What is City Planning?
The profession of city planning is concerned with the physical development of communities,
and the interaction of that development with the social, economic, and environmental
well-being of communities. City and regional planners, also called urban or community
planners, seek to guide growth and development, and direct the arrangement of facilities and
programs to achieve long-term community-based goals and objectives.
Where do Planners work?
Planner find careers in a variety of workplace settings, including local government
offices, non-profit housing and community development agencies, urban design firms,
real estate development firms, and private consulting practices.
Most professional planners work in the public sector where they help local officials
make decisions relating to social, economic and environmental concerns. They often
confer with land developers, civic leaders and other public officials, and are called
upon to present their ideas to governing bodies, at civic meetings, or before legislative
What kind of work do Planners do?
The kind of work a planner does depends on his/her workplace setting and whether he/she
has a particular specialization.
Land Use planning is the most traditional venue for planning practice. Some land use planners
work on long-range comprehensive plans, developing policies to help communities achieve
a future vision. Others develop and implement land use controls, such as zoning regulations,
to guide development in the short-term.
Environmental planners work to manage and protect natural resources. They measure the impacts of
development on the community’s physical environment, and develop policies to mitigate
Transportation planners develop infrastructure to efficiently move people and goods within and between
communities. Because of the link between transportation networks and development patterns,
there is a great deal of overlap between transportation planning and land use planning.
Neighborhood planners work to preserve or revitalize neighborhoods and provide a foundation for
positive social change. Neighborhood planners commonly work with citizen groups and
community development corporations – non-profit agencies that coordinate neighborhood-based
housing and community development programs.
Economic development planners analyze the strengths and weaknesses of local economies. They develop policies
and programs to improve the economic well-being of community residents. Others planning
specializations include, growth management, capital facilities planning, housing,
and historic preservation.
Many planners are generalists, with a broad range of knowledge about the impacts of physical development. Good planning
involves a great deal of coordination among experts from various fields and agencies.
Generalist planners help to facilitate this coordination.