of a BA. This made me look good to my present employer because they knew that would have a good idea if a outside engineering firm is skewing there numbers a little. Also Gis software came to me a bit easer because of my experience with AutoCAD. I would say that if you are a thinker that understands politics and can communicate with people easily. Planning is for you.
 

Chet

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BA in civil eng. + masters in planning = extremely employable!

Unlerss you suck at math, or course! :)
 

Bangorian

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I was in your shoes once - I too am an ex-CE student!

I would say it depends on how you feel about your engineering curricula. I hated mine and was dreadfully bored and had absolutely no enthusiasm, but once I switched to planning, my involvement, grade point, interest in school, and general outlook on life all went WAY up!

Many places want a masters in Planning to even look at your application, so if you're thinking of going straight into grad school, maybe stick with the engineering and cap it off with a good dose of planning. You'll have a great combo of skills and will be able to relate to people on both sides of the table. If you're not going straight into grad school, think about the jobs you might get right out of school-

In my experience, the planning jobs right out of school are more broad and interesting than being a number checker or running CAD all day, which is what many of my former engineering colleagues are doing right now. Planning can also lead you into a whole lot of other fields (housing, community development, economic development, public administration, municipal planning, long-range planning, regional planning, transportation planning, natural resource planning, consultant work, design, codes enforcement, Inspection, surveying, urban studies, policy, advocacy, etc.) With Civil engineering you're really pared down to just a couple of fields. So, if you're thinking of going a few years between schooling, planning can offer you a broad spectrum of opportunities and give you a chance to "get your feet wet" in a variety of fields before you settle right down into just one. Then you can go get a masters in that field and you'll be all set!
 

Suburb Repairman

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Here's a thought...

If you're wanting to work in a small town your CE degree might make you more marketable as a planner. I don't know what it takes to get your seal, but a degree as a Civil Engineer and a masters in planning would really qualify you for the plan review. A lot of small towns use contracts for both plan review and engineering, so they might be able to kill two birds since you would be qualified to look at both aspects.
 

Duke Of Dystopia

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Get your degree in Civil Engineering. After that, all of your classes in planning will be a cinch. Get a prof to help you direct your letter to the proper school and then grill you to get it right. There won't be a Masters program in planning in the entire country that won't let you in.

In your average graduate program in planning, 1 of 10 students will have any kind of degree related to planning in undergrad. If you want/ ABSOLUTLY NEED the full ride and a paid internship provided, check out The Ohio State University. Great school for number crunching in planning.
 

donk

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I'd say finish your CE, then go to Dal for a joint Masters.

In doing your undergrad, I'd load up on site design or traffic design courses and worry less about pipes.

I am sure that Jeff might have some comments on this too.
 

Cardinal

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I think it depends on how much you enjoy planning or engineering, and how far along you are in your degree program. If you really love planning then go for it. Many of us switched into the field from something else. If you are far along in your CE degree program, finishing it will make you more employable. A possible drawback is that you might get called upon frequently in your career to do in-house engineering, taking you away from other projects. If you still have a long way to go before completing your CE degree, then you are not giving up much by making the switch. Either way, your undergrad major will not have much of an impact on whether or not you can get into a graduate school.
 

Seabishop

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Like others said, stick with engineering and try to tailor it to your interests - especially if you think you'll be going to grad school anyway. You will be learning actual skills that other planners won't have. Two planning degrees might even seem redundant. Good luck.
 

Jeff

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PE vs AICP ???

The PE is going to put more loot in your pocket. A CE degree is tough, and something that is not easy to do later on in life while employed. It'd be much easier to go back to school at nights and pick up the masters in planning than the other way around.
 

mattmanmorris

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Urban Planning to CE

How about the other way around? I have a B.S. in urban planning, and I am considering going back for a CE degree. Any comments or suggestions?
 

donk

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mattmanmorris said:
How about the other way around? I have a B.S. in urban planning, and I am considering going back for a CE degree. Any comments or suggestions?
Depending on what school and how licensing works in your state you might not be able to.

I know that in most Canadian provinces, a MSc. Engineering is not eligible for P.Eng status while a Masters of Engineering is. Typically to take a Masters of Engineering you have to have an undergrad in it.
 

Globetrotter

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I would stay in civil engineering, then perhaps consider a dual graduate program in civil eng/urban planning. As someone mentioned above, OSU has one.

