Ann Forsyth's blog

Ann Forsyth is professor of Urban Planning at Harvard University.
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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.

Planning History: The Basics

Planning history is often taught in the first semester of planning programs. However, many students find that their interest increases with time and that with more knowledge they have more questions. Below I list some basic books and journals for finding out about planning history. In an upcoming entry I will discuss important plans, places, and programs that the historically literate urban planner should at least recognize.

Two books typically set in planning history introductory courses in the United States are an easy place to start:

Looking for Employment: Tips from A Recent Graduate

Students nearing graduation are wondering about employment. Some already have jobs lined but many do not. While it is good to start looking, best advice is to graduate first as finishing up after you have a job almost always creates a lot of stress and bother. Previous blogs have covered Finding a First Job in Planning, Tips on Gainful Unemployment for New Planners, and Defining the Planning Skill Set based on surveys of employers and graduates. Anna Read, a recent graduate from Cornell’s MRP program who found employment right away last year, has passed along these tips from her own experience:

Images for Planners: More Resources

Some time ago I noted a number of terrific image resources for urban planners. This blog highlights some additional sources.

Urban and Regional Mysteries: Not so Guilty Pleasures

With vacations upon us many students have been asking me what they should read over the winter break. Certainly it is possible to catch up with planning classics and thought-provoking books and several earlier blogs have highlighted these options. However,for those wanting to escape and learn something as well, a number of mystery authors write books that both investigate crimes and evoke a sense of place. The following list highlights just some of this range—there are hundreds more of course (and if you scroll for the bottom you will find links to other lists).

Planning Experience before Graduate School?

The short answer to the question about whether someone needs professional or activist planning experience before graduate school is yes!

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