What is your current job and how did your planning degree prepare you for it?
I am currently an Associate with Baum Realty in Chicago. I manage a portfolio of properties over 600,000 SF and I am responsible for the analysis within the portfolio. I also work to maximize efficiency when utilizing space and I help in consulting clients on how tenants can fit within a building/shopping center. Urban Planning allows you to look at how people live and interact with their environment. This helps in recognizing trends within the marketplace. A brief example is the higher prevalence of mixed-use infill retail projects within Chicago, which has a direct correlation to an increasing number of younger working professionals wanting to live in an urban environment. Examples include Block 37, New City Development, and Harper Court.
I had internship experience with Cushman & Wakefield, the Village of Wilmette, Montgomery County Economic Development Department in Ohio, and Topografis, an urban planning design firm in Chicago.
Why did you choose to study urban planning?
I was always drawn to real estate. I like taking a step back and looking at problems in the big picture. I want to have an impact on built space. Urban planning served as a solid foundation for my interests.
What advice would you share with someone who is considering a career in urban planning?
Consider the difference between the public and private side of urban planning. Explore both through college/internships. Also take classes in other majors related to urban planning. I'm biased, but one example is finance. Illinois has a real estate segment in their finance department and both urban planning and real estate finance are deeply connected.