You would be extremely employable.

If I were good at the maths this is what I would have done. But since I suck, I stay in the social sciences!
 

mattmanmorris

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donk said:
Depending on what school and how licensing works in your state you might not be able to.

I know that in most Canadian provinces, a MSc. Engineering is not eligible for P.Eng status while a Masters of Engineering is. Typically to take a Masters of Engineering you have to have an undergrad in it.
I should clarify; I am considering a bachelors in Civil Engineering. I could get a masters in water resources, but I would first have to take a number of undergrad courses before entering the master program. Either way I am looking at 4 years. At this point the bach. seems more desirable as I would get a more diverse education.

My other option is to get an mba, which would be helpful in running my own business. Right now, I work as a consultant for zoning entitlement work and general site planning concept work. In addition, we are writing ordinances for some of the local communities. I am thinking the CE would be an added service that we could provide, which would add to the overall marketability of the corp.

Globetrotter said:
I would stay in civil engineering, then perhaps consider a dual graduate program in civil eng/urban planning. As someone mentioned above, OSU has one.

You would be extremely employable.

If I were good at the maths this is what I would have done. But since I suck, I stay in the social sciences!
I already have a degree in planning, and I am preparing to take the AICP exam very soon. I am just trying to decide if going back to school for 4 years for a CE bach degree is worth the trouble.
 

ssnyderjr

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From a fellow Civil

Finish your Civil degree whatever it takes. Yep, I took many classes I dreaded and took the C or D and ran. Pass your EIT and PE exams, then go for the AICP.
The AICP is fairly easy from what I have heard in comparison to the previously mentioned (EIT and PE). The AICP will make you a "certifiable" planner whether you have the degree or not. there are many variations of civil/planner than you can explore. Transportation planning is the most logical, if that interests you. Now I am pondering the PTOE (Professional Transportation Operations Engineer) certification that is only held by a little over 1300 PE's worldwide. That would put me in an elite class. I don't know if that interests you though. I must say the PE certification was worthwhile as it has opened doors for me even within my small city an netted me an additional $10k worth of raises within the last year. A wise man once told me, if you find a job you love, you'll never work a day in your life. I haven't worked yet.....HA. :-D
Good luck on your decision making.
 

CosmicMojo

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LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE!!!
It's the best of both worlds, Civil Engineering and Urban Planning.
It has technical design work like Civil, but with the policy of Urban Planning.
 

vtboy99

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Civil Engineering + Planning does not at all equal highly employable, instead it equals a conflict of ethical and professional interests. Never the twain shall meet....

Try architecture + planning or landscape architecture + planning, much more of a logical integration of careers. Engineering and planning DO NOT mix whatsoever!

Engineering and planning may equal a higher paycheck, but you will always in your career be pulled in one direction or the other, planning and engineering do NOT mix in terms of professional satisfaction or stability. In fact, a PE + AICP only makes you an overqualified engineer, in no shape or form without a graduate planning education does it make you a real planner.

In my opinion, engineering and planning represent a conflict of interests and do not mesh well together on one's resume. My boss is an AICP and a PE and believe me, he is much more of an engineering than will EVER be a planner.

Ditch the engineering path and focus on planning and urban design. It will open up many more paths for intersting careers in the long run in the public AND private sector. A PE + AICP may seem glamorous in the short term, but as time moves on, you will see that they really do not fit well together professionally in indeed conflict with one another.
 
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kjel

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The only place where civil engineering and planning meets in my life is when my husband and I come home at night :D He is a civil engineer and a professional land surveyor (a much better pairing!) and I shall become the planner after graduate school; although I currently work on a number of projects with the planning department as an undergrad intern.
 

vtboy99

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kjelsadek said:
The only place where civil engineering and planning meets in my life is when my husband and I come home at night :D He is a civil engineer and a professional land surveyor (a much better pairing!) and I shall become the planner after graduate school; although I currently work on a number of projects with the planning department as an undergrad intern.
Kjelsadek, my thoughts exactly, a PLS and a PE go together MUCH better than a PE and AICP (strange and professionally imcompatible combination). If anything, an AICP is much better paired with an AIA or ASLA (Licensed architect or landscape architect).

Heck, even Law + Planning go together better professionally than Engineering and Urban Planning.

