Urban and regional planning is all about development of landuse plans and programs that help can create communities, accommodate population growth, and revitalize physical facilities. The urban and regional planners work full time during normal business hours, and some of them may work evenings or weekends to attend meetings with officials, planning commissions, and neighborhood groups.
The urban and regional planners employments are projected to grow 11% over the next 10 years, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demographic, transportation, and environmental changes will drive employment growth for planners.
Urban and regional planning deals with the identification of community needs and develops short- and long-term solutions to improve and revitalize communities and areas. As an area grows or changes, planners help communities manage the related economic, social, and environmental issues, such as planning new parks, sheltering the homeless, and making the region more attractive to businesses.
What are the Duties of Urban and Regional Planners
- Meet with public officials, developers, and the public regarding development plans and land use
- Administer government plans or policies affecting land use
- Gather and analyze data from market research, censuses, and economic and environmental studies
- Conduct field investigations to analyze factors affecting community development and decline, including land use
- Review site plans submitted by developers
- Assess the feasibility of proposals and identify needed changes
- Recommend whether proposals should be approved or denied
- Present projects to communities, planning officials, and planning commissions
- Stay current on zoning and building codes, environmental regulations, and other legal issues
Within cities, the urban and regional planners will be needed to develop revitalization projects and address issues associated with population growth, environmental degradation, the movement of people and goods, 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 covering larger areas with less population density.
Careers Related to Urban and Regional Planning
Geographers study the Earth and the distribution of its land, features, and inhabitants. They also examine political or cultural structures and study the physical and human geographic characteristics of regions ranging in scale from local to global Most geographers work full time during standard business hours. Many geographers do fieldwork, which may include travel to foreign countries or remote locations.
Geographers need a bachelor’s degree for most entry-level positions and for positions within the federal government. Work experience and a master’s degree are typically required for more advanced positions. Employment of geographers is projected to grow 3 percent over the next ten years, slower than the average for all occupations. Geographers should face strong competition for jobs, as the number of candidates is expected to exceed the number of available positions.
Duties of Geographers
- Gather geographic data through field observations, maps, photographs, satellite imagery, and censuses
- Conduct research via surveys, interviews, and focus groups
- Create and modify maps or other visual representations of geographic data
- Analyze the geographic distribution of physical and cultural characteristics and occurrences
- Collect, analyze, and display geographic data with Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
- Write reports and present research findings
- Assist, advise, or lead others in using GIS and geographic data
- Link geographic data with data pertaining to a particular specialty, such as economics, the environment, health, or politics
Geographers use several technologies in their work, such as GIS, remote sensing, and global positioning systems (GPS). Geographers use GIS to find relationships and trends in geographic data. These systems allow geographers to present data visually as maps, reports, and charts.
For example, geographers can overlay aerial or satellite images with GIS data, such as population density in a given region, and create digital maps. They then use the maps to inform governments, businesses, and the general public on a variety of issues, such as developing marketing strategies; planning homes, roads, and landfills; and responding to disasters.
Types of Geographers
They examine the physical aspects of a region and how they relate to humans. The study features of the natural environment, such as landforms, climates, soils, natural hazards, water, and plants. For example, physical geographers may map where a natural resource occurs in a country or study the implications of proposed economic development on the surrounding natural environment.
They analyze the organization of human activity and its relationships with the physical environment. Human geographers often combine issues from other disciplines into their research, which may include economic, environmental, medical, cultural, social, or political topics. In their research, some human geographers rely primarily on statistical techniques or quantitative methods, and others rely on nonstatistical sources or qualitative methods, such as field observations and interviews.
Economists collect and analyze data, research trends, and evaluate economic issues for resources, goods, and services. Most economists need a master’s degree or Ph.D. However, some entry-level jobs primarily in the federal government are available for workers with a bachelor’s degree. Employment of economists is projected to grow 8 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations. Job prospects should be best for those with a master’s degree or Ph.D., strong analytical skills, and experience using statistical analysis software.
