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Urban and Regional Planner

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.

Duties & 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 about 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 (such as 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 required to prepare documentation of decisions for independent review and are often called upon to appear as expert witnesses before appeal hearings.
    Personal requirements
  • interested in social, economic, environmental and cultural issues
  • good oral and written communication skills
  • able to produce detailed and accurate work
  • good analytical and problem-solving skills.
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