Urban and regional planning is an interdisciplinary profession that represents a wide spectrum of specialization ranging from pure design to pure social analysis. The profession concerns the maintenance and enhancement of the quality of life for people in cities and regions. It requires a multi-disciplinary approach and includes environmental planning and assessment, economics, social factors, and geography and population studies. Urban planning is a technical and political process concerned with the development and design of land use and the built environment, including air, water, and the infrastructure passing into and out of urban areas, such as transportation, communications, and distribution networks.
Urban planners deal with the physical layout of human settlements. The primary concern of an urban planner is the public welfare which includes considerations of efficiency, sanitation, protection and use of the environment, as well as effects on social and economic activities. Urban and regional planning is considered an interdisciplinary field that includes social, engineering and design sciences. It is closely related to the field of urban design and some urban planners provide designs for streets, parks, buildings and other urban areas.
Urban and regional planning is a professional that guides the orderly development of an urban area, suburban and rural areas which are predominantly concerned with the planning of settlements and communities, urban planning is also responsible for the planning and development of water use and resources, rural and agricultural land, parks and conserving areas of natural environmental significance.
Urban planners are concerned with research and analysis, strategic thinking, architecture, urban design, public consultation, policy recommendations, implementation and management. Enforcement methodologies include governmental zoning, planning permissions, and building codes, as well as private easements and restrictive covenants.
Urban and Regional Planners Duties
An urban and regional planner is a professional who works in the field of urban and regional planning for the purpose of optimizing the effectiveness of a community’s land use and infrastructure. Urban and regional planner formulate plans for the development and management of urban and suburban areas, typically analyzing land use compatibility as well as economic, environmental and social trends. In developing any plan for a community (whether commercial, residential, agricultural, natural or recreational), urban and regional planners must consider a wide array of issues including sustainability, existing and potential pollution, transport including potential congestion, crime, land values, economic development, social equity, zoning codes, and other legislation.
- Urban and regional planners work with the cognate fields of architecture, landscape architecture, civil engineering, and public administration to achieve strategic, policy and sustainability goals.
- Urban and regional planners develop and implement plans and policies for the controlled use of urban and rural land, and advise on economic, environmental and social factors affecting land use.
- Graduates of urban and regional planning can work for government agencies, land development firms, consulting firms, community service organizations and non-profits, private industry, or schools.
- Meet with public officials, developers, and the public regarding development plans and land use
- Present projects to communities, planning officials, and planning commissions
- Conduct field investigations to analyze factors affecting land use
- Assess the feasibility of proposals and identify needed changes
- Gather and analyze economic and environmental studies, censuses, and market research data
- Review site plans submitted by developers
- Stay current on zoning or building codes, environmental regulations, and other legal issues
- Urban and regional planners identify community needs and develop short- and long-term plans to create, grow, and revitalize communities and areas.
Prospect for Urban and Regional Planners
Urban and regional planners will continue to be needed to make changes to plans, programs, or regulations to reflect demographic changes throughout the nation. Within cities, urban planners will be needed to develop revitalization projects and address problems associated with population growth, population diversity, environmental degradation, and resource scarcity. Similarly, suburban areas and municipalities will need planners to address the challenges associated with population changes, including housing needs and transportation systems.
Increased focus on sustainable and environmentally conscious development also will increase demand for planners. Issues such as stormwater management, environmental regulation, affordable housing, cultural proficiency, and historic preservation should drive employment growth. Engineering and architecture firms are increasingly collaborating with planners for land use, development site design, and building design. In addition, many real estate developers and governments will continue to contract out various planning services to these consulting firms.
- As an urban and regional planner professional, you can work with politicians and developers to come up with plans. Help in conducting research and analysis to determine the type of development needed.
- Some urban and regional planners work to remediate or reduce environmental impacts of planning projects, and some work to create natural spaces, such as parks, within urban areas.
- Many urban and regional planners work with architects. Some are transportation planners, designing effective transportation systems that are also good for the community.
Some of the Urban and Regional Planners jobs we know, some include offers by organization
Job opportunities for urban and regional planners often depend on economic conditions. When municipalities and developers have funds for development projects, planners are in higher demand. However, planners often face strong competition for jobs in an economic downturn, when there is less funding for development work. Government funding issues will affect the employment of planners in the short term, job prospects should improve over the coming decade.
Employment of urban and regional planners in local or state government may suffer because many projects are cancelled or deferred when municipalities have too little money for development. Expected tight budgets over the coming decade should slow planners’ employment growth in government. Urban and regional planners will be needed to help plan, oversee, and carry out development projects that were deferred because of poor economic conditions. Combined with the increasing demands of a growing population, long-term prospects for qualified planners should be good.
