Girls in Science & Technology: Urban and Regional Planning Career Information

What Do Planners Do?

The plan consists of these alternatives presented in a formal document. Plans can take several shapes, from comprehensive plans to historic preservation plans. Plans are presented to community officials, who review, revise and adopt them for action. Plans are required at different levels of government. Once the plan is adopted, the planner's job becomes the implementation of the plan, coordinating work among many groups. The tools of planning implementation include such things as land use controls and economic development strategies. 

Former APA President, Stuart Meck, FAICP, summed it up: "Planning is the application of foresight to action."

What do planners do?
The planning process typically involves the performance of a number of roles. Some planners function primarily as technical analysts or researchers, others as designers or program developers, others as agents of social change and still others as managers or educators. Some planners will make a career in only one of these roles; most, however, will perform several of them at different stages of their lives.

  • Planners formulate plans and policies to meet the social, economic and physical needs of communities, and they develop the strategies to make these plans work.
  • Planners develop plans for land use patterns, housing needs, parks and recreation opportunities, highways and transportation systems, economic development and other aspects of the future.
  • Planners must be technically competent and creative and show both hardheaded pragmatism and an ability to envision alternatives to the physical and social environments in which we live.
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