Planning is a broad area of work that requires many different skills. Some town planners specialise in a particular area of work, such as protecting the historical environment or urban design, while others work across a variety of areas. A town planner make decisions about the management and development of cities, towns, villages and the countryside. Town planner aims to balance the conflicting demands of
- Industrial development
- Transport and the environment
- In order to allow appropriate development to take place.
Town planners are at the heart of regeneration, taking into account the conflicting views of business and local communities in towns and cities. In rural areas, town planner ensure that development is sustainable and that the countryside is preserved alongside development. The work of town planner also makes a positive contribution to tackling the effects of climate change.
Town Planner Typical Work Activities
- Developing creative and original planning solutions to specifications;
- Consulting with stakeholders and negotiating with developers and professionals such as surveyors and architects;
- Assessing planning applications and enforcing and monitoring outcomes;
- Researching and designing planning policies to guide development;
- Researching and analysing data about strategic developments, such as increases in affordable housing provision;
- Designing layouts and drafting design statements;
- Using information technology systems such as CAD (computer-aided design) or GIS (geographical information systems);
- Attending and presenting at planning boards and public inquiries;
- Keeping up to date with legislation associated with land use;
- Promoting environmental education and awareness;
- Helping disadvantaged groups express their opinions about planning issues and proposals, and visiting sites to assess the effects of
proposals on people or the environment;
- Scheduling available resources to meet planning targets;
- Writing reports, often of a complex nature, which make recommendations or explain detailed regulations – these reports may be for a range of groups, from borough councils to regional assemblies, or members of the public.
Town planners specialise further into several areas
Town planner can become chartered town planners by completing relevant degrees and qualifications. This qualification gives you professional recognition in
- Transport planning
- Urban design
- Environmental planning
- Development management
- Heritage and conservation
Town Planner Qualifications and Work Experience
A career as a town planner is likely to need further qualifications on top of your undergraduate degree and relevant work experience. To become a chartered town planner (which is advisable) you will need to have completed a Royal Town Planning Institute accredited degree.
If your degree is not covered by this it is still possible to qualify for chartered status by completing an accredited postgraduate degree. Having a first degree in geography is usually considered relevant for continuing to these postgraduate qualifications.
A pre-entry experience is desirable for town planners. Relevant experience could include vacation work in the planning department of a local authority or with a consultancy, work shadowing a planner, experience of dealing with the public or administrative experience, especially in a local authority. In applying for jobs in this sector you are likely to need to show evidence of the following:
- Problem-solving skills;
- Analytical skills;
- Report writing skills;
- Communication and organisational skills;
- The ability to work as part of a team and to manage an individual caseload;
- Project-management skills;
- The ability to listen to and negotiate with a diverse range of people;
- Accuracy and attention to detail;
- Flexibility, initiative and innovation;
- Creative thinking skills and the ability to come up with imaginative solutions to problems
If you are having the consideration to become a chartered town planner it may be worth becoming a student member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), which will give you access to publications and their library, membership of networks and allow you to participate in the institute’s activities. This could also assist you in finding relevant work experience alongside your degree.