Duties of Economists
- Research economic issues
- Conduct surveys and collect data
- Analyze data using mathematical models, statistical techniques, and software
- Present research results in reports, tables, and charts
- Interpret and forecast market trends
- Advise businesses, governments, and individuals on economic topics
- Recommend solutions to economic problems
- Write articles for academic journals and other media
Economists apply both qualitative and quantitative economic analysis to topics within a variety of fields, such as education, health, development, and the environment. Some economists study the cost of products, healthcare, or energy, while others examine employment levels, business cycles, exchange rates, taxes, inflation, or interest rates.
Economists often study historical trends and use them to make forecasts. They research and analyze data using a variety of software programs. They sometimes present their research to various audiences. Many economists work in federal, state, and local government.
Federal government economists collect and analyze data about the U.S. economy, including employment, prices, productivity, and wages, among other types of data. They also project spending needs and inform policymakers on the economic impact of laws and regulations.
Economists working for corporations help managers and decisionmakers understand how the economy will affect their business. Specifically, economists may analyze issues such as consumer demand and sales to help a company maximize its profits. Economists also work for international organizations, research firms, and think tanks, where they study and analyze a variety of economic issues. Their analyses and forecasts are frequently published in newspapers and journals.
Landscape architects spend much of their time in offices, where they create designs, prepare models, and meet with clients. They spend the rest of their time at jobsites. All states require landscape architects to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state but usually include at least a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from an accredited school, internship experience, and passing the Landscape Architect Registration Examination.
Employment of landscape architects is projected to grow 4 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Planning and developing new commercial, industrial, and residential construction projects and redeveloping existing landscapes are expected to drive employment growth.
Landscape architects design attractive and functional public parks, gardens, playgrounds, residential areas, college campuses, and public spaces. They also plan the locations of buildings, roads, walkways, flowers, shrubs, and trees within these environments. Landscape architects design these areas so that they are not only easy to use but also harmonious with the natural environment.
Duties of Landscape Architects
- Meet with clients, engineers, and building architects to understand the requirements of a project
- Prepare site plans, specifications, and cost estimates
- Coordinate the arrangement of existing and proposed land features and structures
- Prepare graphic representations of plans using computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software
- Select appropriate landscaping materials
- Analyze environmental reports on land conditions, such as drainage and energy usage
- Inspect landscape project progress to ensure that it adheres to plans
- Seek new work through marketing activities or by giving presentations
Landscape architects use various technologies in their work. For example, using CADD software, landscape architects prepare models of their proposed work. They present these models to clients for feedback and then prepare the final look of the project.
Many landscape architects also use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) which offer GPS coordinates of different geographical features. This helps landscape architects design different environments by providing clues on where to start planning and how to anticipate future effects of the landscape, such as rainfall running into a valley.
Cartographers and Photogrammetrists
Cartographers and photogrammetrists collect, measure, and interpret geographic information in order to create and update maps and charts for regional planning, education, and other purposes. Cartographers and photogrammetrists spend much of their time in offices, certain jobs require extensive travel to locations that are being mapped.
Most cartographers and photogrammetrists need a bachelor’s degree in cartography, geography, geomatics, or surveying. Employment of cartographers and photogrammetrists is projected to grow 15 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations. Job prospects are likely to be excellent due to the increasing use of maps in government planning.
Duties of Cartographers and Photogrammetrists
- Collect geographic data
- Create visual representations of data, such as annual precipitation patterns
- Examine and compile data from ground surveys, reports, aerial photographs, and satellite images
- Prepare maps in digital or graphic form for environmental and educational purposes
- Update and revise existing maps and charts
- Plan aerial and satellite surveys to ensure complete coverage of the area in question
- Collect and analyze spatial data, such as elevation and distance
- Develop base maps that allow Geographic Information System (GIS) data to be layered on top
Cartographers and photogrammetrists use information from geodetic surveys (land surveys that account for the curvature of the Earth’s surface) and remote-sensing systems, including aerial cameras and satellites. Some also use light-imaging detection and ranging (LIDAR) technology.
LIDAR systems use lasers attached to planes or cars to digitally map the topography of the Earth. Because LIDAR is often more accurate than traditional surveying methods, it can also be used to collect other forms of data, such as the location and density of forests.
Cartographers and photogrammetrists also create maps and perform aerial surveys for governments, to aid in urban and regional planning. Such maps may include information on population density and demographic characteristics. Some cartographers and photogrammetrists help build maps for government agencies for work involving national security and public safety. Accurate maps help emergency responders provide assistance as quickly as possible.
