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    You have probably chosen AGAIN, one of the most popular and redundant forum topics to appear on Land8Lounge in the last few years. My suggestion is just do a topical search and you will find all the commentary and guidance you seek here with your inquiry. Within all that feedback, you will find a couple of prevailing polarities of opinion. I have been and still remain in the camp of :

    DON’T DO IT ….at least for right now…..

    No matter what regal, over-praised and over-rated MLA program you are enamored with, they all will cost you a small fortune and the yield at-the-end, will be measured in milligrams. I’m sure you have been paying attention, but in case you are in la-la land, the national economy is creeping, inching it’s way back and job creation in our field or the related design professions is just not happening at a rate, that even two years from now, will be able to absorb all fresh graduates. That trend, is almost indisputable.

    You may want the cheery advice of just “follow your passion” or some other feel-good pablum, but here is a bitter but better form of nutritional advice.

    Finish your present degree. Take it with you to an urban area that offers graduate or even  legitimate and approved (not LAAB – as of yet I believe certificate programs in Landscape Architecture (think UC Berkeley or UCLA) . Get a job, any job, related to this profession that you can make a living wage off of. Get as much diversified experience and real-world exposure and training as you can muster. At least two years maybe three. While your accumulating that, test the academic waters and take some related advance courses that will help supplement and strengthen what you are learning with your OJT (on-the-job training).

    You might even discover along the way that you might be more interested in an allied profession, be it environmental/urban planning or even, dare I say it, engineering or business related. A very attractive design professional, particularly in the landscape architecture or architecture professions, are those with graduate training in the environmental sciences, sustainable engineering and construction and design management concentrations. 

    Or you can be tens of thousands of dollars in the hole (or someone else who funded your academic quest will be) and have very little to show for it when you get the sheepskin and you toss your mortarboard into the air. You will be able to pick that article off the ground, but getting on your feet with a job related to this field will be a far more difficult achievement without solid work experience. 


    Well Mr. Radice, most of the other comments so far are spot-on so I will not be a redundant Captain Obvious here. But since you asked for opinion and design point-of-view (some will give that the relative value of the common orifices we all share alike…) I will state that:


    • this drinking establishment looks like it was taken right out of the “pattern book” for kitsch, catalogue based pubs to be placed in so-called “lifestyle (just whose lifestyle anyway ?) centers. This place has to be in the ‘burbs.
    • The fenced-off outdoor dining corral looks very  respectful of design guidelines or code driven requirements. We could learn a lot from the more experimental and avant-garde design and built street parking/parklets that San Francisco has made semi-famous and certainly trendy (New York, the City of Angels and Philly are latecomers. Finally, Portland and Seattle are not at the front of the pack of taking audacious chances like that !!)
    • What happened during design review, if there was even such a process….?  If there was, how was this mishmash missed ?
    • I believe the fireplug was placed where it is situated for not only being close to a building that might look better with some burn marks but also in case the line inside the men’s bathroom was too long on a busy night.
    • And finally, whomever the landscape architect/site planner/architect is that was responsible for this minor league travesty, well a two week banishment to a gulag might get them to think things over and not do this again.



    A profoundly simple and powerful thought.


    Imagine trying that time-worn and proven method first and then converting to a digitally expressive form of communication when idea is more worked out, has a bit of a luster and client buy-in.


    What a concept.


    Mr. Anthony:

    The old fart music is playing in the background as I write this. Sage advice from an able and proven practicioner. I could not have stated it any better myself.

    I have been away from this site for quite sometime, but may be making some impromptu, drive-by postings from time-to-time in the not so near future.

    For now, praiseworthy words. Amen, brother and pass the ammunition and Glenlevit while your at it.



    The previous postings are all filled with the kind of sound and supportive advice and guidance I would offer, but why repeat it ?

    Mr. Garulay and Radice are spot on with their suggestions and I would (from recent experience) underscore Texas and principally four main cities in it where if you can re-establish yourself and aggressively form your own network ( I know rolling into any new city and knowing where to plug-in is a little intimidating, but if you make the right contacts someone or many someones will be willing to keep you in mind or refer you onward)  you have a better than decent chance of landing a position….I momentarily digress…..

    HOUSTON,  Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Austin.  The first city is where most of the hiring directly and indirectly related to our fields is and has been going on over the last six months. Yes, there are jobs open in Austin, but that is where everybody else who, if they had to live in Texas, would chose over any other, Try a more civil-oriented firm in any of those cities if conventional LA/Planning firms are not hiring. If you can add AutoCAD Civil 3D to your digital quiver of proficient skills, you will enhance your desirability greatly. Include REVIT and you can name your price.

     As you probably know by now, most of the upper and middle midwest states (Illinois,Michigan and Ohio being the exceptions) have been the least shaken up by the Great Recession. Yeah, I know, who wants to live in Omaha or Fargo, ND……….but there are jobs there and in our fields or ones directly related to it. 

    I would reverse the order of the four cities mentioned above in terms of desirability, culture, academic opportunities, recreation and the music scene. 

    I second the others statements about having to “step out of your comfort zone” and snag your first job that will give you the grounding and “hand-up” to reach the next one, perhaps in a better locale. 

    The overall employment scene in the AEC industries in our country is very spotty right now and there are no real “hotspots” where planning and design jobs abound and are going unfilled. If the so-called “housing recovery” sputters out again (there is a very high likelihood of that happening) and it turns out to be a secondary bubble/bulge that bursts…. all bets are off. 

