Education

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
Blog post
August 27, 2008, 5am PDT

Just after 2008 began, I realized my profession of choice was dying.

I’d spent the previous seven years at Philadelphia Weekly, a fairly typical alternative newspaper: you know, magazine-style lefty bent, where-to-go-and-what-to-do listings, porn ads in the back. The usual.

Jeffrey Barg
March 9, 2008, 9am PDT
<p>The 93-year old Bronx Borough Courthouse will soon become a charter school.</p>
The New York Times
Blog post
January 11, 2008, 6am PST
The Wacker’s Manual of the Plan of Chicago: Municipal Economy, first written in 1911 as a way to educate Chicago students about the City’s Plan of 1909, provides remarkable insight into America’s diminished socio-cultural ambitions.
Mike Lydon
Blog post
May 29, 2007, 1pm PDT

With the coming of summer, students finish courses, faculty head off to do research, and practitioners think about vacations. However, for those interested in keeping up to date with academic issues in planning, a number of bloggists provide useful insights into the politics and hot issues in planning education. For students they are a window into the work of educators and for practicing planners they are an easy way to keep up to date with what’s happening in the schools.

Ann Forsyth
Blog post
March 17, 2007, 10am PDT

Information Strategies for Answering Fundamental Planning Questions

In universities in the northern hemisphere, April and May are months for completing work and moving closer to graduation. Assignments are due. Exams are looming. Students are too tired to write well and professors are too tired to notice. In the crunch for time, enterprising students look to the power of new information and communication technologies to reach out beyond their harried contexts to experts who can help them answer important questions. If Paul Davidoff (now dead) had email, they reason, he would have been happy to respond.

Ann Forsyth
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