Our team talked to Matthew Adair a senior planner at Neighborhood Design Center. Matthew’s path to planning started with an undergrad degree in History from OSU. He then worked with Ohio Senators and got to see how policy can help people especially people in low income areas. He then went back to OSU for a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning. He then got his current job as a planner at Neighborhood Design Center.
Matthew decided to become a city planner because he likes policy making and social justice. Plus, he says he loves cities because the building of a city involves the history of that city. He also said that city planning is such a broad topic that covers technology, transportation, public spaces, housing, art, and more.
Matthew is happy with his job at Neighborhood Design Center a non-profit. His job is mostly working on ArcGis and writing recommendations for city policies. He says that it is unique being the only planner at his workplace, as he is a senior planner right out of school. The recommendations he creates are less about land use and involve the human aspect of planning. This involves data mining, emailing, outreach, and designing opportunities for the public to get into the planning process.
His favorite aspect of planning is that it combines hard data with graphic design. This means that about to be analytical and creative which makes the job more complex. Planning is also great because it involves explaining graphically complex to people of all backgrounds. For example Matthew just finished recommendations for active transportation that included restructuring intersections to make people more important.
His least enjoyable aspect of being a planner is that planners only can make recommendations so there plans can go used. This idea with the addition that policies take so long to make impact means that it takes a long time to see your work have any results.
Our meeting with Matthew was a great insight into planning and allowed the team to reflect on our own interests related to planning.