Duke Of Dystopia said:
Get your degree in Civil Engineering. After that, all of your classes in planning will be a cinch. Get a prof to help you direct your letter to the proper school and then grill you to get it right. There won't be a Masters program in planning in the entire country that won't let you in.
Planning classes a cinch?! I would STRONGLY beg to differ. What schools are you referring to? If you have no writing or design abilities to offset your CE experience, it wont be as easy to get into OR excel in planning programs as Duke of Dystopia implies. The two fields are entirely different and in fact imcompatible. Many of the top planning and design programs do not necessarily regard civil engineering as an adequate professional or academic background for admissions (see Harvard, Penn, Berkeley if you dont believe me). Perhaps some of the lesser schools such as Ohio State will look at the CE + Planning combo as a positive, but to make it in the big leagues of planning and design, CE experience may actually prove to be a detriment.
 
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CosmicMojo

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Stick with the Civil Engineering coursework since you're almost finished. Jobs are plentiful for CEs and your skillls are highly transferrable to different regions. Most large offices that serve as consultants to developers are headed by CEs, sometimes even the Land Planning or Site Planning Department is headed by a CE. You can add to that knowledge with grad work in Landscape Architecture, Real Estate Development or Finance, or Planning.

I don't think they conflict at all in the private sector. Civil engineers with an understanding of the development process are the ones chosen to be project managers instead of just calculating and designing. And there are many disciplines that will give you an understanding of the develoment process: real estate development, landscape architecture, and planning.

The Civil Engineering degree is much more versatle. With it you can do civil engineering and land planning, but with a planning degree, you can not do civil engineering, mostly just planning administration.

Why don't you set up some information interviews with some civil engineers? They can tell you what additional studies have helped their career. They can give you great firsthand information and you'll be making contacts for a future job search.

My Planning graduate degree was much easier than my Landscape Architecture undergraduate degree.
 
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vtboy99

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CosmicMojo said:
Stick with the Civil Engineering coursework since you're almost finished. Jobs are plentiful for CEs and your skillls are highly transferrable to different regions. Most large offices that serve as consultants to developers are headed by CEs, sometimes even the Land Planning or Site Planning Department is headed by a CE. You can add to that knowledge with grad work in Landscape Architecture, Real Estate Development or Finance, or Planning.

I don't think they conflict at all in the private sector. Civil engineers with an understanding of the development process are the ones chosen to be project managers instead of just calculating and designing. And there are many disciplines that will give you an understanding of the develoment process: real estate development, landscape architecture, and planning.

The Civil Engineering degree is much more versatle. With it you can do civil engineering and land planning, but with a planning degree, you can not do civil engineering, mostly just planning administration.

Why don't you set up some information interviews with some civil engineers? They can tell you what additional studies have helped their career. They can give you great firsthand information and you'll be making contacts for a future job search.

My Planning graduate degree was much easier than my Landscape Architecture undergraduate degree.
With a CE degree, you will never advance to Principal in a top private sector LA or Arch firm in a Planning capacity, unless you want to work for a developer or civil engineering firm (and of course we all know none of the innovative planning is done in those types of firms). They only look for Planners, Architects, and perhaps if-necessary Landscape Architects to fill that capacity. A CE background will in the non-engineering path create a proverbial glass ceiling for yourself professionally.

I'm surprised Cosmic, typically the Landscape Architecture graduate courses are much more simplistic and easier than the undergraduate Planning courses.
 

ssnyderjr

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vtboy99 said:
Planning classes a cinch?! I would STRONGLY beg to differ. What schools are you referring to? If you have no writing or design abilities to offset your CE experience, it wont be as easy to get into OR excel in planning programs as Duke of Dystopia implies. The two fields are entirely different and in fact imcompatible. Many of the top planning and design programs do not necessarily regard civil engineering as an adequate professional or academic background for admissions (see Harvard, Penn, Berkeley if you dont believe me). Perhaps some of the lesser schools such as Ohio State will look at the CE + Planning combo as a positive, but to make it in the big leagues of planning and design, CE experience may actually prove to be a detriment.
I take offense to these quotes, as an employee of the public sector and a Civil Engineer, my engineering experience allows me into the preliminary conversations with most all economic development decisions regarding parking/ingress/egress and our road design requriements. So for me, planning and engineeing overlap quite often and go hand-in-hand, as I review site plans for our planning dept., check sight distances, Right of way issues, ect. The "top" planning programs must not understand the profession, as none of those schools are known for (if they even have) engineering programs. Engineering is one of the oldest professions and thought more highly of than most other professions. We follow a strict code of ethics and fully understand the responsibility of our jobs by which we stamp to show our approval.
 

