Is Urban Planning a Good Career?

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Is Urban Planning a Good Career?

Urban planning, as well recognized as planning and zoning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that focuses on the development and design of land use and the built environment, including air, water, and Infrastructure that enters and exits urban areas, such as transportation, communications, and distribution networks, as well as their accessibility. Traditionally, master planning the physical structure of human communities has been done from the top down.

Public welfare was the critical focus, which encompassed efficiency, sanitation, environmental preservation, and utilization, as well as the consequences of master plans on social and economic activity. Over time, urban planning has shifted its attention to the social and environmental bottom lines, emphasizing planning as a tool for improving people’s health and well-being while adhering to environmental requirements. When the adverse economic and environmental effects of prior planning models became apparent in the late twentieth century, sustainable development was incorporated as one of the fundamental aims of all planning activities.

What Is An Urban Planner?

An urban planner is a specialist who works in urban planning. An urban planning engineer who focuses on a specific area of practice may be referred to as a city planner, town planner, regional planner, long-range planner, transportation planner, infrastructure planner, environmental planner, parks planner, physical planner, health planner, planning analyst, urban designer, community development director, economic development specialist, or other similar combinations of titles. ISOCARP, an international planners’ organization, was formed in the Netherlands in 1965 and presently has over 700 members from over 80 countries.

Types of Urban Planning

These are commonly referred to as urban planning types. It’s important to note, though, that they’re not mutually exclusive—a unified urban plan should cover many, if not all, of the topics listed below.

Strategic Urban Planning

Strategic urban planning focuses on setting high-level objectives and desirable development zones for a city or metropolitan region. The final result of the planning process is a strategic plan, often known as a development plan, core strategy, or comprehensive plan.

The strategic plan’s goals might include improving municipal transit, creating more community areas, improving residents’ quality of life, and attracting visitors and residents to the city. Other planning parts will likely fit into this type of plan, as it is the highest level of the planning process.

Land Use Planning

Land-use planning is primarily concerned with law and policy, including adopting land-use planning instruments such as governmental laws, regulations, rules, codes, and policies.

On a broad level, these planning tools address the kind, location, and quantity of land necessary to carry out various municipal responsibilities. They can also be used to set aside or zone land for specific purposes, such as:

  • Apartment complexes, single-family homes, and condos are examples of residential buildings.
  • Retail shops and office buildings are examples of commercial constructions.
  • The term “industrial” refers to factories and warehouses.
  • Police stations and courthouses are examples of municipal buildings.

Master Planning

When you’re starting from scratch rather than modifying existing structures or places, master planning is commonly employed for greenfield development projects or construction on previously undeveloped land.

This type of urban planning forecasts how a location will appear in the future and how long it will take to get there.

Urban planners must examine the necessary zoning (from your land-use plan) and Infrastructure, such as residential and commercial property, transportation considerations, road placements, and so on, to make the project feasible.

They must also decide on community facilities, schools, parks, and other urban amenities. Communication with landowners and government agencies impacted by the plan is crucial once again.

Urban Revitalization

In contrast to master planning, urban regeneration focuses on repairing deteriorating areas. The specific definition of a failing area varies per city—for example, areas with a high number of bankrupt businesses or areas with stagnant or declining population growth.

Depending on the primary cause of the fall, municipal officials may utilize tactics such as repairing roads, building infrastructure, cleaning up pollutants, and developing parks and other public areas.

Residents and business owners routinely provide information to help shape and alter planning initiatives. As a result, community involvement is critical in this urban planning concept.

Economic Development

Economic development is the act of identifying opportunities for growth within a community to foster tremendous financial success, notably through persuading firms to build or relocate their offices there.

Such companies hire local workers and increase commuting traffic to the new site. More employees having lunch at local eateries, getting gas at nearby gas stations, and stopping by local grocery stores on their way home will result in increased exposure and expenditure in the community.

Because an economic development department may be different from the planning department, it’s vital to aid that group in negotiating Land Use Plans, Master Plans, and Infrastructure Plans to ensure that any development ideas are realistic. Collaboration with environmental planning will, of course, be required.

