Town Planners Area of Expertise and Responsibilities
A town planners role is to give the big picture and to relate the project to various goals and guidance, such as ordinances or design review, to make the last project that meets the needs of the community. This might include the right design, environmental considerations, support for the local economy, or fair access for all members of the community.
Town planners are responsible for knowing state and federal legislation, the court rulings that relate to the project, plans, or guidance. The town planners are responsible for providing technical knowledge to the projects. In complex projects, a developer will likely consult his or her own legal experts.
Why do Town Planners Plan
Watch the shot video of the American Planning Association’s Planning Conference in New York City, American Planning Association members shared their passion for a career that makes better places for everyone.
Town Planners full Responsibilities and Expertise
Research and Data Analysis
Town planners may conduct research and gather data from a variety of sources, including economic development or market research studies, from census reports, or from environmental studies. The town planner tests assumptions about the meaning and importance of the data by using a variety of technologies. One common tool used in town planning is Geographic Information Systems (GIS), which links data and electronic mapping.
Other tools may include scenario building visualization tools, electronic polling systems, financial analysis spreadsheets, and demographic databases. Town planners prepare reports on their findings and analysis. Often, they will offer alternatives for policymakers to consider. Writing and synthesis skills are necessary for this part of the job.
Reports and Representations
Town planners do presentations, the presentations are made by mid-level staff, department heads, or the planning director. Town planners often give presentations to the city council, business groups, neighborhood groups, and professionals. The presentations place the specific project or issue in the context of the community’s plans and guidelines for development and change.
Town planners must be proficient in using PowerPoint and other visual technologies to present information and ideas in planning. Presentation skills are very important for private sector planners who have to present projects at various stages to clients, officials, or the public.
This is another important skill for town planners, especially for those working in the private sector. The town planners manage a variety of projects from neighborhood planning programs to the design and development of a new bike path to larger scale projects. The town planners also oversee grant programs, such as historic preservation or community development block grants.
Town planners must engage in more lengthy processes of public participation. In these projects, the town planners will call upon their skills as a facilitator working with a broad spectrum of community members. These processes have become very creative and the planners often use exercises, charrettes, visualization techniques, and group work in the development of the plan.
The public sector planners offer reports to the commission and offer support to the public meeting. Private sector planners present projects to the commission. It is not uncommon for a town planning attorney to present proposals to the planning commission or, on occasion, to provide legal counsel to the planning commission. Other evening meetings may include meetings of neighborhood groups or boards, such as a historic preservation review board.
Culled from American Planning Association Website | Choosing the Planning Profession