Urban and regional planners assist in the development or maintenance of carefully designed communities. Working for a government agency or as a consultant, planners are involved in integrating new buildings, houses, sites, and subdivisions into an overall city plan. Their plans must coordinate streets, traffic, public facilities, water and sewage, transportation, safety, and ecological factors such as wildlife habitats, wetlands, and floodplains. Planners are also involved in renovating and preserving historic buildings. They work with a variety of professionals, including architects, artists, computer programmers, engineers, economists, landscape architects, land developers, lawyers, writers, and environmental and other special interest groups.
Urban and regional planners also work with unused or undeveloped land. They may help design the layout for a proposed building, keeping in mind traffic circulation, parking, and the use of open space. Planners are also responsible for suggesting ways to implement these programs or proposals, considering their costs and how to raise funds for them.
Schools, churches, recreational areas, and residential tracts are studied to determine how they will fit into designs for optimal usefulness and beauty. As with other factors, specifications for the nature and kinds of buildings must be considered. Zoning codes, which regulate the specific use of land and buildings, must be adhered to during construction. Planners need to be knowledgeable of these regulations and other legal matters and communicate them to builders and developers.
Some urban and regional planners teach in colleges and schools of planning, and many do consulting work. Planners today are concerned not only with city codes, but also with environmental problems of water pollution, solid waste disposal, water treatment plants, and public housing.
Planners work in older cities or design new ones. Columbia, Maryland, and Reston, Virginia, both built in the 1960s, are examples of planned communities. Before plans for such communities can be developed, planners must prepare detailed maps and charts showing the proposed use of land for housing, business, and community needs. These studies provide information on the types of industries in the area, the locations of housing developments and businesses, and the plans for providing basic needs such as water, sewage treatment, and transportation. After maps and charts have been analyzed, planners design the layout to present to land developers, city officials, housing experts, architects, and construction firms.
The following short descriptions list the wide variety of planners within the field.
Human services planners develop health and social service programs to upgrade living standards for those lacking opportunities or resources. These planners frequently work for private health care organizations and government agencies.
Historic preservation planners use their knowledge of the law and economics to help preserve historic buildings, sites, and neighborhoods. They are frequently employed by state agencies, local governments, and the National Park Service.
Transportation planners, working mainly for government agencies, oversee the transportation infrastructure of a community, keeping in mind local priorities such as economic development and environmental concerns.
Housing and community development planners analyze housing needs to identify potential opportunities and problems that may affect a neighborhood and its surrounding communities. Such planners are usually employed by private real estate and financial firms, local governments, and community development organizations.
Economic development planners, usually employed by local governments or chambers of commerce, focus on attracting and retaining industry to a specific community. They communicate with industry leaders who select sites for new plants, warehouses, and other major projects.
Environmental planners advocate the integration of environmental issues into building construction, land use, and other community objectives. They work at all levels of government and for some nonprofit organizations.
Urban design planners work to design and locate public facilities, such as churches, libraries, and parks, to best serve the larger community. Employers include large-scale developers, private consulting firms, and local governments.
International development planners specialize in strategies for transportation, rural development, modernization, and urbanization. They are frequently employed by international agencies, such as the United Nations, and by national governments in less developed countries.
- Assessors and Appraisers
- Aviation Safety Inspectors
- Bank Examiners
- Border Patrol Agents
- Campaign Workers
- City Managers
- Civil Engineering Technicians
- Civil Engineers
- Computer-Aided Design Drafters and Technicians
- Congressional Aides
- Construction Inspectors
- Construction Managers
- Credit Analysts
- Cryptographic Technicians
- Customs Officials
- Deputy U.S. Marshals
- Drone Pilots
- Environmental Engineers
- Environmental Lobbyists
- Environmental Planners
- EPA Special Agents
- FBI Agents
- Federal and State Officials
- Fish and Game Wardens
- Foreign Service Officers
- Fraud Examiners, Investigators, and Analysts
- Furniture Designers
- Geodetic Surveyors
- Green Builders
- Grounds Managers
- Health and Regulatory Inspectors
- Home Stagers
- Household Movers
- Industrial Designers
- Insurance Policy Processing Workers
- Insurance Underwriters
- Intelligence Officers
- Interior Designers and Decorators
- Land Acquisition Professionals
- Land Trust or Preserve Managers
- Landscape Architects
- Loan Officers and Counselors
- Military Recruiters
- Military Workers, Enlisted
- National Park Service Employees
- Occupational Safety and Health Workers
- Park Rangers
- Policy Analysts
- Political Columnists and Writers
- Political Consultants
- Political Reporters
- Political Scientists
- Political Speechwriters
- Press Secretaries
- Property and Real Estate Managers
- Public Opinion Researchers
- Real Estate Agents and Brokers
- Real Estate Clerks
- Real Estate Developers
- Real Estate Educators
- Real Estate Lawyers
- Real Estate Writers
- Recycling Coordinators
- Regional and Local Officials
- Secret Service Special Agents
- Title Searchers and Examiners
- Traffic Engineers
- Transportation Planners