What does Urban and Regional Planners Do?
Without clear direction, a city’s growth can quickly get out of control. Every decision acted upon by your neighbors creates conditions that you must all live with, and different priorities can incite conflicts within a community. Fortunately, urban and regional planners are there to channel the unbridled energy of development towards the most productive ends. They create the plans and programs that make the best use of limited space and resources.
Urban and Regional Planners Skills and Abilities
These professionals need strong analytical abilities and a thorough understanding of the problems facing their communities. Critical thinking, problem solving, writing, and mathematics are all core competencies they must possess.Knowing the environment is essential. Through experience, planners will have to accumulate a specific set of knowledge that is related to their region. This includes knowing past economic trends, local laws and ordinances, and the geographical quirks of the area. They must be able to apply general development theories to their area’s specific circumstances.Reports and findings are often communicated in public formats. A planner must have the leadership skills needed to disseminate important information while maintaining focus under pressure from residents and business leaders. They need organizational skills and the ability to promote discussions. They also have to be able to manage an office and keep their staff working productively.
Urban and Regional Planners Duties
A planner’s main task is to creating studies and reports. This information is primarily used to make public policy suggestions that ultimately lead to zoning ordinances. They are also required to perform community outreach functions and network with business leaders. They encourage healthy growth and sustainable practices while helping the public work proactively with local governments. As part of a city government’s services, planners must be prepared to answer difficult questions from residents while maintaining professionalism. While not always necessarily a managerial position, they may also be required to supervise staff in routine tasks while still seeing to their own responsibilities.
Urban and Regional Planners Tools and Technology
Most of the work performed is intellectual in nature. Planners employ a number of computer assisted analytical and communication tools. Internet connection is critical for email and research purposes. They often must be capable of working the databases that that store important information. For those that conduct field research, GPS and geographical modeling software is also useful. Standard office programs like word processors and spreadsheets are heavily relied upon.
Education and Training for Urban and Regional Planners
An urban planner is a job that requires an advanced education. For most positions, at least a master’s degree is mandatory. Associate level positions may be obtained with an undergraduate degree, and some technical support roles are also available for those who have completed introductory course work. The most suitable degree programs concentrate specifically on urban planning or real estate development. Sometimes general business or economics degrees are acceptable as well.
Urban and Regional Planners Salary
The median pay for these jobs is $66,900 a year. Top earners can expect to receive close to $100,000 or higher. If you are just starting out or live in an area that has limited resources, you may need to accept a lower salary closer to $42,000 a year which is near the bottom of the pay scale. Under extremely favorable circumstances, experienced planners may command an annual salary as high as $115,000.
Urban and Regional Planners Jobs by Geography
These jobs are available throughout the country in nearly every city or town. In areas that have higher concentrations of people, their skills are especially valued. The highest pay will be offered by the governments that receive the highest levels of tax revenue from their economies. Expect better offers from wealthier states or large cities. The west coast region is particular favorable.