Are Planners Studying the Planning they Envisioned?: Alumni Experiences in Planning Education


Fundamentally, higher education spaces are sites of imagined promise. This promise of higher education works at multiple levels. For this paper, we look at this promise at two levels – the promise that learners in these spaces buy into when they access higher education and the promise that these spaces hold for larger societal development, and if they are met. The world over these promises are particularly relevant to the fields that broadly fall into the space of ‘professional education’. In the current paper, we focus on Planning education, particularly. Our work is built on the premise that lived experiences and the actions they impel are important in understanding how practice is engendered. In doing so, the work hopes to shed light on the ways in which the ideals of equality and equity are ‘made sense of’ through the voices of participating alumni from leading planning education sites. We also looked at how the subject positions of our respondents changed over time which provided insight into how higher education choices are negotiated, professional identities are created in aspirational and negotiated spaces, and whether the planners get the opportunity to practice the planning they envisioned. In doing so the paper will provide insights and potential direction on policy for higher education spaces with an eye on how these travel into the world of work and the emergent practice in planning.