Why I Became a Planner Blog Series – Christy Langley, AICP
By Nate Nickel
Christy Langley, AICP is the Director of Planning & Development for the City of Noblesville. In this role she is responsible for developing a long range planning program with goals, objectives and implementation measures for the City. Additionally, she is tasked with the administration and enforcement of zoning, subdivisions, floodplain regulations, development codes, permitting, etc. She was previously the Assistant Director of Economic Development for Noblesville from 2007-2011. Before coming to Noblesville she carried out a year of service with the Neighborhood Planning Department in Sarasota County, Florida. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member with Ball State University, where she received her Bachelor of Urban Planning & Development and, afterwards, an M.P.A. from Indiana University, Bloomington. Christy was also highlighted in the Indianapolis Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” list in 2014.
What first led her to Ball State was an interest in architecture. Like many students before and after her, the first year program at BSU’s College of Architecture & Planning (CAP) exposed students to all three available disciplines: Architecture, Urban Planning, and Landscape Architecture. Christy had never even heard of urban planning before, but was deeply entranced by the human aspect of the field of study. After receiving her undergraduate degree she knew that the public sector was most likely her destination of choice and felt she needed a bit more education in public policy. This well-planned marriage that was her Master’s in Public Administration helped round out as much of a preparedness that one can gain in academia for public service. These educational experiences could not be complete without several encounters with internships. Throughout her academic career, Christy interned with the City of Indianapolis Mayor’s Office, the Indiana Association of Community & Economic Development, and 39 Degrees North (a GIS consulting firm). Each one of these experiences was quite educational in its own respect and, she believes, critical to landing her first job in the field.
Although many times at CAP she took part in juried presentations that critiqued and, quite frankly, criticized her work, nothing could quite prepare her for the public sector. She enjoys every part of her job—including the challenges which she chooses to view as opportunities—but there is no shortfall of criticism when planning in the public realm. However, to have the opportunity to literally shape communities and, in effect, shape people’s lives is worth every single bit of the grief and heartburn. Being in Noblesville and Hamilton County is a particular blessing because there is so much planning activity. With the extreme amount of continued growth, high private sector investment, and extraordinary level of community pride, there is never a dull planning moment. She believes that staying strong in the job is absolutely all about attitude and perspective and she is very proud to be a planner.
*** Thank you very much to Christy for sharing her story and submitting the material that was used in this blog post.