Urban Planner

Urban Planner Careers

Expanding populations across the country have increased employment needs as well as resource needs.  Public health careers can offer a solution to both dilemmas by providing secure jobs for individuals who are interested in developing communities with the concept of sustainability in mind.  A job as an urban planner can give you the chance to design intelligent habitation and land usage while earning a good living.

Public health services support communities not just in the role that they play for the public, but also in the provision of employment with high advancement opportunities.  Many of these positions allow for individuals to find a rewarding and service based career path that is also highly engaging.  The job of an urban planner could be a good way for you to explore your work interests and aspirations, while helping others.

What Is An Urban Planner?

Urban planners are concerned with how land and resources are allocated in both rural and urban environments.  They may be involved in the layout of new developments but may also be entrusted with renovations and urban renewal projects.  This will include working with community members and public health officials to ensure that supplies and services are available to the population in a manner that is supportive of overall wellbeing. 

Urban planners perform the following tasks over the course of working:

  •   Collect information that pertains to the environment and demographics of the area.
  •   Investigate sites for proposed building and expansion projects.
  •   Review building and expansion proposals for viability, sustainability, and economic impact.
  •   Suggest possible uses of land and resources for the benefit of the community.
  •   Adhere to and enforce zoning and land usage laws.

Characteristics

These skills will also aid you in your employment as an urban planner:

  •   Leadership qualities:  You will be required to organize and collaborate with professionals in other fields when undertaking projects.
  •   Decision making skills:  Certain proposals may have both beneficial and negative effects on the community, and you will need to be able to choose the best course of action for the health of the environment and the public. 
  •   Good communication:  Information that is collected on site will need to be disseminated to others and sometimes to the public.  You will also be required to share findings, concerns, and proposals with public officials. 
  •   Analytical thinking:  You must be able to use the information you have to consider possible outcomes and their ramifications on public health and wellbeing.  This will require that you are able to envision multiple possibilities within the same data set. 
  •   Problem solving skills:  You may need to come up with viable alternatives to proposals that are not in the best interest of public health and safety.  This will require that you are able to overcome obstacles in a manner that is of overall benefit.

Nature Of The Work

Many urban planner work with the local government, and they may be employed through public works and services as well as the department of health.  Time is often divided between fieldwork and office work.  Field work includes inspecting building sites and surveying land, while office work will be spent organizing and analyzing data, as well as generating reports and project proposals.  This may also include recording information and collaborating with others in the community to devise sustainable use of space that will have the most positive impact on the public.

Some of this job will also be spent at town meetings and legal proceedings.  This may require that you give testimony or presentations at hearings that concern the usage of land and resources.  You may need to present findings that support conservation or offer alternative expansion proposals in such events.  An urban planner may be further required to speak against industrial projects that negatively impact public health or use of natural resources.

Education And Training

Urban planners will require a minimum of a Master’s degree, even for an entry level position.  Education may be a specific urban planning course of study, or may include related subjects such as environmental sciences and engineering.  Further knowledge of GIS is also required for this line of work.

Most positions will ask for one to two years of actual field experience.  This may be done as an internship, or as an assistant‘s position.  Although only two states require that you become certified to be an urban planner, the AICP does offer credentialing through examination.  While this is not a necessity, it does improve advancement opportunities.

Urban planners are seeing a fairly steady rate of employment growth in this career.  With an average salary of over $65,000 per year, it offers good stability and fiscal reliability.  An expected 11% increase in positions is expected over the next decade, which makes the position of urban planner a profitable and desirable position.


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