CosmicMojo

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vtboy99 said:
I'm surprised Cosmic, typically the Landscape Architecture graduate courses are much more simplistic and easier than the undergraduate Planning courses.
Oh, you have no idea. Planning is much easier than Landscape Architecture. I've been through both programs. I think your understanding of LA is simplistic.
 

vtboy99

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CosmicMojo said:
Oh, you have no idea. Planning is much easier than Landscape Architecture. I've been through both programs. I think your understanding of LA is simplistic.
Again, elighten us on the difference. What school did you go to? That was indeed my query for you....

ssnyderjr said:
I take offense to these quotes, as an employee of the public sector and a Civil Engineer, my engineering experience allows me into the preliminary conversations with most all economic development decisions regarding parking/ingress/egress and our road design requriements. So for me, planning and engineeing overlap quite often and go hand-in-hand, as I review site plans for our planning dept., check sight distances, Right of way issues, ect. The "top" planning programs must not understand the profession, as none of those schools are known for (if they even have) engineering programs. Engineering is one of the oldest professions and thought more highly of than most other professions. We follow a strict code of ethics and fully understand the responsibility of our jobs by which we stamp to show our approval.
These comments were reserved for the private sector my friend. Please re-read thread and then comment more appropriately...

BTW, take a look at the professional prestige scale on the US Census Bureau website for Civil Engineers, it is rated way below Architects. Quite a sobering statistic.

I wish I had ethics and a stamp :)

CosmicMojo said:
Oh, you have no idea. Planning is much easier than Landscape Architecture. I've been through both programs. I think your understanding of LA is simplistic.
Actually MOST people have no clue as to what is the true nature or realm of Landscape Architecture, that's precisely my point. So in essence, I agree with you :) It has been such an amorphous and misunderstood "profession" for so long, I am not sure any of us are quite sure what in fact you guys actually do! :)
 
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noottamevas

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vtboy99 said:
These comments were reserved for the private sector my friend.
If a firm hires both planners and engineers, how could holding a degree in both not make you more marketable? A firm could get both in one salary.
 

vtboy99

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savemattoon said:
If a firm hires both planners and engineers, how could holding a degree in both not make you more marketable? A firm could get both in one salary.
Most of the top planning and design firms in the private sector dont even HIRE engineers, nor do they work with them closely. Those firms aren't looking for that kind of experience, therefore, during the hiring phase, it could serve more as a liability than an asset in terms of your marketability, portfolio, and resume.
 

noottamevas

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vtboy99 said:
Most of the top planning and design firms in the private sector dont even HIRE engineers
But there are plenty of engineering firms who hire planners. If I was a developer and needed a planner and an engineer and I could get that at one stop, guess where I'm going.

One of the biggest complaints I here from planners is engineers just don't get it. And vice-versa for engineers. With degrees in both, you will understand both fields and head off a lot problems where engineers and planners don't see eye to eye.
 

vtboy99

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savemattoon said:
But there are plenty of engineering firms who hire planners. If I was a developer and needed a planner and an engineer and I could get that at one stop, guess where I'm going.

One of the biggest complaints I here from planners is engineers just don't get it. And vice-versa for engineers. With degrees in both, you will understand both fields and head off a lot problems where engineers and planners don't see eye to eye.
But my point is, most of the top firms in the country who are commissioned with doing master planning, urban infill, downtown redevelopment, park design, new urbanism, etc, are NOT engineering firms, they are architecture, landscape architecture, and planning firms. These firms ONLY hire people with educational and professional backgrounds in planning, urban design, architecture, and landscape architecture. They most certainly do NOT hire engineers. This will not change for years to come, which is why I am pointing out this reality to our friend krebstar here.
 

