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Best pathway towards learning how to do excellent urban planning research?

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#1
Hi all. I have a Bachelor's in Anthropology and Mathematics, and am doing Master's (currently) in Statistics.

I'm on the pathway to being a data scientist but in my free time would love to apply my anthropology and data science training to the field of Urban Planning/Public Policy and be an excellent analyst.

Is a graduate degree a must for doing excellent, cutting-edge research in this field?

Also I'm not very clear on the differences between how good policy research and good planning research is done as they both involve strategies towards how to best develop the local environment for the satisfaction of the locals.
 

Raf

As Featured in "High Times"
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#2
I am just responding so I don't have to see "excellence" in planning research.
 

dvdneal

Cyburbian
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#3
Hi all. I have a Bachelor's in Anthropology and Mathematics, and am doing Master's (currently) in Statistics.

I'm on the pathway to being a data scientist but in my free time would love to apply my anthropology and data science training to the field of Urban Planning/Public Policy and be an excellent analyst.

Is a graduate degree a must for doing excellent, cutting-edge research in this field?

Also I'm not very clear on the differences between how good policy research and good planning research is done as they both involve strategies towards how to best develop the local environment for the satisfaction of the locals.
I would say a grad degree is a must. If nothing else, for the academic credibility. For the field planners, it doesn't matter as much. As Raf gently implied, actual planners have very little time for research. They're too busy making actual things happen. I tend to be a little jaded on the subject because I had professors who I swear never did a real days work in their life. All to often research takes a broad brush across several cities and that just can't be done. There are too many variables like political realities, culture of the city, and more, but research is your thing so don't let me get you down.

I'd say there is a difference between policy research and planning research. Policy is just that. How does the policy affect the city or people Planning talks more about how anything affects the built environment or how the built environment affects people. I would recommend looking into your colleges public administration department. It's a broader base than planning and a good start if you want to head down that path.
 
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