- Compiling and analysing data on economic, legal, political, cultural, demographic, sociological, physical and environmental factors affecting land use
- Be a Project Manager
- Devising and recommending use and development of land, and presenting narrative and graphic plans, programs and designs to groups and individuals
- Principal Transportation Planner
- Transportation Planner
- Conferring with government authorities, communities, Architects, social scientists, Legal Professionals, and planning, development and environmental specialists
- Community Development Specialist
- Advising governments and organisations on urban and regional planning and resource planning
- Planning and Economic Development Manager
- May speak at public meetings and appear before the government to explain planning proposals
- Community Planner
- Reviewing and evaluating environmental impact reports
- Entry-Level Community Planner
- Serve as mediators in disputes over planning proposals and projects
- Senior Urban Designer
- Senior Landscape Architect
- Staying up-to-date with changes in building and zoning codes, regulations and other legal issues
- Senior Project Manager
- Transportation and Community Development
Urban and Regional Planners Typical Employers
Most of the urban and regional planners worked for state and federal governments; real estate developers; nonprofit organizations; and consulting firms. Planners work throughout the country in all sizes of the municipality, but most work in large metropolitan areas. Urban and regional planning graduates can take up careers in planning, design and development, as well as in areas such as transport, economic development, urban regeneration and environmental consultancy. Private planning and environmental consultancies also employ urban and regional planning graduates to advise organisations and individuals on specific planning schemes.
- Housing associations
- Large retail business
- Neighbourhood planning organisations
- Transport organisations (e.g. airports)
- Private developers
- Utility companies.
- Working in the charity and non-governmental organisation (NGO) sectors with environmental, conservation and heritage organisations.
Skills for Urban and Regional Planners Curriculum Vitae
Studying urban planning allows you to develop specialist knowledge in town and regional planning, providing you with a range of professional skills such as:
- Design and placemaking
- Knowledge of planning law and legislation
- Finance and policy development
- Strategic thinking
- Analytical research
- Making a reasoned argument
- Professional report writing and presentation
- Partnership working and collaboration.
Analytical skills. Urban and regional planners analyze information and data from a variety of sources, such as market research studies, censuses, and environmental impact studies. They use statistical techniques and technologies such as geographic information systems (GIS) in their analyses to determine the significance of the data.
Communication skills. Urban and regional planners must be able to communicate clearly and effectively because they often give presentations and meet with a wide variety of audiences, including public officials, interest groups, and community members.
Decision-making skills. Urban and regional planners must weigh all possible planning options and combine analysis, creativity, and realism to choose the appropriate action or plan.
Management skills. Urban and regional planners must be able to manage projects, which may include overseeing tasks, planning assignments, and making decisions.
Writing skills. Urban and regional planners need strong writing skills because they often prepare research reports, write grant proposals, and correspond with colleagues and stakeholders.
Urban and regional planners use a variety of tools and technology in their work, including geographic information systems (GIS) that analyze and manipulate data. GIS is used to integrate data with electronic maps. For example, planners use GIS to overlay a land map with population density indicators. They also use statistical software, visualization and presentation programs, financial spreadsheets, and other database and software programs. Credit
Types of Urban and Regional Planners
Land use and code enforcement planners: They are concerned with the way land is used and whether development plans comply with codes, which are the standards and laws of a jurisdiction. These planners work to carry out effective planning and zoning policies and ordinances. For example, a planner may develop a policy to encourage development in an underutilized location and to discourage development in an environmentally sensitive area.
Transportation planners: They develop transportation plans and programs for an area. They identify transportation needs and issues, assess the impact of services or systems, and anticipate and address future transportation patterns. For example, as growth outside the city creates more jobs, the need for public transportation to get workers to those jobs increases. Transportation planners develop and model possible solutions and explain the possibilities of planning boards and the public.
Environmental and natural resources planners: They attempt to mitigate the harmful effects of development on the environment. They may focus on conserving resources, preventing the destruction of ecosystems, or cleaning polluted areas.
Economic development planners: They focus on the economic activities of an area. They may work to expand or diversify commercial activity, attract businesses, create jobs, or build housing.
Urban design planners: They strive to make building architecture and public spaces look and function in accordance with an area’s development and design goals. They combine planning with aspects of architecture and landscape architecture. Urban design planners focus on issues such as city layout, street design, and building and landscape patterns. Credit