From Manhattan’s sky-high grid to the tangled sprawl of Los Angeles, urban and regional planners play a key role in making sure cities become more connected communities rather than concrete jungles. Urban and regional planners develop plans for how land will be used, and oversee complex projects that help accommodate population growth while retaining—or revitalizing— functional communities. The zoning policies they administer have an impact not just on historic buildings, but also on the environment, housing, transportation, and more. Using statistical techniques, field investigations, and technology, urban and regional planners gather and analyze data to understand the current and future needs of their local area. They develop plans to address the needs they uncover… from planning new parks and schools to meet anticipated growth, or sheltering the homeless, to making changes that might attract business development. Urban and regional planners present their project proposals to communities, officials, and planning commissions. Their recommendations help guide decision makers to consider all the factors involved in a new project. Most urban and regional planners work for local government. They may work evenings or weekends to attend meetings with neighborhood groups, and frequently leave the office to inspect proposed development sites. Urban and regional planners need a master’s degree from an accredited planning program to qualify for most positions.
What they do:
Develop comprehensive plans and programs for use of land and physical facilities of jurisdictions, such as towns, cities, counties, and metropolitan areas.
On the job, you would:
Design, promote, or administer government plans or policies affecting land use, zoning, public utilities, community facilities, housing, or transportation.
Advise planning officials on project feasibility, cost-effectiveness, regulatory conformance, or possible alternatives.
Create, prepare, or requisition graphic or narrative reports on land use data, including land area maps overlaid with geographic variables, such as population density.
Safety and Government
law and government
Arts and Humanities
Math and Science
sociology and anthropology
movement of people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
talking to others
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
choose the right type of math to solve a problem
People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Computer aided design CAD software
Trimble SketchUp Pro
Geographic information system
ESRI ArcGIS software
Geographic information system GIS software
master's degree or bachelor's degree usually needed