CAREERS: Urban and Regional Planners
Updated: Jul 8, 2019
Urban and regional planners typically do the following:
· Meet with public officials, developers, and the public regarding development plans and land
· Administer government plans or policies affecting land use
· Gather and analyze data from market research, censuses, and economic and
· Conduct field investigations to analyze factors affecting community development and
decline, including land use
· Review site plans submitted by developers
· Assess the feasibility of proposals and identify needed changes
· Recommend whether proposals should be approved or denied
· Present projects to communities, planning officials, and planning commissions
· Stay current on zoning and building codes, environmental regulations, and other legal
Urban and regional planners identify community needs and develop short- and long-term solutions to improve and revitalize communities and areas. As an area grows or changes, planners help communities manage the related economic, social, and environmental issues, such as planning new parks, sheltering the homeless, and making the region more attractive to businesses.
When beginning a project, planners often work with public officials, community members, and other groups to identify community issues and goals. Through research, data analysis, and collaboration with interest groups, they formulate strategies to address issues and to meet goals. Planners may also help carry out community plans by overseeing projects, enforcing zoning regulations, and organizing the work of the groups involved.
Urban and regional planners use a variety of tools and technology in their work. They commonly use statistical software, data visualization and presentation programs, financial spreadsheets, and other database and software programs. Geographic Information System (GIS) software is used to integrate data, such as for population density, with digital maps.
Urban and regional planners may specialize in areas such as transportation planning, community development, historic preservation, or urban design, among other fields of interest.