I enjoy urban planning because;
– of its uniquely ever-changing scenario for problem solving. Even if it’s the same problem (such as downtown revitalization which seems to be one of the main issues everywhere) one year in one place, it will have a completely different solution than one year later, or at the same time in a different place.
– the attention to detail the profession demands is astounding. One cannot simply slap a couple more lanes on a freeway and call the congestion issues dealt with. While this solution may temporarily lessen the frustrations of the public, it comes with months of planning (salary through some taxes); the choice to give the contract to the lowest bidder and/or someone local rather than a larger firm in order to further supplement the local economy tells how a government chooses to act self-sufficiently or the short-term goal to just get the project over with; the months and huge amount of tax money put towards building the new lanes while increasing traffic and further frustrating the public though the long term goal is to ease the environment.
After the exaggeration and run-on sentences, where has this left us? With just the same amount of congestion and problems as the area had before, but now with slightly less space to solve it in. One must be diverse both in mindset as well as practice when it comes to solving planning problems.
– the job description is so overwhelmingly open-ended. (This is also the most terrifying aspect to me at this point in time as well!) It’s like given a fully-finished painting of someone else’s proud work and being told to make it better somehow and as quickly as possible.
– I hope to challenge myself and traditional means of planning by not making the easiest choice, but the smartest choice for the vast majority of residents effected. I’d hate to choose a new bike path over new streetlights and be smothered with anger and regret. I hope to make choices as public and openly as possible- even if it’s at my own expense.
– the diversity of the craft is unlike most careers. While many may choose a path like computer programming, such as my father, no matter if they’re the CEO or a junior programmer: you’re still sitting in front of a screen all day. There’s not much real variation in many other paths as well such as teaching (you’ll always have to tell a kid to spit their gum out whether you’re a TA or the principal), medical care (I get the vibe you’ll get puked on eventually whether you’re a nurse or a specialist with this one), or even owning your own small business (the floors won’t clean themselves and the pimple covered kid skipped out for an impromptu Magic: The Gathering tournament.) With planning, I feel like one could go through many different widely varying positions while still being in the same field. Historic preservation, motored transportation planning, human powered transportation planning, environmental planning, private consultations, teaching, economic planning, tribal planning, small town planning, land use planning, and a ton more I haven’t learned about yet. I hope to explore my path thoroughly- I doubt I’ll get bored in the long run.
These, among many other reasons over my 500-word limit/goal are what keeps my interest in the field and hopefully will continue to for many many years to come. Thank you.