Spatial planning is the methods and approach used by the public and private sector to influence the distribution of people and activities in spaces at various scales. This can also be defined as the coordination of practices and policies affecting the spatial organization. Spatial planning is synonymous with the practices of urban planning in the United States at larger scales and the term is often used in reference to planning efforts in the European countries.
There are many planning systems that are existing around the world. Every form of planning largely diverges and co-evolves with societies and their governance systems. Every country in the world and states within those countries have their unique planning systems that are made up by different actors, different planning perspectives and a particular institutional framework. Though the perspectives of the planning, the actors and institutions change over time, and all these factors are influencing both the form and the impact of spatial planning.
In Northwestern Europe, spatial planning has evolved greatly since the late 1950s. Until the 1990s, the term ‘spatial’ was used primarily to refer to the way that planning should deal with more than simply zoning, land use planning, or the design of the physical form of cities or regions, but also should address the more complex issues of the spatial relationship of activities such as employment, homes and leisure uses.
Discrete professional disciplines which involve in the spatial planning include
- Land-use Planning
- Urban Planning
- Regional Planning
- Transportation Planning
- Environmental Planning
- Economic Planning
- Community Planning.
- Urban Renewal
Spatial planning has given geographical expression to the economic, social, cultural and ecological policies of society. This is at the same time a scientific discipline, an administrative technique and a policy developed as an interdisciplinary and comprehensive approach directed towards a balanced regional development and the physical organisation of space according to an overall strategy.
The major importance of Spatial Planning
Spatial planning is an important tool for promoting sustainable development and improving the quality of life. This is the method used by the public sector to influence the distribution of people and activities in spaces of various scales in order to improve the built, economic and social environments of communities.
Spatial Planning is critical to delivering economic, social, and environmental benefits by creating more stable and predictable conditions for investment and development, by securing community benefits from development, and by promoting prudent use of land and natural resources for development.
It is an important level to promote sustainable development and improving the quality of life. Spatial Planning is, therefore, becoming increasingly recognized in international policy documents.
The Career options for a Spatial Planning Graduate
One of the most popular career options for a Spatial Planning graduate is a Town planner. They are engaged in developing and managing the infrastructure of the city, town or region. Their work requires an understanding of political, social and economic factors. The main purpose of the work of a town planner is to create a city in which it will be convenient for everyone to live.
Town Planners have quite a wide range of responsibilities. One of the career options related to spatial planning but more specific is Transport Planning. Transport Planners design roads and transport infrastructure facilities, organize transportation and manage the traffic. Transport Planners also work on pedestrian systems and bikeways.
Another career option for a Spatial Planning graduate is Historic building inspection (not that common) though, in this aspect, the Spatial Planning graduate directly the preservation and restoration of historic buildings, and offer new ways of using them by taking into account the opinions of citizens. They can also participate in projects related to the preservation of the environment in the city, for example, the restoration of urban parks or gardens.
Specialists in Spatial Planning are also welcome in many other areas, for example
- Sustainability Consultancy. There are also some transferable skills received with the help of a degree in Spatial Planning, these include.
If you have a master in Spatial Planning, it will prepare you for a job as an independent and internationally recognized spatial planner in the sphere of policy, project and process management, or research. You will be able to work abroad from the local up to the European levels. With a broad perspective and a keen eye for various cultural and institutional contexts, planners are widely employed in a range of organisations. Like
- Municipalities, provinces or (trans-)national government
- Research and consultancy firms
- International profit and non-profit institutions
- Social and civil organisations
- PhD student at a university
You can visit the Utrecht University website if you want to find a job or internship in the Netherlands, knowing Dutch will get you places. If you are working within an international organisation, knowing at least some Dutch is always a benefit and in some cases even a requirement. In order to learn Dutch, free language websites such as Duolingo or Dutch Grammar can get you started.
If you want to stay in the Netherlands after your graduation, you can apply for the residence permit orientation year. This permit can be submitted within 3 years after completing your studies and allows you unlimited working rights.