What does a town planner do?
You balance the demands placed on land by by housing, business, transport and leisure, with the needs of people and the community.
You could work in a wide variety of planning areas in the public or private sector. For example:
- urban design
- heritage and conservation
You may work for an organisation that operates across more than one of these areas, or specialise in just one type of planning.
Your duties could include:
- planning for houses to create affordable, energy efficient homes
- assessing the impact of new transport schemes like new rail links or road proposals
- planning renewable energy generation sites like wind farms
- redesigning urban spaces to improve safety, reduce traffic and increase the number of green areas
- developing parks, woodlands and waterways in a sustainable way
- conserving old buildings, archaeological sites and areas of interest
- managing waste and working on initiatives to reduce waste production like recycling
- developing planning policies for government at a local and national level
- making decisions about planning applications
- advising the public, businesses and land developers on planning policies, rules and regulations
- enforcing planning rules and regulations on building projects
- organising meetings to listen to ideas and hear concerns about planning proposals from local people
You would use surveying techniques, geographical information systems (GIS) and computer-aided design (CAD) to draw up plans and make recommendations to local and regional councils.
What do I need to do to become a town planner?
To work as a town planner you would need a degree or a postgraduate qualification accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). There are different ways that you could complete an RTPI accredited qualification and become a planner.
An RTPI accredited degree. Subjects include:
- planning, environment and development
- city and regional planning
- urban planning and property development
To get onto a relevant degree you will usually need five GCSEs (A*-C), and at least three A levels. Check exact entry requirements with course providers as other qualifications may be accepted.
With the support of your employer, you could qualify as a planner whilst working in a related role such as planning technician or support staff. You would combine practical experience from your job with part-time or distance learning study towards an accredited qualification.
Volunteering and work experience is a great way of getting a taste of what it is like to work in planning. Contact your local council or planning organisation to ask about opportunities.
- Degree or a postgraduate qualification accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)
- Five GCSEs (A*-C)
- At least three A levels