Editor's Note

Hey there, urban thinkers! Planning Times is back this month with another issue to keep you on the hook for some fascinating concepts and developments in the planning fraternity! The last time we released an issue on the different types of future cities. If you didn't get to read that, you can read about Types of Future Cities here.

This time, we are coming back to our planning education system in India. We received an overwhelming response after our second newsletter on Market Value of a B.Planner in India, and requests so cover admission process and related information for a person/ student looking forward to pursuing B.Planning. So in this issue we will be talking about the very commonly asked questions by students who have just completed their 12th-grade schooling, and are looking to opt for planning as a future career. Kindly share the link with our potential and budding planners or anyone whom you feel will be benefited with this information.

As a planner, many of my friends, friends of friends, aspiring students, and family members too, keep asking me the same questions again and again. "What really is B.Planning? What do urban planners actually do as professionals? I am interested to pursue B.Planning, but I'm not sure which college to apply to."

Since these questions keep getting repeated every time, and since I keep repeating the same answer, we thought that it would be a good idea to consolidate all those queries and create an issue that answers all the similar queries regarding B.Planning in India. So, if you are a student, who wants to pursue B.Planning or even a professional from another discipline who wants to know about B.Planning, then do read on, and find out what is so captivating about our planning profession!

In this issue

We have picked up four of the most common questions every planner usually gets when they are asked about B.Planning. We've tried to briefly capture all the points you need to know about each question and have also linked some detailed articles within each answer. These questions include:

  1. Skills and Qualities of an Urban Planner
  2. Admission process and colleges offering Urban Planning Education in India
  3. Why become an Urban Planner and the challenges faced
  4. What after B.Planning?

We hope this issue adds clarity to your knowledge about B.Planning in India. And do not hesitate to tell us your views about the newsletter, the content, and our mascot Terra the Turtle.

Hope you enjoy the issue and stick with us till the very end!

Karthik Girish  

Theme of the Month

1. Qualities that say you are an urban planner! (Top 7)

You might be a person who wants the roads wider to create better access in your neighborhood. You might be a person who wants to make more open spaces in your area for children and the elderly. You might feel that you have the sense to make your city develop in a more efficient and better way. But, what could this possibly mean? Does this mean you have what it takes to be an urban planner? Is it possible for you to make a career just out of these thoughts and interests that you have?

Don't get me wrong. It's absolutely fine if you haven't thought about these things before jumping and making a career decision. Take my case for example. I never thought about any of the above before choosing planning as a career option. To be completely honest, I never considered developing and providing for the city, to begin with. But, I did possess some qualities that gained my interest in this field. When I discovered that my qualities can be used to help the city, I was beginning to fall in love with urban planning. These qualities are subtle but can prove to be very useful when trying to learn urban planning.

So, you want to know what these qualities are? Here are 7 qualities that you might possess, that hint urban planning is a career for you!

i) You feel responsible for the issues in your neighborhood/residential area and want to resolve them
Whether it's trying to imagine a dedicated parking space or a simple waste management system for your locality, you want to think of efficient ways for your neighborhood to function. Having these qualities can definitely be useful when it comes to providing solutions for similar issues in and around the city.

ii) You wish to help poor people and provide for them
This is one of the most interesting qualities. Providing for the disadvantaged and urban poor is one of the most discussed issues in planning. If you have already begun thinking about these before making a career choice, trust me, urban planning is the way to go.

iii) You like talking to people to understand their issues
Communication helps build stronger relationships. And only if you can communicate with people, will you be able to understand what their struggles are. Communication is the first step in planning to create involved and inclusive communities.

iv) You are interested in cities and their history
This would come in handy as it would help to understand how the city evolved and would give you a fair idea as to where the city is moving towards in the future.

v) You like to meddle with data, conduct analyses, and do research
Most planners lack this quality. If you have an interest in having a collection of dusty papers and archives, with graphs, and numbers, that will help you to identify issues in the city, welcome aboard!

vi) You want to represent your work through maps
The point says it all. If you like drawing maps, be it geographical maps to show where you want to locate a new city, or just plain mind maps to show off your idea, planning is the way to go.

vii) You want to conserve and preserve green spaces, natural areas, heritage, culture, etc.
This is also another very interesting quality to have as a planner. Most planners try to bring in new spaces, but trying to make do with what you have is also something that you must possess.

Do you have any of the above qualities? If you do, Maybe you should blind pick urban planning. You'll thank me later!

Karthik Girish  

2. So, you want to study B.Planning in India..., this is how you start!

Are you amongst those handfuls of people who decided to pursue their career in Bachelor of Planning? Possibly being a science student, engineering would not have interested you and so you planned to give JEE (Main) paper 2 instead of JEE (Main) paper 1. Probably this was the time when you got to know about the existence of this exam JEE (Main) paper 3. And since you just missed a chance to get into Architecture you would have landed in the Planning field. Does this sound relatable? Well, that’s what happened to me and many others in the field.

