Urban & Regional Planner


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Clerical or OrganisingAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 5

Urban and regional planners create the plans and strategies for the use of land and resources in shaping towns, cities and regions. They consider the physical, environmental, social and economicFuture Growth Strong needs of communities to develop plans that balance all of these requirements. These plans can cover a wide variety of areas including government policy recommendations, transport, disaster preparation, infrastructure and services, natural resources management and heritage and conservation.

Urban and regional planners develop policies and plans for the use of land and resources. They advise on the economic, environmental, social and cultural needs of particular localities or regions as they relate to the built environment and the community. They also work on large-scale projects such as new suburbs, towns, industrial areas, commercial and retail developments, urban renewal projects and transportation links.

ANZSCO description: Develops and implements plans and policies for the controlled use of urban and rural land, and advises on economic, environmental and social factors affecting land use.

Alternative names:
Environmental Planner, Planner, Spatial Planner

Land Planner, Resource Management Planner (NZ), Town Planner, Traffic and Transport Planner

Planning is a broadly based discipline and it is possible to specialise in a wide range of fields, including strategic planning, urban design, environmental impact assessment, residential planning, commercial and industrial planning, heritage planning, tourism planning and social planning.


Transportation Planner
A transportation planner balances public and private transport to avoid congestion in cities.

Knowledge, skills and attributes Indigenous Hand with Australia

A town planner needs:

  • good analytical and problem-solving skills
  • good communication skills
  • organisational skills
  • understanding of social economic, environmental and cultural issues
  • mediation and negotiation skills
  • able to produce detailed and accurate work
  • good analytical and problem-solving skills.


Duties and Tasks

Urban and regional planners may perform the following tasks:

  • develop long-range objectives to cope with growth and change, in consultation with affected communities
  • perform surveys and site inspections
  • compile and analyse information on physical, economic, social, legal, political, cultural and environmental factors which affect land use
  • discuss plans with local communities, private companies and government organisations
  • consider new developments or re-developing areas, and advise state and local governments on planning issues for projects such as new suburbs, transportation links, industrial estates, retail complexes and housing developments
  • draw up plans for development or re-development and evaluate proposals in terms of benefits and costs, recommending how schemes can be carried out
  • prepare urban and rural subdivision plans, taking into account various land uses, including residential, public open space, schools and shops
  • prepare and coordinate economic, social and environmental impact studies
  • provide evidence for appeals in planning disputes
  • consult with, and act as an advocate for, community groups or developers
  • assist developers to obtain planning permits
  • design strategies to guide land and resource use and development in particular locations
  • recommend a course of action that ensures local and regional needs will be met, by taking into account factors such as amenity, community facilities, access to employment, retail housing and transport
  • supervise and work with associates and technicians.

Working Conditions

Planners work closely with professionals in other fields (e.g. surveying, urban design, architecture, engineering, environment and conservation, property development, community services and transport planning). There is a high level of public contact as planners spend a lot of time in meetings and discussions. Time is also spent on field visits, writing reports and performing research. Planners are also required to prepare documentation of decisions for independent review and are often called upon to appear as expert witnesses before appeal hearings.

Planners split their time between office work, site visits and attending meetings. When conducting site visits they may be working outside in all weather conditions and in a variety of environments, which could include undeveloped bushland. Because planners liaise with a number of groups, including government departments, community interest groups, land owners and other professionals, meetings may be held in an equally broad range of locations. Planners work in locations all around Australia, though the biggest demand is in areas where there is a high population or strong demand for housing, particularly in the metropolitan area and surrounding suburbs.

Tools and technologies

Planners use a variety of mapping and surveying equipment to gain a full understanding of a site, including aerial photographs, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and maps. In addition to the physical and environmental characteristics of a site, they also gather social and economic data through demographic surveying techniques and reports. When presenting plans to clients, community groups and other interested parties they will often use projectors, microphones and other audio-visual equipment.

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become an urban and regional planner you usually need to complete a degree in urban and regional planning or a related field.

Did You Know?

The Best Planned Cities of the World are.....

Navi Mumbai - India (this is the largest planned city in the world!)
New Songdo City - South Korea
Gothenburg - Sweden
Washington DC - USA
Canberra - Australia
La Plata - Argentina
Belo Horizonte - Brazil
Meknes - Morocco
Jaipur - India
Brasilia - Brazil

Source: The Best Planned Cities of the World

Wikipedia lists all the planned cities of the world!

Canberra - Australia's planned capital city
2013: Keeping Queensland Moving: transport in a flood crisis

The Conversation

....But it’s outside of the cities where accessibility problems really bite. Floods are the primary reason bridges are destroyed in Australia. And roads are regularly cut by floodwaters where investment hasn’t been made in raising them above flood heights. As per usual, Northern Queensland finds itself cut off from the rest of the country due to the poor state of the Bruce Highway, with produce rotting on trucks as they wait to get through.

Where can we do things better? Mitigation by levees and dams, and ensuring structures such as bridges and key highways are resilient, is the obvious best spend. Key highways require investment as part of planning infrastructure for flooding landscapes.

City tunnels are particularly vulnerable; especially rail tunnels, where lighting, electrical and communications systems are destroyed by floodwaters. An important change was made to the design of Brisbane’s Cross River Rail project after the 2011 event submerged part of the proposed southern entry point. This change was made in part to ensure the tunnel can better avoid flooding. This should reduce the risks of catastrophes such as New York’s subway floods of 2012, the Prague Metro flood in 2002 or Boston’s subway flood of 1996."

Urban and Regional Planner


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