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Information / data Information needs

Chris Wonders

Member
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As a Pitt grad in the Planning profession, I am happy to offer some help. Frankly, I find that the multitasking/schizophrenic nature of planning means there really are no limits to the types and amounts of information needs. Here are a few thoughts:

Real Estate trends:
housing starts, sales and prices
cost per square foot of commercial/office space
vacancy rates for apartments (all kinds: market rate, elderly, assisted, etc.)
property tax comparisons between adjoining municipalities
construction costs per sq. ft.


Retail Trends:
consumer shopping and spending patterns
business start-ups and shut-downs

Demographics:
employment trends
daycare supply v. demand
education . . . anything assessing quality of schools

Crime Statistics

and on . . and on . . . and on. . .

Anybody else want to add to the list?
 
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Hello

I am a member of a group of information science students interested in the information needs of the urban planner. If possible, could anyone provide some insight into the information needs of the professional urban planner? For example, how do you seek the information that you need professionally? Where do you go to find the information that you need? How do you use the information that you retrieve? What type of materials do you use the most (eg. books, articles, websites)? How often do you use informal communication with colleagues as an information resource? What form of information resource do you feel would help you the most professionally? Finally, what do you feel is lacking from the information resources available to you now?

Thank you for any time you can give these brief questions.

Sincerely
Chiara Figallo
Graduate Student of the School of Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
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1,369
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29
Planning is one of the most diverse of professions, and as Chris points out there is a perspective from which the need for information is endless. The art of the profession is knowing what information is relevant, and when to use it. But you have to pile up a lot to choose from. Access to the WWW has made our lot a little easier, especially when it comes to basic data series like those compiled by the Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, but we are often compelled to seek out obscure sources of information (masters theses and doctoral dissertations, for example) and even to do original applied research (a lot of my projects require extensive photodocumentation, which can be had only be going out and taking the pics). Chris appears to be an urban planner. I work in rural areas and small towns, so my basic list includes some different items (as well as most he listed), including:

geologic maps and reports, especially in the fields of natural hazards (earthquakes, landslides, etc.) and geohydrology
water quantity and quality data
soil surveys, and more detailed information about local soils
crop yields and detailed information about local agriculture, including climatic data and water availability (also the Census of Agriculture)
land cover and vegetation maps
wildlife habitat maps and reports
land ownership maps and plats
USGS maps of several different scales
aerial photos
traffic counter records and accident report summaries
etc etc

Hope this helps!
 

GIS Guy

Member
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19
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Wow that's a big question

Big Question. Go to APA-itskills.org for some info. It is a work in progress site identifying skills that a technology proficient planner should master. Also go to Urisa.org, their "getting started in GIS" publication is pretty good. Also look up placemaking.pdf by roy chan. Another good site is lgc.org. Urisa's gettign started in GIS on a limited budget is good gor GIS info. Or go to placematters.us , it have some pretty good info on how the planning process should work.

Mike
 

GIS Guy

Member
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19
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Take Part in the Survey

Great question. The Info Tech Div. of the APA is working on this right now and will be publishing an online survey prior to adopting a statement of core tech skills a planner should be proficent in (or master). This survey will be availabele very soon and I'll make sure to post it on this discussion area.

But, in the mean time, take a look at the last PAS report (number 525, E-Government, May. 2004 at www.planning.org.) I just read it and it's a great resource.

Anyways, The APA InfoTech Div should have something out be the end of the yearish. Look for the survey in later Sept. 2004
 
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