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The Role of Urban Planners

A person with a city bridge in the background

When you go for a jog at your local park or running trail, browse homes for sale in a new suburb, or even drop off items at your local recycling facility, you're likely reaping the benefits of the work done by your community's team of urban planners. While urban planners help formulate and communicate proposals for new buildings, structures, and green spaces, they assume a variety of positions to help create thriving and safe communities for the public. Learn more about urban planners' job responsibilities, the people they serve, and how they make decisions.

What Is Urban Planning?

Urban planners are involved in the complex and lengthy process of designing and developing cities. Their work can involve determining land use for available green space in a particular area, mapping out a new public transportation system, and supporting the built environment beyond just new structures by developing economic and social programs to improve local communities. Urban planning is usually a segment of a much larger city plan, and is meant to create well-developed and maintained communities.

Addressing Community Needs

It's important to understand that while urban planners are tasked with making extremely high-level decisions that can impact the development of entire cities and towns, they don't do so without collecting feedback from key stakeholders: other urban planners, government officials, landowners, and citizens. Understanding the needs of these groups helps urban planners view a project from the perspective of those it will most directly impact, which can guide their decision-making as they approach new projects or proposals.

Educational Background of Urban Planners

A master's degree is the typical requirement of employers looking to hire urban planners, but their educational backgrounds can vary. Urban planners often hold degrees in public policy and public administration, and their roles tend to require the following:

  • Policy analysis
  • Project planning and budgeting
  • Community outreach
  • Sustainability and environmentalism principles
  • Urban revitalization

Ready for a career that helps improve communities and residents' quality of life? Open doors to urban planning roles with a Master of Public Administration from Tulane School of Professional Advancement. Learn how you can earn an advanced degree completely online to prepare for a role as a civic sector leader. Request more information about Tulane SoPA's MPA program today and discover the vast opportunities for career growth available to you with an education from an award-winning university.

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