Urban and Regional Planners

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Also known as:
City Planner, Community Development Planner, Regional Planner, Urban Planner

ABOUT URBAN OR REGIONAL PLANNER CAREERS
Video transcript

What will the cities of the future look like? And how must today's cities transform themselves to meet the future's demands? Answering those questions is the fascinating work of urban and regional planners. They promote the best use of a community's land and resources for residential, commercial, institutional, and recreational purposes. They develop short-term and long-term plans to provide for the growth and renewal of all kinds of areas, from rural to urban.

Their expertise is used by government officials and citizens to make decisions about social, economic, and environmental issues. This is a field that requires preparation with college studies, often a graduate degree, and a knowledge base in a particular aspect of planning, such as architecture or agriculture.

Planners need to keep abreast of economic and legal issues involved in zoning codes and environmental regulations. They frequently attend evening and weekend meetings or public hearings with citizens' groups. They use computers to record and analyze information and to prepare reports.

Good oral and written communication skills are essential. It helps to be a good negotiator too, because one thing that's certain about the future is that people won't agree about what it should look like.

SNAPSHOT
Develop comprehensive plans and programs for use of land and physical facilities of jurisdictions, such as towns, cities, counties, and metropolitan areas.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
MED
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
MED
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
MED
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Identify opportunities or develop plans for sustainability projects or programs to improve energy efficiency, minimize pollution or waste, or restore natural systems.

Develop plans for public or alternative transportation systems for urban or regional locations to reduce carbon output associated with transportation.

Review and evaluate environmental impact reports pertaining to private or public planning projects or programs.

Evaluate proposals for infrastructure projects or other development for environmental impact or sustainability.

Recommend approval, denial, or conditional approval of proposals.

Create, prepare, or requisition graphic or narrative reports on land use data, including land area maps overlaid with geographic variables, such as population density.

Advocate sustainability to community groups, government agencies, the general public, or special interest groups.

Assess the feasibility of land use proposals and identify necessary changes.

Discuss with planning officials the purpose of land use projects, such as transportation, conservation, residential, commercial, industrial, or community use.

Determine the effects of regulatory limitations on land use projects.

Coordinate work with economic consultants or architects during the formulation of plans or the design of large pieces of infrastructure.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Developing Objectives and Strategies Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Geography Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
Communications and Media Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Transportation Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Sociology and Anthropology Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
TOP SKILLS
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Systems Analysis Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.