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What kind of education do you need to have a career in urban sustainability?

#sustainability #education #professional

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Jaycee’s Answer

Degrees in Economics, Political Science, Environmental Design and even Geography are going to be extremely helpful when looking at a career in Urban Sustainability. Urban planners work day to day with city governments and leaders in communities as they work to make changes.

A Master's program in urban sustainability requires seminars, workshops, and laboratory courses, to help you learn to analyze and solve planning problems. Depending on what environment you are interested in, it can also be valuable to take landscaping and architectural courses.

In addition to education, getting involved in your community's sustainability efforts as you study can really help tie your education and career goals together. You will be able to make connections and find your true passions in urban planning and sustainability.

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Katherine’s Answer

Urban sustainability is a broad topic, but I'm more familiar specifically with the tasks of urban planning.

Studying GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and planning and land use are critical to understanding urban designs. You might also consider specializing in active transportation (moving people, not cars) or stormwater management and control which are both big parts of the modern sustainability movement.

Master's degrees tend to be suggested in this field, which means that you'll need a Bachelor's degree at a minimum before considering postgraduate education.

Katherine recommends the following next steps:

Consider doing some research on the American Planning Association (https://www.planning.org/) website to learn more about education requirements for these careers.
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Chris’s Answer

Purely based upon the some LinkedIn research, it looks like the many people in this career obtain a Masters degree either specifically in Urban Planning or GIS.


Prior backgrounds come from a multitude of fields like political science, economics, engineering, landscape design, and more. Since Urban Planning impacts multiple areas, you may want to consider a broad topic like Economics. It provides broad exposure to a variety of technical analysis methods while introducing you to variety of economic topics. This could range from Labor Economics, Law & Economics, Economic Development, Public Finance and much more.

Many bachelors programs allow you to focus in certain areas while also mixing in other course work like geography, sociology, political science, engineering, and more.

Hope this is helpful.

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