The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning
Brad Potter

Name: Brad Potter
Undergraduate Major: Environmental Studies, GIS Certificate
Hometown: Colorado

How did you discover urban planning?
Working as a GIS Analyst, I sat in on many conversations with planners that revolved around issues on carrying capacity, land and resource management, regulations and policy. While attending those meetings, I began asking questions, posing ideas, and thinking beyond spatial data. I was told “You think more like a planner, not the typical GIS professional”. After doing some exploration in the greater umbrella of planning and the possible job opportunities that paralleled with my passions, I was hooked.

Why did you choose the MCMP program at U of Utah?
As the population and popularity of the American West continue to grow rapidly, enlarging the human imprint of development and transformation; placing the West at risk of losing the very qualities that make it so unique and desirable today. I wanted to learn how I could better serve small town and resort communities that face these challenges today and in the near future. The MCMP program at the U is at the forefront of setting their students up for success by providing them with appropriate analytical techniques and processes, community engagement, and ecological thinking to evaluate actual problems shaping the geographies of the American West. This program also allowed me to be in immediate access to the majestic mountains and vast desert landscapes to explore and love so much. 

What are your career goals?
Growing up in the west, I am no stranger to the stressors and challenges facing the metropolitan to mountain town areas in the region. With the skillset and knowledge, I will gain through the MCMP program at the U, coupled with my background in GIS. I hope to work as a small-town/resort or open space planner in the public sector. My interests lie within the small towns that face big city problems, green infrastructure, federal land management, and tourism. 

What would you tell prospective students about the MCMP program?
Reach out and ask us. If you have an interest in planning or urban design, we would love to hear from you and help answer any questions you have regarding the program to living in Salt Lake City. 

Tell us one thing most people don’t know about you.
After working with a Parks and Open Space Dept in Colorado, I bought and converted a Sprinter van for which would serve as my home fulltime and hit the open road. Over the next two years, I traveled all around the west, visiting national parks, public lands and climbing as much as possible; I even spent a summer commercial Salmon fishing in Alaska. Then, I went to grad school at the University of Utah – sadly I am no longer living in the van fulltime.