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Urban studies as a future career?

Old 11-10-06, 04:37 PM
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Urban studies as a future career?

As a senior in high school, I am starting now to apply to colleges. I am thinking of urban studies as a major. Does anyone know anything about this? Would this be a good career choice with peak oil on the horizon? It is definitely a subject that I am very passionate about. What kind of jobs could I get?
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Old 11-10-06, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by bike756
As a senior in high school, I am starting now to apply to colleges. I am thinking of urban studies as a major. Does anyone know anything about this? Would this be a good career choice with peak oil on the horizon? It is definitely a subject that I am very passionate about. What kind of jobs could I get?
Suggestion: Start with your high school counselor, library references, parents or maybe some one who actually knows you or the subject, preferably both.

Only as a last resort, and not even then, seek out, or worse, act on the advice of anonymous strangers who may not have a clue about what they are talking about.
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Old 11-10-06, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by bike756
Would this be a good career choice with peak oil on the horizon? It is definitely a subject that I am very passionate about. What kind of jobs could I get?
If you are passionate about it, it's a good career choice. Quite a wide range of jobs. Go for a Masters or possibly a PhD if you can afford them.
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Old 11-10-06, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Suggestion: Start with your high school counselor, library references, parents or maybe some one who actually knows you or the subject, preferably both.

Only as a last resort, and not even then, seek out, or worse, act on the advice of anonymous strangers who may not have a clue about what they are talking about.
I've already done that, just wantedto see what some carfree people thought.
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Old 11-10-06, 07:01 PM
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I'm working towards my BS in Civil/Environmental engineering and I'm considering going into something along those lines if I ever manage to graduate. Guess that wasn't very helpful huh
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Old 11-10-06, 07:01 PM
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re: post # 2 and 4

- don't sweat it, bike756, ILikeToBike is grumpy with everyone.
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Old 11-10-06, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by cerewa
re: post # 2 and 4

- don't sweat it, bike756, ILikeToBike is grumpy with everyone.
OK fine, Smiley, what is your sage advice? Want to be a dope? Ask a dope.
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Old 11-11-06, 07:23 AM
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I think the most worthwhile urban planning graduates would emerge not only with urban studies knowledge, but with a BS degree in some engineering field. We have such a shortage of students willing to study and master tough science and math topics, if you had an engneering degree you'd have many more opportunities.
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Old 11-11-06, 08:01 AM
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I'd agree with kf5nd about engineering. I think it's one of the better career choices for a peak oil world.
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Old 11-11-06, 09:52 AM
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Major in something that can get you a job. Minor in what you love.

If you love urban studies, minor in it. Major in something that could be related, such as Civil Engineering, Economics, etc.

Your passion will show through if you want to follow the Urban Studies route, but if Sh*t hits the fan, you can always fall back on that CivE, Econ, etc. degree to pay the bills.
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Old 11-11-06, 11:06 AM
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I suppose, like everyone else, I would ask; In what aspect of Urban Studies will you concentrate?

I myself am passionate about Urban Planning, although the job to applicant ratio is pretty high. In this field I might also suggest a higher (Masters/PhD) degree.

Some sites for reference:
http://www.cyburbia.org/
http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/7442/jobs.html
http://www.planning.org/careers/
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Old 11-11-06, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Orikal
I suppose, like everyone else, I would ask; In what aspect of Urban Studies will you concentrate?

I myself am passionate about Urban Planning, although the job to applicant ratio is pretty high. In this field I might also suggest a higher (Masters/PhD) degree.

Some sites for reference:
http://www.cyburbia.org/
http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/7442/jobs.html
http://www.planning.org/careers/
good sites, thanks.
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Old 11-12-06, 12:23 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Suggestion: Start with your high school counselor, library references, parents or maybe some one who actually knows you or the subject, preferably both.

Only as a last resort, and not even then, seek out, or worse, act on the advice of anonymous strangers who may not have a clue about what they are talking about.
Don't waste your time with a high school counselor.

Go have lunch with an urban studies professor. See what's hot in the field, what will be hot five to twenty years from now, and what sort of jobs you can get after a BA.
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Old 11-12-06, 07:44 AM
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Emphatic ditto.

Also go meet urban planners active in your city. Go to as many planning events that are open to the public that are being held in your area.


Originally Posted by Pampusik
Don't waste your time with a high school counselor.

