What Does An Urban Planner Do?

Urban PlannerHave you ever wondered who was responsible for making certain decisions that directly affect your community? Who decided to open the new city park down the street? Who gives the ok for the new big box retailer that is currently under construction? Decisions such as these were most certainly made by an urban planner. Urban planning remains a mystery to many people that are unfamiliar with the field and the nature of the work involved. Urban planning is still a fairly new occupation, but it is expected to grow about 10% from 2012 to 2022. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of an urban planner is $65,230 per year.

What Does An Urban Planner Do?

An Urban Planner serves as an advocate for the community and makes plans with the best interest of the community in mind. The ultimate goal of an urban planner is the successful functionality of a community. They are usually involved with land use and code enforcement, transportation, environmental and natural resources, economic development, and urban design. According to the American Planning Association, some duties of an urban planner may include:

  • Plan for parks, open space, and community facilities
  • Study and analyze transportation trends and implement transportation plans that are parallel to the needs of the community
  • Create programs to attract jobs to the community
  • Ensure affordable housing, manage the amount of single-family and multi-family homes within a community, and work on policies that affect the price of housing within a community
  • Work to ensure that there is adequate sewer and water services for a community

Work Environment

Most urban planners work for the city or state government. Some work in rural areas but the majority of planners work in cities. Urban planners also have to be team players, because they are required to collaborate with real estate developers, non-profit organizations, architects, and other parties that may be relevant to the growth of a community. They usually work during normal business hours, but may occasionally attend community meetings that may be held in the evenings and on weekends.

Related Resource: Jobs With A Degree In Social Science

How Do You Become An Urban Planner?

Most urban planners possess a master’s degree in urban and regional planning. Most master’s programs for this field focus on building analytical, communication, and problem solving skills. These skills are essential to your success in this field. Urban planners are only required to have a license in New Jersey, and register as a community planner in Michigan. Just a master’s degree will suffice in all other states.

Urban planners are responsible for many of the important aspects that help a community run efficiently. Too often are these details overlooked as we go throughout our day. Many times we drive by a new subdivision without giving a second thought to who was behind the decision to grant real estate developers the permission to start on the project. Urban planners are just what their name suggests, and their job is to plan for the future of our communities.