Ann Forsyth's blog

Ann Forsyth is professor of Urban Planning at Harvard University.
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Internet Presence for Job Candidates

The internet has great potential as a means of professional marketing for many soon-to-be and recent graduates. Not everyone in planning, however, uses it well. The following tips aim to help you realize its potential and avoid its pitfalls. 

Should I do a PhD in Planning?

In coming weeks doctoral applications in planning are due. Why apply?

For professional planners, a PhD sometimes sounds interesting compared with doing a regular job in a municipality. Some designers remember studio professors who seemed to float into class, unprepared, for a few hours per week. Compared with the ups and downs of private design practice, this can seem quite appealing. Of course, some people genuinely like studying and research, want to make a contribution in that area, and have a flair for teaching.

Planning Education: How Important is Having a Good Teacher?

 As students have been choosing classes over the last year, one question I’ve received is: how important is the teacher vs. the subject matter? In general, I argue, your own attitude is the most important factor in how well you learn. However, truly terrible teaching can make that more difficult and truly wonderful teaching can change your life for the better.

Planning Processes: Some Resources

Over the last six months some of my blog entries have highlighted plans and places. This month I turn to processes that are important in planning. This is a bit trickier than plans and places as the web presence of processes tends to be dominated by project examples and how-to instructions. It’s also hard from the web to get a sense of how processes have developed over time—for example what passes as rational comprehensive planning today, complete with numerous participatory processes and evaluation strategies, is quite different from the much criticized technical model of the 1950s and 1960s. Of course that’s a good reason to go to planning school.

Planning Faculty Blogs

One of my first posts back in 2007 dealt with planning faculty blogs (see http://www.planetizen.com/node/24748). 

Plans, Places, and Processes: Do You Need to Travel to Understand Them?

In recent blogs I have written about places and plans in many different locales and through time. Students often ask, “do I need to visit places to know about them”?

Planning History: A Few of the City and Metropolitan Plans You Should Know

Last month I highlighted some important places in the history of planning. Responding to student requests, this month I turn to plans.

Planning History: A Few of the Late 19th and 20th Century Places you Should Know

Earlier blogs have explored books and journals for finding out about the basics of planning history. In this blog I add to this by listing a just few of the places it is important to recognize as a planner. It is of course difficult to make such lists but students ask for them with some frequency. Of course, places are one thing and planning processes quite another--and in planning process is very important. Upcoming blogs will deal with plans and processes. 

Finding Information about Planning: What Do Faculty Do?

Planning students are often told to find good information. How to do that is becoming both simpler, due to various search engines and databases, and more complex, given the amount of information available.

Planning Papers and Reports: Some Tips for Students

For most planning programs in the U.S. this is the end of the semester. Having read literally hundreds of papers over the past few months I have reflected on the lessons of better papers for writing in planning.

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