NHPlanner

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vtboy99 said:
But my point is, most of the top firms in the country who are commissioned with doing master planning, urban infill, downtown redevelopment, park design, new urbanism, etc, are NOT engineering firms, they are architecture, landscape architecture, and planning firms. These firms ONLY hire people with educational and professional backgrounds in planning, urban design, architecture, and landscape architecture. They most certainly do NOT hire engineers. This will not change for years to come, which is why I am pointing out this reality to our friend krebstar here.
Be careful of defining reality. I estimate that in my experience in both the midwest and in New England, 90% of the professional staff of private firms are made up of PEs.
 

vtboy99

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NHPlanner said:
Be careful of defining reality. I estimate that in my experience in both the midwest and in New England, 90% of the professional staff of private firms are made up of PEs.
Which private sector firms are you referring to "moderator"? I am speaking of HOK, Sasaki, Gensler, Calthorpe, DPZ, Moule and Polyzoides, EDSA, WRT, KenKay Associates, Roma Design, Dover Kohl and Partners, Robert A.M. Stern, KPF, Ayers Saint Gross, Hargreaves Associates, Urban Design Associates, Solomon E.T.C., Peter Walker and Partners, etc (the ones who do real planning and design). Not sure what alternate reality you are speaking of, but I am referring to the top design firms located in San Francisco, New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, Miami, and Boston. (I think you get my drift) None of these firms would EVER consider hiring a PE in a planning or design capacity (unless they needed a some kind of liason or consultant with local experience to work with a few real estate developers or minor jurisdictions - which I believe rarely happens in those firms).

Maybe I have overlooked a few rural locales or firms under your radar scope which I should have considered :) If so, my sincerest apologies...
 
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NHPlanner

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vtboy99 said:
Which firms are you referring to "moderator"? I am speaking of HOK, Sasaki, Gensler, Calthorpe, DPZ, Moule and Polyzoides, EDSA, WRT, KenKay Associates, Roma Design, Dover Kohl and Partners, Robert A.M. Stern, KPF, Ayers Saint Gross, Hargreaves Associates, Urban Design Associates, Solomon E.T.C., Peter Walker and Partners, etc (the ones who do real planning and design). Not sure what alternate reality you are speaking of, but I am referring to the top design firms located in San Francisco, New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, Miami, and Boston. (I think you get my drift) None of these firms would EVER consider hiring a PE in a planning or design capacity.

Maybe I have overlooked a few rural locales or firms under your radar scope in which I should have considered :) My sincerest apologies...
As expected, you listed the "top" firms.

Of all those firms you have listed, how many of them are likely to be doing consulting work for communities where 95% of cyburbians live and work? I suspect very few, if any.

The world of planning is not limited to the large metro areas where the top firms do work. For the majority of us, the firms that typically do consulting work for us are primarily engineering firms with planning or design staff in the minority of the total employment of the firm. Just the way it is. Ask some of our members that work in private sector (Chet in Milwaukee, Planderella in New Orleans, others I'm sure.....) how much of their staff is made up of planners vs. engineers.
 

vtboy99

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NHPlanner said:
As expected, you listed the "top" firms.

Of all those firms you have listed, how many of them are likely to be doing consulting work for communities where 95% of cyburbians live and work? I suspect very few, if any.

The world of planning is not limited to the large metro areas where the top firms do work. For the majority of us, the firms that typically do consulting work for us are primarily engineering firms with planning or design staff in the minority of the total employment of the firm. Just the way it is. Ask some of our members that work in private sector (Chet in Milwaukee, Planderella in New Orleans, others I'm sure.....) how much of their staff is made up of planners vs. engineers.
Actually that's NOT the way it is. Most of the top consulting jobs for medium sized to larger metro areas are done by the "top" design firms. Take a look at recipients of RFPs for those projects and get back to me. None of which are comprised of engineering firms, not by a long shot. Only the minor commissions are won by the odd planning/engineering amalgamations.
 

NHPlanner

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vtboy99 said:
Only the minor commissions are won by the odd planning/engineering amalgamations.
You're making my point for me. The "minor commissions" make up the majority of the work.
 

ssnyderjr

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vtboy99 said:
Actually that's NOT the way it is. Most of the top consulting jobs for medium sized to larger metro areas are done by the "top" design firms. Take a look at recipients of RFPs for those projects and get back to me. None of which are comprised of engineering firms, not by a long shot. Only the minor commissions are won by the odd planning/engineering amalgamations.
I'll be darned, as much as these planning consultants want to "get away from" civil engineers, they still list them on their "Who we are" page....
http://www.sasaki.com/how/services.cgi?m=5
In fact the true design is still done by structural engineers and traffic engineers to size steel beams, design roads, figure capacity/TIS studies, signal warrants, etc. The designers you speak of (architects) make stuff pretty, typically they are backed by a structural (Civil) engineer in the office, that's the guy you don't see.
 