Political scientists usually conduct research in one of the following areas: national politics, comparative politics, international relations, or political theory. Often, political scientists use qualitative methods in their research, gathering information from numerous sources. For example, they may use historical documents to analyze past government structures and policies.
Political scientists also rely on quantitative methods to develop and research theories. For example, they may analyze voter registration data to identify voting patterns. Political scientists study a wide range of topics such as U.S. political parties, how political structures differ among countries, globalization, and the history of political thought.
Duties of Political Scientists
- Research political subjects, such as the U.S. political system and foreign relations
- Collect and analyze data from sources such as public opinion surveys
- Develop and test political theories
- Evaluate the effects of policies and laws on government, businesses, and people
- Monitor current events, policy decisions, and other related issues
- Forecast political, economic, and social trends
- Submit research results by giving presentations and publishing articles
Political scientists often research the effects of government policies on a particular region or population, both domestically and internationally. As a result, they provide information and analysis that help in planning, developing, or carrying out policies.
Most political scientists need to complete either a master’s or Ph.D. program. To be admitted to a graduate program, applicants should complete undergraduate courses in political science, writing, and statistics. Applicants also benefit from having related work or internship experience.
Survey researchers design and conduct surveys for different research purposes. Surveys for scientific research cover various topics, including government, health, social sciences, and education. For example, a survey researcher may try to capture information about the prevalence of drug use or disease.
Some survey researchers design public opinion surveys, which are intended to gather information about the attitudes and opinions of society or of a certain group. Surveys can cover a wide variety of topics, including politics, culture, the economy, or health.
Duties of Survey Researchers
- Conduct background research on survey topics
- Plan and design surveys, and determine appropriate survey methods
- Test surveys to make sure that people will understand the questions being asked
- Coordinate the work of survey interviewers and data collectors
- Account for and solve problems caused by nonresponse or other sampling issues
- Analyze data, using statistical software and techniques
- Summarize survey data, using tables, graphs, and fact sheets
- Evaluate surveys, the methods underlying them, and their performance to improve future surveys
urvey researchers may conduct surveys in many different formats, such as interviews, questionnaires, and focus groups (in-person, small group sessions led by a facilitator). They use different methods to collect data, including the Internet, mail, and telephone and in-person interviews.
Some researchers use surveys to solicit the opinions of an entire population. The decennial census is an example of such a survey. Others use surveys to target a smaller group, such as a specific demographic group, residents of a particular state, or members of a political party.
Researchers survey a sample of the population and use statistics to make sure that the sample accurately represents the target population group. Researchers use a variety of statistical techniques and analytical software to plan surveys, adjust for errors in the data, and analyze the results.
Market Research Analysts
Because most industries use market research, these analysts are employed throughout the economy. Most analysts work full time during regular business hours. Some work under pressure of deadlines and tight schedules Most market research analysts need at least a bachelor’s degree. Some research positions may require a master’s degree. Strong math and analytical skills are essential.
Market research analysts research and gather data to help a company market its products or services. They gather data on consumer demographics, preferences, needs, and buying habits. They collect data and information using a variety of methods, such as interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, market analysis surveys, public opinion polls, and literature reviews.
Duties of Market Research Analysts
- Monitor and forecast marketing and sales trends
- Measure the effectiveness of marketing programs and strategies
- Devise and evaluate methods for collecting data, such as surveys, questionnaires, and opinion polls
- Gather data on consumers, competitors, and market conditions
- Analyze data using statistical software
- Convert complex data and findings into understandable tables, graphs, and written reports
- Prepare reports and present results to clients and management
Analysts help determine a company’s position in the marketplace by researching their competitors and analyzing their prices, sales, and marketing methods. Using this information, they may determine potential markets, product demand, and pricing. Their knowledge of the targeted consumer enables them to develop advertising brochures and commercials, sales plans, and product promotions.
Market research analysts evaluate data using statistical techniques and software. They must interpret what the data mean for their client, and they may forecast future trends. They often make charts, graphs, infographics, and other visual aids to present the results of their research.
Culled from College Grad | Urban and Regional Planners Jobs and Career