UIC Urban Planning and Policy Student Association, 2018
 

Andres Acosta

MUPP 2013

Illinois Housing Development Authority

Market Analysis Coordinator

 

Can you describe your work and how your planning degree contributes to it?

 

I work in providing market insight into communities where developers would like to create or preserve affordable housing through any of the federal or state funding resources that my agency allocates. I not only get to find and analyze data on diverse communities, but I also get to provide analytical input into our fund allocation policy guide. This means that I use data to try and convince developers to not just develop in areas where they find an available land parcel, but also in areas that would provide the best opportunity for the low income families and individuals that would reside in those homes. Thanks to my planning degree, I know all about working with this data and understand how various planning sectors intersect and can as a result help prioritize development in areas where people can easily reach more jobs, live in a lower poverty community and access the greatest number of community amenities.

 

What do you like most about your current job or related work in planning?

 

What I like most is that I know that my work is leading toward the creation and preservation of affordable housing. Knowing that the work that I do is helping to place needed housing in appropriate communities that provide for additional opportunity for low income families and individuals is extremely satisfying. I also love that my work is constantly evolving. As I hear about new studies and data or new ideas and best practices used elsehwhere I can use that to tweak and refine our process in order better serve people.

 

What advice do you wish you had gotten as a MUPP or, conversely, what advice would you give to young planners today?

 

My advice to MUPPs would be to take advantage of the range of classes offered in the different concentrations. MUPP concentrations are all related, and as someone who focused on community development, I wish I had taken more economic development and environmental concentrations, since they interact greatly with affordable housing. This helps expose you to the different types of work being done in the planning field and helps you be a more well-rounded planner.