Urban Planner Job Description & Titles

Cities are the most complex creations known to man. They’re places where we live, work, and play. One of the challenges of urban planning is to make sure cities can accommodate the growing population. Urban planning is a crucial part of designing a city because it makes sure that people have access to social services and can get around easily. When urban planning is done well, it can help save energy, money, and improve people’s quality of life. To become an urban planner, you’ll need to earn a degree in urban planning or a related field. Urban planning job description include working with government, as well as at private companies like real estate development companies.

Urban planning is a field that’s important for the future. The demand for urban planners will increase as our population grows and more people move to cities. If you like designing and creating spaces, urban planning might be right for you.
Urban planning is an important component of a successful city. It’s not just important for the design of the city, but it’s also important for the health and happiness of its residents. There are a few paths you can take to become an urban planner. You could get a master’s degree in Urban Planning from a school like University of California, Berkeley or University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Planning & Architecture, Delhi.

Being an urban planner is getting to be one of the most in demand careers today. Although it was never even heard of in the past, city governments are now realizing and recognizing the importance of a having a city that is well organized and well thought of. That way, the layout is practical, the roads are wide, there is room for more infrastructures; may it be homes or business buildings and transportation is made far more efficient not just today but in the years to come. That is what urban planning is all about – making sure that everything is in its perfect place and extrapolating for the future, considering changes that may be necessary. That is why it is becoming a necessity and it is made even more so due to the increase in population. It is not a wonder, therefore, that more and more people are considering a career in this field. The question is; what are the urban planning jobs that one can get once a student has his or her diploma and is ready to start making a career?

Although the thought of planning an entire city and making it work may seem enticing, it is not an easy task at all. Yes, there are computer games that are based on that but one cannot afford to make such a huge mistake in real life unlike in a computer game. That is why a city cannot be planned with just one single urban planner. When building or rebuilding a city; a team of urban planners is necessary in order for it to work. Each and every member of the team has his or her own specialty. That is why there are different types of jobs available as far as urban planning is concerned.

From a larger perspective planners work upon these aspects

  • Design our towns and cities to  promote healthy lifestyles and provide a better quality of life
  • Help to regenerate socially-deprived areas and creating new jobs
  • Manage development and help in providing affordable housing
  • Frame policies to reduce the effects of climate change helping to protect our environment
  • Create policies for managing traffic and providing sustainable solutions to our transport needs
  • Improves energy efficiency and cut carbon emissions in our homes, factories, and businesses
  •  Increase community and people participation in making policies which affect everyone.

Job titles for Urban Planners

Urban planning jobs vary widely in a number of private, government, non-government organizations. Development authorities and Town & Country Planning Department of state govt. are the major recruiters of town planners. Planning jobs can vary widely, and can have many differing job titles, such as:

• City/town/urban planner
• Community development officer
• Environmental planner
• Land use planner
• Municipal planner
• Planning director
• Planning consultant
• Regional planner
• Transportation planner

In Government Sector

Perhaps the most well known among the jobs is in the Government Sector. After all, it is the main task of the government to make sure that the cities are safe and running well. As a government urban planner, you can expect to be tasked to fix neighborhoods that need renovating because it is already old, fixing particular lands as a government building will be built, revitalizing projects and the list goes on.

In Private Sector

Now, if the path of a government urban planner is not for you, you can also choose to be a Private Sector Planner. These planners tend to work for private consulting firms, architectural firms and companies that have something to do with civil engineering.

One cannot deny the importance of having a smooth and efficient transportation system. This is the problem of a lot of cities today and it is up to a Transportation Planner to fix that. No wonder it is one of the most common urban planning jobs available. They are the ones in charge of fixing traffic congestion and even the air pollution that transportations bring about.

Various work done by Urban Planners

The working area for urban planner/ town planner is huge and vary greatly on basis of location and specialization of an urban planner. Town planning or Urban Planning is an emerging career with a golden future. There is a huge demand and supply gap in planners all over the world. The demand is most in developing countries followed by developed countries. Planning is a collective process between city leaders and residents to envision a better future. Such decisions are often hard — we must decide which needs are most important to best prepare for the future and then plan carefully how to use our time, money, and other resources.

An urban planner or town planner can

  • Prepare Master plans, Regional plans, Sector plans, District and Neighborhood plans.
  • Prepare Physical layout plans for residential, Commercial, Institutional, Recreational, Industrial areas and Tourism Development plans.
  • Conduct of Socio-economic impact assessment and Demographic studies.
  • Prepare Environmental Impact Assessment, Site Analysis and Environmental Audit Reports
  • Conduct of transportation and Traffic management studies.
  • Direct and control the Process of City Development.
  • Do City Management
  • Do Waste Management
  • Prepare Slum Improvement programmes and housing projects.
  • Prepare feasibility reports and planning briefs.
  • Advocate for Communities and Individuals.
  • Provide Professional advice for real estate/Property developers.
  • Disaster Risk Assessment and Emergency Management.
  • Do Street naming and property numbering.
  • Control of outdoor advertisement
  • Preserve/conserve historical sites

Urban Planners or Town Planners try to balance the built environment and conserve natural and built heritage to create diverse, vibrant and sustainable places where people want to live, work and play. Balance means poise, stability, fairness, neutrality – all qualities indispensable for planners. Urban planning is a great career option if you have a strong creative side. Urban planners are responsible for the development of a city, from making sure there’s enough housing to designing public transportation systems. As urbanization increases worldwide, so does the need for urban planners. Urban planning deals with designing and managing the infrastructure of a city. Urban planners are responsible for designing roads, bridges, sewer systems, parks, and schools. To become an urban planner, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in city planning or a related field. You can also pursue an advanced degree in city planning through a graduate program.

Jobs for Urban Planners

How much salary does an urban planner earn

Every job or career path is more like a calling. Nobody can last long in his career if he is unhappy about his job and simply not made for it. A creative person cannot be stuck in an office for 9 hours facing a computer. That would be the kind of torture that he will not be able to endure. At the same time, an office worker who works like clockwork will find it very hard to work for a company with no definite timetable. The same is true for being an urban planner. One must have a passion for organizing and making things work efficiently if he hopes to become one. Then again, the person cannot stay in a job with simply passion alone. One big factor to consider is the salary. So let us get real and discuss the salary of an urban planner on a yearly basis. Is it a lucrative career or at least a job that will keep you and your family afloat? Let us find out now.

The first important factor is the industry that the he is in. Even urban planners end up with different types of job which would naturally affect their income at the end of the day. For instance (as per 2010 data), those who chose to work for the federal government would earn about $88,230 per year. However, those who end up with a career in architectural and engineering would get about $72,910. The ones that end up in scientific research would only get about $62,460. Hence, the industry is a factor that one cannot ignore because it greatly affects the money that you will be able to make.

Another crucial factor to determine their salary is the geography. Where does he live? Those who work in big cities get paid more than those who work in smaller ones. For example, those who end up in the District of Columbia will earn about $83,890 as compared to the $78,820 that a person in Nevada will earn. The reason for this has nothing to do with one’s skill but more because the goods and bills in bigger cities also tend to be larger. Of course, one’s experience plays a big part in the salary of an urban planner. The starting salary will be smaller than those with a 10 year experience.

For further reading and getting more information about Urban Planning you can read the following articles (all articles open in new tab/ window):

  1. Urban Planning Job Description
  2. Why political agendas never actually solve your problems whereas planners can!
  3. Planning process without planners
  4. Loss to community because of incompetent planners
  5. Planners as knowledge workers
  6. Understanding the limitations of planning
  7. Urban Planning – Largely Unknown Profession