Finding work as a city planner

City or urban development planners ensure that the land use in urban areas fulfill the needs of the society in that area. They assess the area, requirements of the society and the resources available, and ensure that the environment can sustain the development. They thus have to examine housing needs, job placements, and the movement of people, population growth, entertainment needs and property values. City planners work in close relation with the local government and municipalities, surveyors, developers, and representatives of home owners. City planners conduct location assessments, write reports, manage developments and impose scheduling controls.

The work include district upgrades, renewal projects, new area planning, road infrastructure and water allocation planning, building restoration planning, environmental control, creating business opportunities, and employment in areas, and provide advice on all aspects of urban development. It is an office based job with normal 9 to 5 working hours but does include some weekend or evening work and traveling.

Requirements
You need the following skills and traits:

  • - You should have an extensive knowledge of city planning policies
  • - Be a good communicator and be able to negotiate on a high level
  • - Know how to use drafting software
  • - Be able to work with GIS technology
  • - Have excellent research and report writing skills
  • - Have excellent communication, negotiating and presentations skills
  • - Be a good planner and organizer
  • - Be able to work alone and as part of teams

Training
You need a degree or diploma in urban planning and development, which includes subjects like urban planning, environment planning and management, city engineering and building design. If you have an architectural, building or engineering background you can move into city planning by doing a course in city planning.

Prospects
Most city planners are employed by the municipalities although some find work at developers and architectural firms. You can work on a freelance basis for developers and homeowners. Related fields include environmental planning and market research for businesses.