Discover your career path

Urban Planner

Figure out the best way to use land in cities and neighborhoods.

What does an Urban Planner do?

An Urban Planner develops the infrastructure of cities, towns, and neighborhoods. In this role, your improve transportation systems, plan parks, and generally create an easily navigable structure of public resources. Your goal? To create, revitalize, or grow communities that are thriving, vibrant, and sustainable.

Accomplishing such lofty aims require a combination of art and science. As an Urban Planner, you will draw up technical and aesthetic designs, secure approval for your project, and hire/work with a team of Contractors to make it happen. But before you can even start this process, you must prioritize what the city needs.

And this is far from easy to do. Will the city’s health be improved by the rejuvenation of a slum or better served by an initiative to attract more jobs? Should you use federal funding to patch your highway or sewer system? There are countless improvements cities could plan for, but limited budgets get in the way. You help decide how that money is spent.

As an Urban Planner, your job is different than an Urban Designer. You focus on long-term plans and policies (5-20+ years) for large geographic areas (like cities and regions). Urban Designers, on the other hand, focus on implementing those plans by designing specific spaces and buildings.

The work of an Urban Planner requires an engineering background with a proficiency in computer design and common sense. Your tasks will range from artistic (like sketching out a park’s design) to analytical (juggling population estimates, zoning laws, and city budgets to evaluate where new schools are needed).

On the whole, your work boils down to “,” or that a good living environment will stimulate social well being and economic growth.