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vtboy99 said:
Actually that's NOT the way it is. Most of the top consulting jobs for medium sized to larger metro areas are done by the "top" design firms. Take a look at recipients of RFPs for those projects and get back to me. None of which are comprised of engineering firms, not by a long shot. Only the minor commissions are won by the odd planning/engineering amalgamations.
While it may appear that these "top" design firms are getting the lion's share of the work, keep in mind that, many times, the work is done in collaboration with a number of smaller firms which may include engineering firms. My project load contradicts everything you've said about top consulting jobs for medium sized areas not being done by engineering firms. Even some of the larger projects I've worked on were led by large, firms such as Bechtel or URS who primarily employ engineers.

How do you define "top" anyway? :r:
 

vtboy99

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NHPlanner said:
You're making my point for me. The "minor commissions" make up the majority of the work.
Actually you're making my point for me. The minor commissions make up a majority of the work only in smaller sized communities with smaller budgets and staff.

ssnyderjr said:
I'll be darned, as much as these planning consultants want to "get away from" civil engineers, they still list them on their "Who we are" page....
http://www.sasaki.com/how/services.cgi?m=5
In fact the true design is still done by structural engineers and traffic engineers to size steel beams, design roads, figure capacity/TIS studies, signal warrants, etc. The designers you speak of (architects) make stuff pretty, typically they are backed by a structural (Civil) engineer in the office, that's the guy you don't see.
Poor unsung heros story, right? You're hilarious!

If it werent for the designs composed by the architects, landscape architects, urban designers, and planners, then the structural engineers and civil engineers would be sitting around twittling their thumbs waiting for something to "implement".

Planderella said:
While it may appear that these "top" design firms are getting the lion's share of the work, keep in mind that, many times, the work is done in collaboration with a number of smaller firms which may include engineering firms. My project load contradicts everything you've said about top consulting jobs for medium sized areas not being done by engineering firms. Even some of the larger projects I've worked on were led by large, firms such as Bechtel or URS who primarily employ engineers.

How do you define "top" anyway? :r:
Engineering/planning firms are relegated to "implementation" of designs composed and thought of by the top design firms. If you don't understand the definition of a top firm and you consider yourself a "professional" planner, then I really can't help you my friend :)

Bechtel and URS work on engineering projects primarily, they only sub for planning projects if-needed on an implementation basis. Besides, with the quagmire which ended up as a result of the "Big Dig" fiscal disaster in Central Boston, I seriously wouldn't throw around Bechtel's name too loosely nowadays.

Wow, I am getting attacked on three Cyburbian fronts, my chops are being tested today! :)
 
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NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
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vtboy99 said:
Actually you're making my point for me. The minor commissions make up a majority of the work only in smaller sized communities with smaller budgets and staff.
Last attempt from me....

Smaller sized communities with small budgets and small staffs make up the majority of communities in the US.

Enough said.

[ot]
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ssnyderjr

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vtboy99 said:
If it werent for the designs composed by the architects, landscape architects, urban designers, and planners, then the structural engineers and civil engineers would be sitting around twittling their thumbs waiting for something to "implement".
Maybe "concepts" would be a better word than designs in this case.
1. Can Architects, LA's, Urban Designers and planners calculate how to design a pavement or parking garage based off of traffic counts? NO.
2. Can Architects, LA's, Urban Designers and planners design a building based off of dead loads, live loads, wind loads and snow loads? NO. Hence they are not designers, they mistakenly get the credit for it sometimes, but they do not design.
You're telling me a planner came up with the Hoover Dam (the one that powers the State of Nevada)????
By the way, structural engineers are Civil engineers, as are transportation and environmental engineers.
FACT: Through sewer treatment plant design, Civil engineers have saved more lives than all the doctors and nurses in the world ever.
 

