And We’re Off…

Hi, I’m Matt, a Planner and Urban Designer in Toronto, and I want to be your mentor!*

Since finishing school six years ago, and starting my career, I’ve spoken with many (hopefully) future planners and urban designers – from high school students with a fleeting interest in Planning, to recent graduates knee-deep in the job hunt.

I’ve always really enjoyed these talks, and have noticed that most students share the same feelings I had when I was in school – a mix of confidence and fear, of feeling like you’re really getting the hang of this, but also like you may not know anything at all.

When talking with students, I’m often asked the same questions – “What types of projects do you work on? What is your typical day like? Do you get to travel? What programs do you use?

These are the same questions I had when I was a student, which makes me think you probably have all those other questions I had as well – the ones I was afraid to ask because I thought I was the only one who didn’t know the answer. These were the questions that made me feel like I may not be ready to walk into a Planning office and just start working (Umm, an Official Plan? Oh crap, I wonder if I should have learned AutoCAD?).

Lucky for you, I’m here to help – to impart upon you all of the wisdom that I’ve obtained over the last six years (yeah, six whole years).

Until now, I’ve only been able to offer advice to those who’ve contacted me directly. With this blog, I’m hoping to be proactive and reach out to you first – to snare you early enough to be a helpful resource as you move through school. An online mentor if you will – the Splinter to your Michelangelo. I think this would have been really useful for me throughout my studies, and hope it can be for you too.

Through weekly (or more) posts, it’s my goal that this blog will provide readers with a practical understanding of the day-to-day life of a planner, and provide a place to ask questions and bridge the gap between what you’re learning in school, and how this planning gig works in real life.

I’m going to start simple, providing posts about the day-to-day aspects of my job, as well as some professional/educational advice that I have learned along the way – similar to the discussions that I’m currently having with students. If you find your way here, I also encourage you to let me know any specific topics/questions you would like me to address.

Given that the majority of my experience focuses on Urban Design, many of the posts will be through this lens. However, I’m hoping to reach out to colleagues for guest posts as questions arise, to provide a variety of views.

So, without any further adieu, let’s get started.

*Planning matters only. I would love to be your life coach for all things, but I’m probably not qualified.

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