Environmental Planning

Environmental planning is a type of strategic planning concerned with long-term viability.

This type of urban design considers air pollution, noise pollution, wetlands, endangered species habitats, flood zone susceptibility, and coastal zone erosion, among other environmental challenges influencing the interaction between natural and human systems.

Environmental plans must be produced and mastered, revitalization, and infrastructure plans. Don’t get discouraged if there appear to be several steps and requirements. While it may appear complicated at first, it will be better in the long run if all of your ideas mesh well.

Infrastructure Planning

Infrastructure planning is concerned with the fundamental facilities and procedures that service a city and its population, as well as how these facilities may help achieve the strategic plan’s goals. The following items are included in this category of urban planning:

  • Water supply, sewage, power, and telecommunications are examples of public works infrastructure.
  • Schools, hospitals, and parks are examples of community infrastructure.
  • Roads, police, and fire stations all fall under safety and transportation. 

What Do You Need to Become an Urban Planner?

To work as an urban planner, you’ll need a combination of soft and hard abilities. Because urban planners work in groups and must constantly communicate with public members, developers, and government officials, excellent verbal and writing communication skills are essential. Excellent public speaking, presenting, and diplomatic abilities may provide you with a career advantage. You’ll need to know how to utilize geographic information systems (GIS), database programs, spreadsheets, and other necessary software to complete your everyday job tasks. It’s also important to know how to collect, organize, and analyze statistical data.

Skills for An Urban Planner

To be successful as an urban planner, you’ll need the following abilities:

  • Mathematical and engineering skills: For planning, constructing, building, and restoring urban buildings, streets, and land, a thorough grasp of mathematics and engineering concepts is required.
  • Urban planners must appraise an area’s potential and devise effective strategies to transform it into a useable place for city people.
  • Creativity: An urban planner with a creative mentality can visualize urban buildings and landscapes.
  • Computer skills: To plan, create, and implement diverse urban projects, urban planners must be proficient in computers and computer applications.
  • Communication is critical to the success of any urban project. The capacity to express, discuss, and convey ideas and orders to various persons participating in the project is critical.
  • Decision-making abilities: Urban planners assess all available alternatives as part of their job and choose which one is best for the budget, safety rules, usage, and needs.
  • Strong leadership abilities are required for an urban planner to supervise massive projects, lead the people participating in them, and achieve project objectives.
  • Interpersonal skills: Because urban planners must engage and collaborate with government officials, developers, project employees, and others, excellent interpersonal skills are advantageous.

What Is the Salary of an Urban Planner and Where They Make Most Money?

The median pay for an urban planner is $79,000 per year, according to the American Planners Association’s 2018 study; however, salary can be modified by a variety of factors.

Most planners begin the sector with a master’s degree and some internship experience. Urban planners with fewer than three years of experience typically make around $52,000 per year, while those with 10 to 14 years of expertise earn roughly $80,000 per year, according to the APA. Average incomes continue to rise with expertise, with urban planners earning roughly $109,000 per year after 30 years in the sector.

Salaries for urban planners vary depending on whether they work for local, state, or federal governments. Local governments pay an annual median wage of $75,910, or $36.50 per hour, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2019, over half of all urban planners worked for local governments.

In the private sector, urban planners work for architectural firms, where they assist in integrating designs into urban environments. Urban planners are hired by banks for community investment advice, while development businesses hire them to obtain building permits. According to the APA, private-sector urban planners earn between $72,000 and $105,000 per year.

Is Becoming an Urban Planner Hard?

Being a competent urban planner necessitates a great deal of effort and talent. A bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in urban planning are required to have a successful career in this field. If you’re considering a career in this field, be aware that the competition is severe.

Is Urban Planning a Demanding Career?

Between 2020 and 2030, employment of urban and regional planners is expected to expand at a rate of 7%, which is approximately average for all occupations.