vtboy99

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ssnyderjr said:
Maybe "concepts" would be a better word than designs in this case.
1. Can Architects, LA's, Urban Designers and planners calculate how to design a pavement or parking garage based off of traffic counts? NO.
2. Can Architects, LA's, Urban Designers and planners design a building based off of dead loads, live loads, wind loads and snow loads? NO. Hence they are not designers, they mistakenly get the credit for it sometimes, but they do not design.
You're telling me a planner came up with the Hoover Dam (the one that powers the State of Nevada)????
By the way, structural engineers are Civil engineers, as are transportation and environmental engineers.
FACT: Through sewer treatment plant design, Civil engineers have saved more lives than all the doctors and nurses in the world ever.
Wow, mildly interesting statistic. Strange point well taken my friend :)
 

plankton

Cyburbian
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750
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21
krebstar said:
hey,
I wanted to get your opinions on this:
I'm currently a student in civil engineering but I'm very interested in urban planning. I am in the process of switching into urban planning for next semester but I was wondering what you guys thought about this. Should I finish my civil degree and then get a masters in planning?
Lots of interesting comments thus far.

Here's one more take:

BSCE + AICP = :)

I have a BS in Civil Engineering and and am an AICP Planning Director.

Civil engineering is absolutely compatible with urban and regional planning. I find the "ethical" conflict coversation to be way way off. A civil engineering degree forces you to become a good critical thinker/problem solver in transportation, hydrology, concrete, steel, surveying, and environmental disciplines. I don't know what other planners do on a daily basis, but I seem to be working on these issues all the time. Studying for the AICP really helped me out on eco devo stuff; although, I admit, I still have a lot to learn in this particular field.

I suggest staying the course and getting your engineering degree; make sure to take as many planning classes as possible; upon graduation, apply for entry level planning jobs (anywhere); play up your knowledge of public works facilities, stormwater management, surveying methods, etc. during the interviews; hold onto your best writing samples to use in the interviews; get hired; work a few years; get promoted (or take a better position somewhere else); take the AICP; pass; avoiding extra (costly!!) years of school; never look back.

Best of luck! :)
 

vtboy99

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6
plankton said:
Lots of interesting comments thus far.

Here's one more take:

BSCE + AICP = :)

I have a BS in Civil Engineering and and am an AICP Planning Director.

Civil engineering is absolutely compatible with urban and regional planning. I find the "ethical" conflict coversation to be way way off. A civil engineering degree forces you to become a good critical thinker/problem solver in transportation, hydrology, concrete, steel, surveying, and environmental disciplines. I don't know what other planners do on a daily basis, but I seem to be working on these issues all the time. Studying for the AICP really helped me out on eco devo stuff; although, I admit, I still have a lot to learn in this particular field.

I suggest staying the course and getting your engineering degree; make sure to take as many planning classes as possible; upon graduation, apply for entry level planning jobs (anywhere); play up your knowledge of public works facilities, stormwater management, surveying methods, etc. during the interviews; hold onto your best writing samples to use in the interviews; get hired; work a few years; get promoted (or take a better position somewhere else); take the AICP; pass; avoiding extra (costly!!) years of school; never look back.

Best of luck! :)
What kind of jurisdiction do you work for? That is exactly what we were referring to here...

We are talking about quality of career, not just quantity (AICP + PE)
 
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vtboy99 said:
Engineering/planning firms are relegated to "implementation" of designs composed and thought of by the top design firms. If you don't understand the definition of a top firm and you consider yourself a "professional" planner, then I really can't help you my friend :)

Bechtel and URS work on engineering projects primarily, they only sub for planning projects if-needed on an implementation basis. Besides, with the quagmire which ended up as a result of the "Big Dig" fiscal disaster in Central Boston, I seriously wouldn't throw around Bechtel's name too loosely nowadays.
Not to engage you in any type of debate, but I really take offense at you telling me what MY job entails.
 

vtboy99

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107
Points
6
Planderella said:
Not to engage you in any type of debate, but I really take offense at you telling me what MY job entails.
My apologies, however I believe you misunderstood my statement completely. It was NOT a personal attack directed at you whatsoever. I apologize if that's how you interpreted my comment.
 

cmavis

Cyburbian
Messages
134
Points
6
vtboy99 said:
...In fact, a PE + AICP only makes you an overqualified engineer, in no shape or form without a graduate planning education does it make you a real planner.
Wow, that's news to me and I sure do hope that I am misinterpreting you.
 

cmavis

Cyburbian
Messages
134
Points
6
vtboy99 said:
No misinterpretation my friend.
Guess the past 6 years of my life practicing professional planning means nothing then huh? No grad degree here compadre.
 
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