Urban or Regional Planner

Urban and regional planners develop plans and programs for the use of land. They use planning to create communities, accommodate growth, or revitalize physical facilities in towns, cities, counties, and metropolitan areas.

 

Sample of Reported Job Titles

Planner, Community Development Planner, Planning Director, Neighborhood Planner, City Planner, Community Development Director, Regional Planner, Airport Planner, Building, Planning, and Zoning Director, Community Planning and Development Representative

 

Summary

Planning is a systematic, creative way to influence the future of neighborhoods, cities, rural and metropolitan areas, and even the country and the world. Urban and regional planners use their professional skills to serve communities facing social, economic, environmental, and cultural challenges by helping community residents:

  • Develop ways to preserve and enhance their quality-of-life;
  • Find methods to protect the natural and built environment;
  • Identify policies to promote equity and equality;
  • Structure programs to improve services to disadvantaged communities, and;
  • Determine methods to deal effectively with growth and development of all kinds.

Urban and regional planners do many types of jobs and are involved in almost any kind of government or private activity which seeks to affect the future or respond to community change. The majority of planners work in traditional planning areas such as land use, environmental protection, economic development, transportation, community design, housing, and social planning. However individual planners can still have a wide variety of responsibilities within these broadly defined specialities. Other planners work in less traditional areas, often with people from other disciplines, such as healthy communities or energy development or school planning.

Many planners specialize. The following are common types of urban and regional planners:

Land use and code enforcement planners are concerned with the way land is used and whether development plans comply with codes, which are the standards and laws of a jurisdiction. These planners work to carry out effective planning and zoning policies and ordinances. For example, a planner may develop a policy to encourage development in an underutilized location and discourage development in an environmentally sensitive area.

Transportation planners develop transportation plans and programs for an area. They identify transportation needs or issues, assess the impact of services or systems, and attempt to predict future transportation patterns. For example, as growth outside the city creates more jobs, the need for public transportation to get workers to those jobs increases. Transportation planners develop and model possible solutions and explain the possibilities to planning boards and the public.

Environmental and natural resources planners attempt to mitigate the harmful effects of development on the environment. They may focus on conserving resources, preventing destruction of ecosystems, or cleaning polluted areas.

Economic development planners focus on the economic activities of an area. They may work to expand or diversify commercial activity, attract businesses, create jobs, or build housing.

Urban design planners strive to make building architecture and public spaces look and function in accordance with an area’s development and design goals. They combine planning with aspects of architecture and landscape architecture. Urban design planners focus on issues such as city layout, street design, and building and landscape patterns.

 

Educational Requirements

Most entry-level jobs in Federal, State, and local governments require a master's degree from an accredited program in urban or regional planning or a related field. A bachelor’s degree in mathematics, economics, geography, political science, or environmental design is especially good preparation.

 

Median Salary 2012

$72,780

 

Want to know more?

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning

Bureau of Labor Statistics-Urban & Regional Planners

O*NET-Urban & Regional Planners

 

Get Connected

Belonging to professional organizations & LinkedIn groups can provide you with networking, informational interviewing, & job shadowing opportunities, as well as assist you with finding internships and jobs.

American Planning Association

International Urban & Regional Planning LinkedIn Group

Urban Planning LinkedIn Group

List of Professional Organizations

The Career Connector for Purdue College of Science Students & Alumni

 

Get Experience

American Planning Association

Research & Internship Listings

 

Find a Job

Job Search Sites Related to Your Major

 

Information retrieved from http://weusemath.org/?career=urban-planner, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Life-Physical-and-Social-Science/Urban-and-regional-planners.htm#tab-1, http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/13-1081.02

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