Education

Blog post
July 3, 2010, 10am PDT

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. 

Ann Forsyth
Blog post
May 16, 2010, 6pm PDT

Tomorrow morning, I'll don a long black robe, a funny-looking hat and an atrocious brown hood to cap off an adventuresome journey through planning school. Almost two years ago, I decided to leave a healthy career in journalism to enter a field that, by contrast, might still have careers a decade from now. It's been 21 months of angst, overwork, undersleep, and hours-long battles with American FactFinder. And it's been completely, totally worth it.

Here are a few of the best lessons learned from two hard-fought years of planning education.

Jeffrey Barg
Blog post
May 10, 2010, 7pm PDT

As planners, we try to live the urban lifestyle, minimize our carbon footprint, and even grow our own vegetables.  I once saw a colleague wearing a button which read “Riding transit is sexy.” Lose the car, bike or walk to work. Hey, if you’re adventurous, you can even take the bus. But this is easier said than done. I’ve lived in New Haven, Boston, Philadelphia, and now Miami. And as every year passes, I find it more and more challenging to cling to my planning ideals.

 

Melissa Hege
February 22, 2010, 10am PST
Efforts to desegregate schools in the 1970s weakened neighborhood ties. Now, a return to school assignments based on where children live could make communities stronger.
Crosscut.com
Blog post
January 5, 2010, 9am PST
“Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter: -isms in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism; he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon: ‘I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.’ A good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off of people.”
—Ferris Bueller
Jeffrey Barg
Blog post
November 9, 2009, 5am PST
My classmate was up in front of everyone, flapping and flailing, pleading his case and getting shot down at every turn. It was a bit like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

It was also kind of like looking in the mirror.

I’m just more than halfway through a planning school studio project working on the beautiful (no, really) Lower Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. They’ve teamed up about 15 planner/urban designers with about 45 landscape architects, who, as I mentioned last time, are reasonably bonkers. That was about a month and a half ago; since then, I’ve begun to think maybe I’m the one needing a room with padded walls.

Jeffrey Barg
October 14, 2009, 2pm PDT
Megan Lavalley may be the youngest planning commissioner ever, appointed to serve in Manchester, Vermont beginning Oct. 22nd.
The Manchester Journal
September 8, 2009, 7am PDT
Why the decision to host the next G-20 summit in Steel City is a good one.
Forbes.com
July 12, 2009, 5am PDT
Budget issues are causing major issues for a handful of states. Neal Peirce argues these budget woes are a sign that states are making the wrong investments and that they idea of a state may be out of date.
Citiwire
June 28, 2009, 11am PDT
Already a national leader in green building and looking to expand its leadership, the Los Angeles Community College District is launching several collaborative efforts to train a new, green workforce.
The Planning Report
Blog post
April 15, 2009, 6pm PDT

With just two weeks to go in my second semester, I like to think that I know just about everything about being a planning student by now. But when 100+ prospective students came to our campus open house last week, an easy question stumped me:

“What about drawing?”

At first I thought she was asking if she needed to have an art background coming into school. A thousand times, no. But instead she was looking to learn how to draw as a planner, which is a much trickier proposition.

Jeffrey Barg
Blog post
March 12, 2009, 12pm PDT

There’s just one problem with academia. Sometimes it can be so … academic.

In the interest of getting out into the world, I’m writing this post from Nawlins (nee New Orleans), where 16 other Penn planners and I are spending our weeklong spring break doffing our tops for beads and booze doing pro bono city planning work. For most of us, it’s been nothing short of a paradigm shift—and the week ain’t over yet.

Jeffrey Barg
Blog post
January 18, 2009, 7am PST

On Friday, in the first week of my second semester of planning graduate school, we did the hokey-pokey. We put our right foot in, put our right foot out, put our right foot in, and then we shook it all about. We turned ourselves around. That was what it was all about.

The demonstration was all about pointing out common ground and how people were rooted in order to approach problem solving and conflict resolution. It sounds a little squishy, I know. But it got the point across, and more important, it introduced the dance to one international student who had never heard of the hokey-pokey.

Jeffrey Barg
Blog post
December 21, 2008, 12pm PST

Four months, thousands of pages and $60 worth of printing later, my first semester of planning school is over.

Really? That’s it?

Not that I was understimulated. Plenty of big assignments kept me up later than my girlfriend would’ve liked. But in the working world, four months isn’t that long—it’s a big project, a new initiative. In grad school, apparently, it’s reason enough to take a month off.

So without any further ado, a few highlights and lowlights from the first semester. Not too many lowlights, though. A few of my professors read this blog.

Jeffrey Barg
Blog post
December 1, 2008, 7pm PST

Most of the time it’s not that hard to kind of forget that I’m a grad student. It often feels like a long, ongoing conference, but without nametags: We hear speakers (sometimes known as professors), have long lunch breaks, do exercises, then retire to the bar at night to talk about all of it.

More similarities: None of our classrooms would be mistaken for hotel conference centers, but a bunch of them are windowless and characterless. People are cordial, but also kind of angling for a job. Everybody’s friendly, and sometimes, people hook up.

Then reality comes crashing down like a pile of books: oh yeah. Exams. We have to take those.

Jeffrey Barg
Blog post
November 14, 2008, 7am PST

Hey, have you heard we’re all screwed?

Last week Penn hosted the “Reimagining Cities: Urban Design After the Age of Oil” conference. If you were there, or if you read the liveblog of the event, you saw speaker after speaker tell of the doom and gloom facing the planet. Climate change! Carbon emissions! Decaying infrastructure! Nine billion people! In the words of the classical philosopher Shawn Carter, we got 99 problems, but a bitch ain’t one.

Frankly, it’s all a little depressing.

Jeffrey Barg
November 2, 2008, 7am PST
City Limits breaks down the differences between the two presidential candidates with a focus on urban issues.
City Limits
Blog post
November 1, 2008, 7am PDT
Recently I’ve been writing about skills that planners need—the findings from surveys of employers and the key role or writing in the planning skill set. Skills like writing, graphics, data analysis, and the ability to listen are obviously important. As Ethan Seltzer and Connie Ozawa’s 2002 survey found, however, several more general skills are also key. I reported these in an earlier blog and they include: working well with the public and with colleagues, being a self-starter, being able to finish work on time and on budget, and understanding public needs.
Ann Forsyth
Blog post
October 16, 2008, 9am PDT

The answer is: “Because people today would rather not work and instead just sit at home collecting welfare checks.”

And the question? If you guessed, “What should you not say in a room full of city planning students?”, congratulations! You win. We would have also accepted, “FDR began a ton of new federal programs during the New Deal. As long as we have a $700 billion financial bailout, what programs would you enact or not enact as part of a New Deal today?” Thanks for playing. We have some lovely parting gifts for you.

Jeffrey Barg
Blog post
September 11, 2008, 10am PDT

This week will be my first full week of classes at MIT; however, I have actually been here for three.  I arrived into Cambridge at the end of August to attend the weeklong department orientation, which was as orientations are – full of very important yet-easy-to-forget information. Alone, the pressure of learning nearly 65 names can induce periodic episodes of amnesia. 

Tamika Camille Gauvin