Urban Planner Careers
By Eric Hammer
If you are interested in urban planner careers, then you should
probably know something about Robert Moses. Few people have exemplified
urban planning more than Mr. Moses. He was responsible for building
New York City and the New York metro area into what it is today.
Moses was responsible for building the largest bridge in New
York City, the tri-borough bridge, which connects Brooklyn, Manhattan
and Queens as well as for building the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel
and for locating the United Nations building on the East side
of Manhattan. He also built numerous other bridges and highways
in New York City and is remembered for bulldozing his way through
Manhattan. The thing is, even those who hated him agreed that
he was able to get things done and the infrastructure he created
then still exists and is a vital part of New York City today.
So why do we mention Mr. Moses when it comes to urban planning
careers? Because of the fact that he exemplified what it meant
to be an urban planner. Urban planners figure out how to move
people and shape cities.
They also sometimes have to quite bull headed in order to
get their projects done because people don't always want to agree
with their ideas (witness again Mr. Moses, who found himself
thwarted by none other than the president himself when he tried
to build a bridge instead of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel). If
you are thinking about urban planning careers, remember that
they involve both being almost like a force of nature as well
as being someone willing to listen to the people who will actually
use your projects (something Mr. Moses never did).
How Much Can You Make?
According to the bureau of labor statistics, the average urban
planner earned around $62,400 in 2008. However, if you end up
with a job on the scale of Mr. Moses, you could be earning much
more and if you work as an assistant urban planner (quite common
when starting in urban planner careers), you could earn significantly
less as well.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
Keep in mind that as an urban planner, you need to be able
to see the forest for the trees as well as the trees for the
forest. In other words, you need to be able to look at details
as well as seeing the grand plan over-all. Your decisions, for
good or bad will define how people live their lives in the cities
that you help design and as such, you need to be detail oriented
and also a big picture sort of person (i.e. you need to know
why it makes more sense to run a highway along this route and
not that route while at the same time keeping an eye on which
points the highway will connect along the way).
You'll also need to have excellent oral and written communication
skills. Being able to speak on the phone and in public at town
meetings as well as being able to write articles for the local
newspaper are all very important skills if you are interested
in urban planner careers.
Qualifications / Requirements
Typically, you'll need a master's degree in urban planning
in order to become an urban planner. Urban planner careers do
however sometimes begin with nothing but a bachelor's degree
and a willingness to learn.
Start by taking courses in college in statistics and urban
planning. Make sure that you are a detail oriented person who
can take in both the big picture and the little details surrounding
it. Then, get your master's degree. Once you have that, start
by looking for a job as an assistant urban planner in an office
of urban planners.
Association - The professional organization for urban planners.
About.com: Urban Planner or Regional Planner Quiz
- While the answers are a little obvious, this quiz does show
you if you are the right kind of person to be considering this.