    I hope this helps. Keeps us posted on your progress. 


    The must sees are the obvious and not-so:




    • Balboa Park- allow  1 1/2 days
    • San Diego Waterfront-around convention center and linear park
    • Gaslamp District and PetCo Field
    • Wild Animal Park (Escondido)
    • Old Town
    • Little Italy



    • Mission Trails Regional Park
    • La Jolla Cove
    • Downtown Solano Beach/Encinitas
    • The great brewhouse near San Marcos with the award winning (ASLA) outdoor dining area and associated landscape.
    • UCSD

    That should take care of a full week or more for you.




    Just saw this ad. This firm has carved out a very respectable niche in the Central Coast of California by doing exceptional and very environmentally grounded work. They would offer you a great work experience but in one of the most expensive places to live in California. The wages will not match up.




    Bear in mind that SoCal is already flooded with unemployed or underemployed CalPoly SLO and Pomona grads, all very good programs that put out mostly capable and versatile talent. The job market is just beginning to return and you will find the headwinds of competition to be stiff.





    I have been missing in action here for quite sometime, but wanted to give you some recommendations, since I practiced, both in public and private settings in San Diego in almost another previous existence.


    The recommendations Ms. Rupel gave you are very sound and stand up firms, whether they are hiring is a completely different story. I still have mostly family and a few scatttered friends in San Diego, and I can tell that from an economic standpoint, things are SLOWLY regrouping themselves there. That region is certainly farther ahead in overall job creation (including construction and related segments-read OUR OWN) than say the inland empire (i.e. San Berdu’ and Riverside) which remains devastated.


    I would offer up the premium firm of Spurlock-Poirer in San Diego. You would work your tail off but be immersed in projects that you otherwise would rarely have a shot at. WRT in San Diego is another possibility. Ask MauiBob about his time there.

    Most of what you will find in SoCal are contract (limited term) job opportunities that may last a project or two and if you are an award winning star on those projects, you may last longer.

    The only LA based firm that I can think of that you might want to look into is IMA. They are top flight, with a bit of an attitude, but they earned it.

    I would be a bit careful of the “Office of anyone” let alone James Burnett, who is no slouch of an outfit by any standard. I just always find that title to be a little more than self-serving egotism, no matter how much talent resides behind the name. Mr. Radice is correct to point out that the Office of James Burnett does advertise, from time to time, for positions, mostly in Solano Beach, a great place to work and live if you can swing it. Just keep in mind, they advertise on an irregular basis, which is indicative of two things an increasing workload, or a stable workload and that they churn through a lot of people.

    Good tidings in your search.




    I have several very powerful tutorial packages for SketchUp, 3dsMax, Photoshop for Architectural Rendering and Digital Painting and the like…. even Revit 3D Visualization …. 

    I would be happy to make them available but two cautionary notes:

    • These are all large files (half gig to above 1 gig) and would require a large cloud file transfer (i.e. JustSendIt) and 
    • Most if not all of these have been acquired from torrent sites and therefore are not exactly legit. 

    Take it from there.


    Be prepared for the following if you take an entry level job in China:

    • immense culture shock
    • working at turbo to warp speed and the expectation that you do whatever it takes and spend however long to get that done
    • working on projects that are beyond anything in scale and size that you will find here
    • finding that your chinese equivalent, with a few rare exceptions cannot draw freehand and lack any basic graphic skills. Everything is digital to them. 
    • If you do get a job, you will receive nothing more than a 6 month commitment (contract) If they like you and perform well, you will be kept. 

    If your ungainfully unemployed right now….. consider your options…they are very limited.


    Craig: This was a more than healthy dialogue and I hope those that were “Drive-by” spectators and those that “stepped in it” got something from the back and forth and the yin and the yang of it all. By last count there were over 2500 “hits” so that means this topic did get some significant attention. 

    I am with you, shoulder-to-shoulder. I just hope we can unify around whomever our new leader will be and our representatives can actually, represent our common will and good, and do the same. 

    I will wrap  the forum up tomorrow (or the next day) with a unbiased (as much as I can) summary of what I think was valuable in this discourse and what we might take away from it. 



    I thought you (and maybe a few others here at Land8Lounge and those that have frequented this particular forum) might find this an interesting exercise. The Christian Science Monitor has too many knowledge quizzes to count, but this one regarding the past economic performance of presidential administrations was particularly eye-opening to me. It opened my eyes, because I thought I knew a lot already and that my knowledge base was accurate. I was way off and barely scored above half right on the correct answers. 

    There are 53 questions and it might take more time than you like, but if you think the current administration has the worse economic performance on record, take this exam you’ll think differently next time.



    Here is Frank Bruni from the NYT basically promoting what you wrap up with in your comment above. No matter who wins, can we just give whomever the victor is the necessary grace period and support to put whatever their programs and initiatives are to right our economy in motion and let  them sink or rise on their own merits ? (Yeah, Jason the former restaurant review critic again….)

    Or will we get to edge of the approaching “fiscal cliff”, paralyzed by partisan wrangling and intransigence and make an already intractable situation, that much more severe ? 

    That is the real choice before us as a nation, and the people we elect to give us representation for the common good and interest, namely the Congress. Whom without a moderate, cooperative and willing middle-ground, will neuter the next President, no matter who they may be. 



    You quoted one of my all time anti-hero, great social commentarian and immensely talented musician. I would have voted for Frank Zappa if he ran for any office, anywhere, anytime.

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