If you had your way, would a town just consist of some boring old highrise buildings? Do you dream of an eco-town? Dreams do come true with hard work and the right career choices. The next generation of towns and cities are down to you, we need visionary town planners, don't we? Town planners shape the way our towns develop. Town planning involves spatial planning which looks at the demands place on land. This could mean weighing up the balance of housing, commercial building, transport and leisure needs.
Town planning makes sure plans meet the economic and social needs of the community and it is moving on fast as we think green. This work covers aspects of planning and development, which are changing with the need to create affordable and energy efficient buildings. You could also be working on sustainability projects, which might mean managing transport growth, encouraging public transport schemes while developing parks, woodlands and waterways and creating more green space too. So what difference could you make?
As a town planner, you will be based in a planning office, but would be expected to travel to meetings or to visit sites. Work is often varied and can be flexible, as you might have to attend public meetings in the evenings and at weekends.
On a day to day basis you work on areas such as ruling on planning applications: enforcing planning controls, for instance on building work that has started without permission as well as hearing concerns about planning proposals from local people and businesses.
You are expected to have excellent communication, negotiation and presentation skills which you use for applying your knowledge of local planning policies and procedures. You need an ability to make fair judgements and be able to present your arguments and reasonings in reports. Most planning involves the use of CAD software and GIS systems as well as Excel spreadsheets and analysis systems. While you might be great with your iPad, you also need to be able to work with a wide variety of people from members of the public to other professionals. Most town planners work for government or local authorities and as a town planner you receive continuous professional development as you progress in your work.