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Profiles of the Next Generation of Planners (2002)

PLANetizen is pleased to present profiles of three urban planners.
April 15, 2002, 12am PDT | Planetizen
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We asked several PLANetizen readers to respond to a brief questionnaire about
themselves. This week, we are pleased to offer several of the profiles of planners
we received. Thanks to Andrew, Sue & Walter for sharing their experiences
with the rest of us.


Andrew NicolName:
Andrew Nicol

Title: Senior Planner

Organization: Orange
County, Florida Planning Division

City, State: Orlando, Florida

What do you do?

I am currently involved in an industrial land use study and a zoning overlay for
SR50 in west Orange County. I also handle some transportation issues for the Planning
Division.

What is your education or background?

Bachelor of Arts in Communications, Canisius College, Buffalo NY

Master of Urban Planning, State University of New York (SUNY) Buffalo, Buffalo,
NY

What was your last job?

Job Developer for People Inc.

What was the most important project/activity you worked on in 2001?

Besides finishing my thesis and extreme home renovations? Since I was
still a "rookie" at my profession (still am) I would have to say that
the most important thing I worked on in 2001 was learning the ropes of the planning
profession. I worked on some small projects (Sector Plan reports, Land Use Amendment
research, Land Supply Monitoring research, etc...)

What as the last book dealing with urban planning you read?

Edge
City
by Joel Garreau

What is your favorite thing about planning?

Brining people together to make a place fun, livable, and viable.

Any advice to some thinking about becoming a planner?

Spend the day shadowing a private sector and a public sector planner!


Sue HendersonName:
Sue Henderson

Title: Associate

Organization: Market
Street Services

City, State: Atlanta, Georgia

What do you do?

I work as an Associate for a Community and Economic Development consulting firm
that focuses on the overall health and long-term sustainability of communities,
regions, and states. Our goals include building a community's capacity for change
management and developing strategies that address the client's current community
and economic development needs.

What is your education or background?

Bachelor of Journalism, University of Oklahoma

Master of Regional & City Planning, University of Oklahoma

What was your last job?

Director of Community Development, The City of Bethany, Oklahoma

What was the most important project/activity you worked on in 2001?

A comprehensive, sustainable strategic planning process for a large county located
along Florida's Space Coast. The county was extremely diverse and fragmented,
(geographically, politically and socially), and this was their first effort at
coming together to create a "preferred future." Over the course of six
months, we supplemented quantitative analyses with extensive community input through
focus groups and interviews. By including all factions of the community, this
process really brought the important issues "into the open," and laid
the foundation for an action-oriented plan to shape the County's future.

What as the last book dealing with urban planning you read?

Infrastructure
Support for Economic Development
, by Rita J. Bamberger, George E. Peterson,
and William A. Blazar.

What is your favorite thing about planning?

The interaction with people, and the satisfaction of having a positive impact
on an entire community that leaves it better than when you found it.

Any advice to some thinking about becoming a planner?

Whether a planner is considering the public or private sector, I would recommend
starting his or her career in the public sector. It familiarizes you with political
processes and citizen interaction, which are important skills to have, regardless
of where you work.


Walter HosackName:
Walter Martin Hosack, AICP, NCARB

Title: Deputy Director

Organization: Ohio
Department of Transportation

City, State: Columbus, Ohio

What do you do?

Develop programs, processes, projects, and information systems associated with
the planning, building, maintenance, and redevelopment of the agency's statewide
facility support system. This involves 443 sites, 1500 buildings, and a replacement
value in excess of $1 billion.

What is your education or background?

Bachelor of Architecture, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

Master of Architecture from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio (emphasizing urban
design and city planning)

What was your last job?

Director of Development in charge of planning, building, engineering, and code
compliance activities, City of Upper Arlington, Ohio.

What was the most important project/activity you worked on in 2001?

I privately wrote the book entitled, Land Development Calculations with an attached
CD-ROM entitled Development Capacity Evaluation, published by McGraw-Hill
in June, 2001. This book introduces interactive development capacity forecasting
and context measurement tools. These tools make it possible to forecast hundreds
of development options without engineering, design, or drawing prerequisites in
the time it would take to draw one, and to compare these forecasts with the context
measurement of existing areas.

What as the last book dealing with urban planning you read?

The
New Urbanism
by Peter Katz

What is your favorite thing about planning?

Using technology to make tools, build knowledge, improve skills, increase awareness,
and evaluate scenarios that have the capacity to improve the context in which
we live.

Any advice to some thinking about becoming a planner?

Planning is constantly distracted by the emotion that surrounds isolated issues,
ambiguous alternatives, and currently popular philosophies and opinions. Politics,
compromise, and a relatively uninformed legal system attempt to fill the gap when
planning choices and their implications are not clear, and decisions are often
made without the benefit of professional intuition.

Those thinking about a career in planning should recognize two of its fundamental
characteristics. There is great potential to contribute to a sustainable future.
There is also great frustration when attempting to address emotion and ignorance
with a tool set and body of knowledge that is inadequate. The current level of
planning ability is similar to early medicine where tools, knowledge and skills
were not equal to the many problems faced, and where superstition and emotion
prevailed. Medicine was, and is, not discouraged from building the tools, skills,
and knowledge needed because the objective is easily recognized. The objective
in planning is not as clear because the dust of battle obscures our vision.

Most planning efforts focus on areas within cities or regions as small as a
lot and as large as a master plan. The combined effect of these efforts influences
populations as they grow, consume land, and discharge waste. At this combined
scale, the unwritten objective of planning is the same as that for medicine -
survival. The challenge to planning is also the same as it was to early medicine.
We must fight immediate battles with inadequate knowledge and tools that produce
limited success. This limited success will compound over time while we strive
to link with others to improve this ability. Let me suggest, therefore, that our
fundamental objective is survival of the species in a context that preserves the
quality of life for all.

If you are willing to accept this mission with the inadequate tools and knowledge
of a profession in its infancy, and find the opportunity to build this profession
exciting, then planning may be the career for you.

I personally believe that we will have difficulty addressing the objective
I have mentioned, however, until we can produce reliable context measurements,
forecasts, and results at the cellular level of urban growth - the individual
lot or project area that combines to form neighborhoods, districts, cities, and
regions. This is one reason why I wrote my book, Land Development Calculations.
Planning has given me the opportunity to offer this contribution, and if contributions
and legacies appeal to you, then planning in its infancy will give you more opportunities
than you can address in one lifetime.


Would you like to be featured in an upcoming planner profile? Let
us know
.

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