Urban planner

Urban planner
Urban Planner
Names urban planner
Activity sectors architecture
real estate development
urban planning
civil engineering
Competencies critical thinking, analytical thinking, problem-solving, communicating effectively, working with social, economic and environmental issues
Education required see

An urban planner or city planner is a professional who works in the field of urban planning/land use planning for the purpose of optimizing the effectiveness of a community's land use and infrastructure. They formulate plans for the development and management of urban and suburban areas, typically analyzing land use compatibility as well as economic, environmental and social trends. In developing their plan for a community (whether commercial, residential, agricultural, natural or recreational), urban planners must also consider a wide array of issues such as sustainability, air pollution, traffic congestion, crime, land values, legislation and zoning codes. The importance of the urban planner is increasing throughout the 21st century, as we begin to face issues of increased population growth, climate change and unsustainable development. An urban planner could be considered as a green collar profession.

Urban planners are usually hired by developers, private property owners, private planning firms and local/regional governments to assist in the large-scale planning of communal and commercial developments, as well as public facilities and transportation systems. Urban planners in the public role often assist the public and serve as valued technical advisors in the myriad web of the community's political environment. Related disciplines include regional, city, environmental, transportation, housing and community planning.


Urban planners by country

United States

Planners in the U.S. typically complete an undergraduate or graduate degree from a University offering the program of study. Professional certification is only offered through the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), a branch of the American Planning Association. To gain AICP certification, a planner must meet specific educational and experience requirements, as well as pass an exam covering the nature and practice of the discipline. Although AICP certification is not required to be a practicing planner, it does serve as a means in which a planner can verify his or her professional expertise.

New Zealand

A professional postgraduate Masters in Planning degree from an institution accredited by the New Zealand Planning Institute [1] is required to become a professional planner. The University of Auckland and the University of Otago have good reputation for their Planning programs. Graduates are employed by many planning and planning-related agencies in the public and the private sectors, including district and regional councils, urban development, regional health authorities, the Department of Conservation, the Ministry for the Environment, and urban design consultancies. New Zealand planners are recognized internationally with many working in UK, Australia, USA, and other developed and developing countries.

United Kingdom

Those wishing to be a town or country planner, in the United Kingdom, first must complete a degree in a relevant discipline and then complete a final year in the form of a masters in town and country planning which must be accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), or a four year degree encapsulating all aspects. they can then become eligible to be a member of the RTPI, but must first complete two years work based training, to be a full member.

Town planners in the UK are responsible for all aspects of the built environment, wherever you are within the UK a town and country planner will have at sometime planned the built aspects of the environment. They (Local Planning Authorities) grant planning permission (consent) to individuals, private builders and corporations and also aid local government with their decisions.


Professional urban planners are recognized by the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP). The CIP represents a membership of approximately 7000 planning professionals across Canada. Urban planners in Canada usually hold bachelor's degrees in planning or a Master's degree typically accredited as an M.Pl, MUP (Master of Urban Planning) MCP (Master of City Planning), MScPl or simply an MA. Planners primarily work in the public service and the private sector, in a wide variety of fields including land use planning, environmental resource management, land development, heritage conservation, social planning, transportation planning and economic development. [2]


Urban planners in Australia typically graduate from a Planning Institute Australia (PIA) certified course provided by universities across all states and territories. Such courses are generally Bachelors degrees of four years duration, although there are also Masters degrees and Postgraduate Diplomas available.


Urban planners in Mexico typically graduate from an Architecture background provided by major universities in the country. Most of such degrees can be awarded at Masters' graduate studies, although there are also Bachelors degrees available.


Urban planners in Greece typically graduate from Engineering faculties. Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and University of Thessaly are the two universities that provide undergraduate studies in urban planning in Greece


With diversification and changes to the planning scene, a planner's scope of work have also underwent changes. Interestingly, there is a trend towards the increasing specialisation of planners. The list includes, but is not limited to,

All planners deal with land use, space and place, but provide different viewpoints towards the planning of the built environment. For instance, in planning for a neighbourhood centre, the economic development planner would suggest locations that are economically viable and would be subjected to a steady flow of potential customers. He or she would analyse statistics and projections like the floor-space needed, where the customers are to be drawn from, location of competitors and so forth. The urban designer will come in and suggest principles that make the neighbourhood centre 'liveable', including how to ensure safety in design, design guidelines for developers, and so forth. The infrastructure and transport planner would ensure the efficient provision of basic infrastructure services, including water, electricity and sewerage needed for the smooth running of the businesses, as well as plan for basic public transport services or delineate out cycling paths.

Education and training

See Urban planning education for a discussion of this topic.

See also

External links

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