This Right-of-Way Sure Could use a Mid-block Crossing: Or, How to Talk Like a Planner

Here’s something no one tells you in school. After years of being a Planner, all the technical words you use at the office will creep into your everyday vocabulary… and best of all, you won’t even notice you’re talking like some weird Planning robot (though your friends/spouse will surely remind you).

It makes sense. Planners write. We write a lot. And we generally write about cities, buildings, streets, transit, cyclists, and a bunch of other things that we see everywhere we go. It’s hard to turn this off.

And of course when we write, we want to sound smart. So instead of using everyday words for things, we use smart-sounding Planning lingo.

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So, How Do I Make One of Those Cool Master Plans?

As a Planner, a big part of my job is creating plans (shocking, right?). Whether I’m preparing a secondary plan, a master plan, a mobility hub study, etc. the end result is a pretty picture that shows buildings, streets, parks, trails, etc. at varying levels of detail.

When I first started working, the thought of this was very intimidating. I had no idea how to create a master plan. How do I know where the roads go? How tall should the buildings be? How big is a park? What the hell am I doing here?

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Before You Submit That Resume…

For me, one of the scariest things about job hunting is the horror stories about resume fielding. We’ve all read about employers who throw out resumes because they’re stapled wrong, they use Times New Roman font, etc. While I wish I could say these stories are false, there’s some merit to them.

The competition is fierce out there. It’s not crazy to assume that a company gets multiple resumes a week, or even multiple per day – often without any positions being advertised/available. It’s a big effort to field these, contact applicants, have interviews, etc. so it makes sense to eliminate as many as possible before this stage.

The good news is most (decent) employers won’t just dismiss a resume for something petty like fonts, staple fails, weird signatures, etc. So while most advice focuses on making your resume stand out, my advice is to make it strong, and make sure there’s no reason for it to get thrown aside.*

There’s a million websites that’ll tell you how to write a good resume, so I’ll skip a lot of the gory details and focus on seven things that I think are important – and how they apply to a Planning/urban design position.**

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New Logo!

No new posts until Wednesday, but I just thought I’d point out the fancy new logo on your right (or somewhere else, bottom maybe, if you’re reading on your phone). I’m thinking about experimenting with a few variations, so bear with me if it looks different every time you visit – for a little while anyways.

Do I Really Need Planning Theory?

I’ve never had a student ask me this, but it’s something that I always wondered when I was in school – do I really need Planning theory?

In both my undergraduate and graduate degree, I took multiple theory courses. As a grad student I TA’d twice for a first year Planning Theory course. So its safe to say, I know about Rationale Comprehensive Planning and Incrementalism, the Garden City and the Radiant City, Robert Moses vs. Jane Jacobs, Planning ethics, etc. etc.

The question is, do I use any of this knowledge as a practicing Planner? The short, snarky, “I told you so” answer is… no!

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