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Questions from the lost

So I'm confused about whether urban planning is really what I'm looking for so I was hoping some of you could answer some questions. If you are planners, what do you spend most of your day doing? What is the best part of being an urban planner? Do you experience more satisfaction or frustration with your job? Do you feel like you are making a positive difference with your environment? Are math skills necessary because I'm definately lacking? What kind of projects do you work on? I am wondering if someone who is opposed to sprawl would find urban planning a difficult job since I would think there would be times when you would have to go along with it if that is what the community wants? Sorry for my rambling. I guess I'm looking for a hands on job where I can make the environment greener and I'm not sure if there is such a job. Thanks.


I had many of the same questions a couple of years ago when I first discovered planning. In regards to the question of wanting to "make the environment greener", I can tell you my opinion:

Whether you get your degree in planning or not, your impact on your environment will be much, much greater if you have an understanding of local land use planning. While I understand that land ownership is a bit different in New England versus the intermountain west, so many of our ecologically valuable landscapes are privately owned. If you want to save wildlife habitat, agricultural landscapes, or open spaces, you've got to be able to influence the pattern of growth and development. That puts environmentalism directly in the realm of planning.

Additionally, planning gives you the tools to address more than simply protecting habitat or open space. You also get to tackle questions of affordable housing, healthy economic growth, and functioning transportation systems- In short, how to grow and develop true communities. And that, in my opinion, is something that the environmental movement would do well to recognize as a worthy goal.

My two cents...
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