Urban and Regional Planning: Academic Requirements, Professional Outlook

Urban and Regional Planning

Urban and Regional Planning concerns the maintenance and enhancement of the quality of life for people in cities and regions. It requires a multi-disciplinary approach, and includes environmental planning and assessment, economics, social factors, and geography and population studies. Urban and Regional Planning are often found within architecture departments, since planners and architects work closely together in development projects.

Urban and Regional Planning is an important field because healthy, thriving cities and communities require careful planning to function and continue functioning well.

The Academic Requirements

Students will gain a broad understanding of natural, social and created environments and the issues affecting them. They develop the skills, knowledge and connections needed to promote active change in communities through proper planning initiatives. Courses will address the structure, functions, and history of cities and communities. Skills in planning will be taught; these include knowledge of computer programs, communication skills, cooperative problem solving, and data collection and analysis.

Some courses in ethics may be included, including social and environmental justice and mediation. They will also need to have an understanding of regional, state and Federal laws and the governing process.

Here are some courses that we've seen:

  • Principles of Macroeconomics
  • Urban Geography
  • History & Theory of Planning
  • Small Town Planning
  • Population Analysis
  • Land Use Planning
  • State & Local Government
  • Urban Economic Analysis
  • Social Planning Principles
  • Transportation Planning
  • Environmental Assessment
  • Community Development & Planning Theory
  • Community Development Finance
  • Introduction to GIS

Professional Outlook

Graduates of Urban and Regional Planning programs can work for government agencies, land development firms, consulting firms, community service organizations and non-profits, private industry, or schools.

There are many different kinds of jobs available. Some planners attend town meetings and work with politicians and developers to come up with plans. Others conduct research and analysis to determine the type of development needed. Some planners work to remediate or reduce environmental impacts of planning projects, and some work to create natural spaces, such as parks, within urban areas. Many planners work with architects. Some are transportation planners, designing effective transportation systems that are also good for the community.

Here are some job Urban and Regional Plannings that we've seen, including some of the organizations that offer them, all of which included a requirement for experience in Urban and Regional Planning:


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