If you’ve followed my blog for a while you might be asking yourself: “What exactly is this city planning she keeps referencing? “. Well, I decided to dedicate a post to it! I feel like most of the outside world is still a little confused at what exactly it is urban & regional planners do for a living. Let me first say, I am not a “real” planner yet. By that I mean, I am still learning. I’m only in my third year of undergraduate & only second in the actual planning program, so I am not going to have all the answers. I like to define planning by a simple definition: “improving the quality of life”. Couldn’t you say that most careers do that in some way or form, well yes, but that’s why planning is interdisciplinary. To expand on the “improving” part, we improve by rethinking, changing, & modifying existing plans. The world & its cities are constantly changing with new technology, inventions, ideas, medicine, environments, & much more; so we have to be able to adapt to change. The “quality of life” part comes in with the idea that planners are working with where people work, live, play, & the in-betweens. We are striving to improve the community you grew up in, or the community you currently live in; we want people to work, live, & play in the same place (isn’t that a crazy idea?).
Now that you’ve got what I believe are the basics, let me expand more. Maybe you are saying, “umm…what does a planner do on a day-to-day basis?”. There are many options! Planners are hired at firms to be designers, independent contractors, or developers. Planners work in local governments to help the community run smoothly. Planners also contribute to community meetings & planning commissions. Planners can work with development companies on small & large scale projects. We also have specializations like community development, sustainability, arts, entertainment, design, crime, health, transportation, economy, & other interests. Teaching planning at a university level is another option, and one that I would consider later in my career. To break it down even further, there are basically two main ways to go with planing. One way is the design aspect. Planners would work in programs like GIS & PhotoShop to develop plans while working closely with architects & developers. The second way is the policy aspect. Policy (by my own definition) is making ideas, discovering possible outcomes, & forming solutions of what a plan has done or could do. I am more interested in the policy aspect because I do not have the skills for design & I enjoy the critical thinking that is involved with policy.
If that does not answer all of your questions, then head over to the American Planning Association. You can also check out Ohio State’s website that is dedicated to the Knowlton School of Architecture to see what it says about the City & Regional Planning Program. I can try to answer any questions my readers might have, but again, I am not a planning professional at this point in time because I am still working on my undergrad degree. I also have some fabulous professors over at OSU that would probably be able to assist me with any questions.
I will be publishing another post in the near future about why I am interested & so passionate about planning, so stay tuned! 🙂