I know a few LA/Planners. AICP is a cool credential to have behind your name, a good friend of mine (who is a planner) says it stands for “Any Idiot Can Plan”.
Planning is an interesting subject. There are many professions that recognize the importance of good planning in our built environment but we take many different avenues to arrive at that conclusion. My guess is most of the people here became aware of planning from a design or physical point of view.
But as your earlier posts allude to, planning is as much a political and economic process as it is a design exercise. I think that in the political arena is where Planners really show their merit. There are lots of people who can come up with a cool design for an urban district, but there is a lot of meeting, hand shaking, finagling and B.S.ing that has to take place in order to bring a large urban project to reality.
I’m interested in becoming AICP one day, but you have to have 4 years of experience in a related field if your degree isn’t in planning and the test is pretty formidable. So it’s a few years out for me.
I noticed you’re from U of I, Champagne is a pretty attractive town itself, I was there in the fall a few years ago, amazing fall color (to someone who grew up in Mississippi anyway). Cool Campus as well.