When you look for urban planning colleges, you will realize that it's a small list. Only a handful of colleges offers planning education. If you read about the Bachelor of Planning Course you will understand that this field is an ocean full of knowledge. It comprises everything starting from learning theory to their practical implementation in studios, interaction with various people, site visits, and much more. While these are the front activities you get involved in, you would never notice how you would develop other qualities (such as communication skills, team spirit, etc.) gradually over time. You can read about the B.Plan Admissions at School of Planning & Architecture (SPA), Delhi [2021] to get an overall understanding of the typical admission procedure for a B.Plan course.

Planning is an interesting course which is gaining popularity and acceptance steadily. While a few platforms like Planning Tank (Yes, us ;) and we are a proud and oldest contributor to the field) and students from the field are working on creating more awareness among the people and various organizations, the reach stays limited due to a finite number of working hands. Due to the lack of awareness & understanding about the course, future prospect of planning is not lucrative in the short run. There is a lack of jobs in cities even though there is a large need for planners. Scope & income of planners is relatively less in India as compared to other several countries as of now.

However, if you wish to bloom in the industry then ‘Experience’ is the key. Planning will be challenging for a long time (5-6 years) but if you enjoy challenges & find them interesting. The best part about planning is that it is not restricted to any subject and cannot be confined by any person other than yourself. It allows you to grow and gives you a space to define your own boundaries.

Nancy Grover  

3. Why should you be a planner today?

You might agree with me that at some point in time, almost all of us struggle to choose a career field and find out a way that might lead us to success in our professional lives. While going ahead with your career, you might be confident about a particular field, but your mind might still hunt for the reasons to justify your choice. So, if you are the one thinking about your career in Planning and looking out for some benefits and challenges of being a planner, then you should know that while this is a profession with struggle, there are various reasons and infinite benefits you would enjoy as a Planner.

So, why should you choose to be a Planner in today’s world? Here are 5 reasons that might be able to persuade you to go on with your choice of being in this profession.

a) Planners as Knowledge Workers: A Planner deals with a lot of information at each and every stage of work s/he is involved in generating, interpret, and trade it in the form of knowledge. Thus, a planner plays various roles of being a knowledge generator, knowledge consumer, and knowledge broker depending on the kind of work s/he is involved in. This quality is unique to the Planning profession which no other can possess.

b) Planning as an uncommon profession: Planning is a largely unknown profession, there is very high probability you haven't heard about it. So, if you wish to stand out in a crowd and if your interests are served by what this field has to offer, then Planning is the perfect call for you.

c) Planning as a profession impacting several lives: Various decisions involved in planning impact millions of lives directly and indirectly. Decisions made by Planners who are sensitive to ethics and consider the views of various stakeholders lead to the development of people, their communities and in turn results in the growth of the Nation.

iv) Planners as Professionals with many hats but with its own struggles: Planning is a field that never confines an individual with a particular type of knowledge and skill set. It offers a wide variety of areas one could be interested in ranging from sociology to economics to core planning subjects and so on. Things improved, and they are on the path to improvement but there are struggles which remains for a lot of planners.

v) Planning as a profession with Endless Possibilities: Planning profession is a hidden gem which cannot be limited by any person and can be defined by no boundaries. This is something that makes this profession a unique one because it never defines a height for you to fly and rather gives you a space for your own experimentation.

Nancy Grover  

4. What do you do after B. Planning?

Just like any other graduation degree, you have got two choices to opt after B. Plan – either you can go for a job or you can pursue higher studies. Planning is an emerging career with a golden future. Jobs can vary widely in private, government, and non-government organizations. Development authorities and Town & Country Planning Departments of state government are also among the major recruiters. As a graduate after B. Plan, your salary could be anywhere between 3 LPA-5 LPA. You may read specifically about Market Value of a B.Planner in India which we covered in detail in our second issue.

Since Planning is a multidisciplinary field, you could also go for higher studies Master’s in various other fields apart from planning. Though there are various factors on which the market value of a planner depends but getting a Master’s done will help you get expertise in a much more focussed field relating to your area of interest and leads to better chances of getting a good job. As a postgraduate with an M. Plan degree, you could get offers in the range of 4.5 to 10 LPA. So, B. Plan actually opens up more doors and provides you with endless possibilities to achieve, it depends on the choice of an individual what s/he wants to settle for. You can read about (Urban Planner salary in India) in general as well to take an informed decision.

If you are skeptical about the profession and would like to explore more combinations with B.Plan or diversify you skill sets, here is what we would recommend you to read Dare to look beyond the traditional setup – Learn, Unlearn, Diversify, Adapt.

Nancy Grover  

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