Over the next ten years, an average of 3,700 openings for urban and regional planners are expected. Many of those positions are likely to arise due to the need to replace people who change occupations or leave the workforce for other reasons, such as retirement.

What Other Career Paths Can an Urban Planner Pursue?

What can you accomplish with a degree in urban planning? When looking into becoming an urban planner, it’s necessary to think about the various job options. A city planning degree prepares you for a variety of rewarding employment in the field of urban planning. These occupations are listed below.


conduct research, collect data, and analyze it to assess economic concerns. They examine population, taxes, and other data to ensure that resources and services are distributed appropriately.


Geographers examine the earth’s terrain and characteristics, as well as political and cultural structures, in all of its regions. They can work on a local, national, or international scale.

Architect for the Environment

Landscape architects are responsible for designing open spaces such as parks and other leisure places. Green areas are also planned by these architects for businesses, schools, and neighborhoods.


Surveyors are vital to the creation and expansion of projects that impact land usage. They are used in engineering and construction to measure and document property lines.

Best Urban Planning Online Courses

Here are given Some Best Online Urban Planning Courses:

Site Planning Online by Edx

Site planning has been a fundamental course for individuals aspiring to design the built environment for over a century in urban planning, landscape architecture, and architecture schools. It is a mandatory subject in all of these licensure and certification systems.

Apply Now

Sustainable Urban Freight Transport: A Global Perspective by Edx

The effective running of urban logistics is critical to city life. Everything depends on a practical and dependable freight transportation infrastructure, from retail to services, construction to garbage disposal. However, as urbanization demands grow, this must be balanced against the environmental and social consequences of transportation activities. Furthermore, due to the COVID-19 epidemic, urban freight transportation has been challenged in recent years, with higher volumes, same-day delivery, and logistics chain interruptions.

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Essential Urban Planning Knowledge by Udemy

Well, this course is primarily about what an urban planner should be aware of, as well as ideas to consider when planning to create a sound and stable environment, as well as a world system perspective when planning transportation, population control, economic growth, and so on. It is also primarily about the beginning of an urban planner, so I hope you enjoy it.

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 Reclaiming the Street for Livable Urban Spaces by Coursera

You’ll learn about the dynamics of change in Reclaiming the Street, and you’ll be pushed to use what you’ve learned to start developing thriving streetscapes in your neighborhood. This six-week course will walk you through fundamental academic work on transition management and street experiments, as well as practical insights from practitioners all across the world. A final peer-reviewed project combines essential learning from each module of this course to assist you in developing a practical change strategy.

Apply Now

Best Colleges to Study Urban Planning

University of Southern California

The University of Southern California is a private research university located in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 1880 as the “Southern Branch of the University of California” and offers degrees in more than 190 areas across its ten schools and colleges. In 2018, USC became only two universities to receive a five-star ranking from QS World Rankings concerning employability.

Temple University

Temple University is a public research university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1884 as the “Temple College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.” Temple offers degrees in more than 150 areas across its 17 schools and colleges. In 2018, Temple became one of only two universities to receive a five-star ranking from QS World Rankings concerning employability.

Missouri State University

Missouri State University is a public research university located in Springfield, Missouri. It was founded in 1905 as the “Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy.” The school offers degrees in more than 200 areas across its 12 schools and colleges. In 2018, MSU became the only two universities to receive a five-star ranking from QS World Rankings concerning employability.

Texas A&M University

Texas A&M University is a public research university located in College Station, Texas. It was founded in 1876 as an agricultural and mechanical college by the former Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Today it offers degrees in more than 200 areas across its 12 schools and colleges. In 2018, TAMU became one of only two universities to receive a five-star ranking from QS World Rankings concerning employability.


Urban Planning is a promising career. The urban planning industry has been growing at an astonishing rate, with the demand for experts in this field expected to increase by over 30% between now and 2026. In addition, it’s one of those careers that doesn’t require a college degree; all you need is experience! If these facts have convinced you that urban planning is the right career for you, be sure to check out our list of best colleges to study urban planning!

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