UIC Urban Planning and Policy Student Association, 2018
 

Bob Fuller

MUPP 2011

Office of Ald. Joe Moore (49th Ward, Chicago)

 

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

 

I staff the committee on Housing and Real Estate in the Chicago City Council and am an aide to Alderman Joe Moore (49) who chairs the above committee and represents the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. In each role my planning degree comes in handy - research skills, policy analysis, scenario planning, and public engagement. On a daily basis I have contact with some of the smartest people in the region working on housing policy, with fiery advocates and with residents looking to improve their own situation and the community. Most important to my work is the network of excellent fellow MUPPs I built while at UIC. Please reach out to me as a resource and let me know how you can help me too!

 

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

 

I have the opportunity to work on high-level policy discussions as well as on-the-ground questions of how to make our local government work best for community members. The spice that makes this continuum of work even more exciting is the proximity to the political process. On a daily basis I have to take into account that my job and that of my boss is subject to a vote every four years. This heightens the importance of sound analysis, problem solving, communication and follow-through. The stakes are too high to afford creating plans that sit on a shelf.

 

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

For current students, take classes that diversify your skills. I am not a numbers guy but my first job out of UIC would not have been possible if I hadn't taken Development Finance. For young planners, embrace the political process. Too often I heard planners talking about politics as something that is "other" that can be avoided. Planning is an activity that involves many stakeholders collaborating and competing to shape the outcome. If done well, planning accommodates, if not embraces or shapes, political realities.