Urban Planning Jobs

This area involves information about urban planning jobs including what type of tasks urban planners do and where they are employed.

What is Urban Planning?

Urban/regional planning is an interdisciplinary process of developing long-term and short-term plans for land use and community growth or revitalization. It takes into consideration residential, commercial, institutional, industrial and recreational purposes.

What is an Urban Planner and what do they do?

Urban and regional and city planner are titles often used interchangeably dependent upon the geographic area. Urban and regional planners think, listen, map, and create solutions for environmental, social and economic issues in the region. Some responsibilities include:

  • help local officials make decisions concerning social, economic, and environmental problems.
  • promote the best use of a community’s land and resources
  • make recommendations about public transportation systems
  • They address land-use issues, traffic congestion, air pollution, pollution control, wetland preservation, forest conservation, or the location of new landfills. Planners need to keep abreast of economic and legal issues and ensure that builders and developers work within these current codes and regulations.

    Most planners have a regular 40 hour work-week and attend evening or weekend meetings. Deadline pressure, tight work schedules and political pressure are common ingredients for urban planners.

    What do qualifications do urban planners generally need?

    Excellent problem-solving skills and the ability to think “outside-the-box” are strengths of a professional urban planner. Urban planners need to think in terms of spatial relationships and visualize the impacts of plans and designs. Planners need to balance various viewpoints. They need to be excellent communicators, able to work independently and as part of diverse teams.

    What do urban planners study in their courses?

    Undergraduate degrees in earth sciences, law, sociology, architecture, demography, economics, health administration, geographic information systems, finance, and management are valuable foundations. Computer modeling and statistics are very important. Some universities offer a bachelor’s degree in urban planning.

    A master’s degree in architecture, landscape architecture, or civil engineering, is good preparation for entry-level planning jobs. Most entry-level jobs require a master’s degree from an accredited program in urban or regional planning or a related field.

    What types of tasks may urban planners do in their job?

    Planners report on the current uses and anticipated trends for the community in terms of employment, economics, land use, facility construction, location and capacity of roadways, water and sewer lines, schools and residences. Planners use computers to record and analyze information and to map or design projects. Planners travel to inspect facilities and land to base their proposals on first-hand data whenever possible.

    In the course of performing their duties, planners may

    · confer with land developers, civic leaders, and public officials,

    · mediate community disputes,

    · prepare material for community relations programs,

    · speak at civic meetings.

    What areas of specialization may urban planners choose?

    A wide range of special interest areas are offered by planning institutions. Environmental planning, land use planning, economic development, housing, historic preservation, community development, transportation, or urban design are most common.

    What types of companies employ urban planners?

    Urban and regional planners work in state or federal agencies dealing with housing, transportation, or environmental protection. Local governments need planners for managing population growth issues such as: roads, sewer systems, fire stations, schools, libraries, and recreation facilities. Some teach or conduct research at universities.

    A wide range of companies have interest in the architectural, engineering, or management skills of urban planners. Some planners work independently as consultants and serve a broad geographic region with their specialty and expertise.