Go have lunch with an urban studies professor. See what's hot in the field, what will be hot five to twenty years from now, and what sort of jobs you can get after a BA.
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Old 11-12-06, 08:48 AM
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For an area like urban studies, it may be helpful to think not just in terms of the college classes you take and the college-sponsored activities that you take part in, but also what you can do that's not affiliated with your school at all. (i.e. For you, volunteer work, advocacy work, or paid part-time or full time-jobs might be good stepping stones. For many students, these are just things to 'look good' on a school/job application or on a resume, but for you, they may actually be useful.
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Old 11-30-06, 09:04 PM
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Looking around America, I'm guessing that nobody is doing any urban planning at all. In which case that means there probably isn't much of job market. Either that, or more likely, it's all politics and business interests that dictate how our cities are built. Yeah, that's probably it.
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Old 11-30-06, 09:15 PM
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Below is a link to the US Dept of Labor/BLS web site overview for Urban Planners. This is an independent resource, so it probably provides the best information. Looking over the info, it sounds a decent field to get into, but you will probably be limited in terms of the type of area you could find work in (probably a large city or suburb, not that that's necessarily bad).

I don't know this for sure, but I would guess it's probably a fairly competitive field because it seems like something many people would want to do. That's just my guess though:

http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos057.htm#outlook
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Old 12-01-06, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Thor29
Looking around America, I'm guessing that nobody is doing any urban planning at all. In which case that means there probably isn't much of job market. Either that, or more likely, it's all politics and business interests that dictate how our cities are built. Yeah, that's probably it.
Okay, but looking around the world, nobody must be doing anything about X (climate change, poverty, income inequality, busted democracy, pollution, etc...) so might as well not do it... If you care about something, get into it and ignore the bull****.

That said, there are jobs for urban planning. Check out www.planning.org and http://www.acsp.org/ for more information generally. From what I have heard, doing urban planning in undergraduate is a waste of time as most programs are not accredited (meaning you will have to do a masters in planning anyways) and the ones that are apparently suffer from advancement problems. So do something somewhat related in undergraduate. Engineering is a possibility, but that's pretty technical too for something you may not even want to do. Washington University in Seattle has two cool programs (Program on the Environment, and their award winning "Community and Environmental Planning" program). The latter seems quite interesting, as you get to build up your portfolio and work on actual projects. A double major there might be valuable. There may be pre-planning type programs out there too. Geography may be a popular program, but maybe a bit too popular... I know so much geography graduates. Also, if you do major in environment make sure it is a challenging faculty - there are many environment programs out there, so you'll have to distinguish yourself. Try to find programs that give you theoretical and practical experience.

Also, try to take classes in the following areas: waste management, transportation, urban demographics, community development, urban ecology, etc... Think about all the things that make a city work/fail and get at least an introduction to these things, that will give you much more to say when it comes time to apply to graduate school.

In some ways, it does not really matter what you study in university at the undergraduate level as long as you do well (and don't pick something irrelevant). Getting non-academic experience is vital, too.

By the way, I am also considering planning work, hence the information, but I'm coming at it from another angle (already have my undergraduate degree). Now I'm thinking I should have done things differently, but I digress.

Good luck.

EDIT: Note that climate change and pollution will soon become unavoidable issues. Combine that with peak oil and what do you need? Professionals who know how to make cities work sustainably, dag nabit.

EDIT #2: And if at all possible - go abroad for a semester/year!

Final EDIT: Some colleges let you apply, get admitted, and then defer acceptance for a year. If finances are an issue, this lets you get out there and work/intern/whatever. Consider the Conservation Corps in whatever State you end up in, as they'll also give you a scholarship for each year you work with them.

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Old 12-01-06, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by bike756
good sites, thanks.
There are many threads at Cyburbia that you may find informational in the "Career Advice" subforum:

http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=52

Also, I can't stress this site enough:

http://www.planning.org/jobscareers/overview.htm
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Old 12-01-06, 07:59 PM
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cyclerevolution made a number of good points. most undergrad Urabn studies programs are not accredited, although thats not to say you wont learn a lot. I'm currently working on my BA in Poli Sci, and looking at different programs for a MURP/MCP. When I was little I wanted to be a civil engineer, and built awesome roads for my hotwheels. And then as I got into calculus, I realized that I didn't like math. When I started with the Poli sci major I thought i was interested in International law, and then I spent a year in Europe (amsterdam specificly) and discovered that I was really interested in Urban Studies, and although I wasn't interested in the math that went into building roads, I was really interested in how/why they got built, and why Amsterdam looks nothing like Paris and certainly looks nothing like LA.

So yes I would totaly recomend studying abroad (the netherlands is great for bikes!). I also think the Master degree is probably nessecary for a good career. I've look at a lot of jobs in California, and lower level positions give you a bonus for a master's and higher level postions require it

TRANSPORTATION PLANNER II

Grade J: $51,334 - $64,168 - $77,001
Potential candidates interested in this position MUST meet the following requirements: a Bachelor's Degree in Urban or Transportation Planning, Transportation Engineering, Political Science, Business, Public Administration, or a related field and three years of related professional experience in public transportation, financial planning, or other related area. A Master's Degree in a related field can be used to substitute for one year of experience.
LA Metropolitan transit district
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Old 12-01-06, 08:31 PM
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Thanks for the lengthy responses guys, I'm really learning a lot.

Thoes sites are very helpful.
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