Town Planning can be difficult to get into so if you’re considering a career in Town Planning, it helps to get some advice. Below, I have laid out what a career in town planning looks like and the education, experience and skills you need to build your career in this rewarding role.
What is Town Planning?
Town Planning has everything to do with the construction of our built environment, within both the public and private sector. Before anything is built, it will likely need to go through the planning process and there are many aspects that will influence whether or not something can be built; including social, economic, environmental and aesthetic factors. Planners help to physically shape a place for the better and have a positive impact in society. They are dedicated to developing a more sustainable environment whilst also having a positive impact on the local economy; working closely with communities through neighborhood planning to meet their needs.
Example of the work of a town planner or urban planner can be seen in Singapore city, Singapore. The sovereign city state of Singapore, located in South East Asia, is also the only island city state in the world. With its well-developed infrastructure, its perfectly designed neighborhoods and public spaces, this is an incredibly well planned city indeed.
Another example can be seen in Zurich, Switzerland, The largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich, this picturesque city is located at the northwestern tip of the Lake Zurich. This is a city that is connected to the the countryside, with a well functioning transport system.
Another example can be seen in Seoul, South Korea, The capital of South Korea, this is a metropolis teeming with modern skyscrapers, high tech subways as well as relics of the indigenous culture, like old markets and Buddhist temples. The great magnitude of the city, as well as its efficient transport system, adds cohesion to this conglomeration.
The planning profession is dynamic. The dynamism involved in the profession therefore give rise to series of opportunities to young breeds of this profession. Generally, planning can be seen as the art of organizing series of plans through to the stage of execution. This therefore suggest that aside from the known fact that planners are generally responsible for not only drawing of layout for cities alone but as well as catering and proffering solutions for the physical, social, health and economic disorderliness in our environment. Every leading organization needs a level of planning which brings about the idea of planning units in institutions such as banks, ministries, oil companies and other parastatal.
A classification of job prospects in town planning can include:
Professional town planners are known for impacting knowledge and tutoring others to take after them. Hence, they take job at educational institutes of learning as an assistant lecturer, lecturer, technician and professor. In addition, every educational institution has their physical planning unit where planners are employed to oversee planning and development activities.
Private Practice And Consultancy
Today, private practice and consultancy though below 50% of the total job absorption of planners, it is still growing fast as many registered town planners are setting out private firms. After satisfying all necessary requirements, you could go head long to practice as consultant wherewith you handle projects for private clients or corporate institutions such as banks, oil companies and private developers.
As at today, government institutions seeks to employ more planners at every employment channel in the environmental industry. This owes to the fact that planners are always needed and greatly indispensable in policy formulation of every development and government institutions. These institutions include: The federal and state ministries of environment, lands and housing, works, transport, the state urban and regional planning board, national emergency management authority, local planning authorities.
The armed forces seem not to be left out of the scope and extent of employment opportunities. Basically, planners are employed in these forces to perform their professional duties. For instance, the designing of residential settlements for the armed forces as well as housing scheme are been carried out by professional planners. Otherwise, the use of applicable software to help generate important information about locations, war zones e.t.c. (mapping with GIS, population characteristics) for different use of the armed forces.
Expatriate and INTL Organization
Majorly, we work as consultants or managers. Here, planners wealth of knowledge and experience is needed to manage such organizations and institutions. Most times, it is more of an appointment than employment. These organizations include UNDP,UNFPA,UNEP,UN-HABITAT and others.
What education & experience do you need?
Typically planners will have a degree in urban and regional planning and undertake tutelage for two years after which he/she will then write a professional examination to become a professional town planner. However, this level of education isn’t mandatory and not all existing and successful planners have gone down this route.
Whatever your level of education, work experience is vital for getting your foot in the door of this industry. We know that work experience, either at a private consultancy or government, is greatly valued by employers – not only can it get you into the industry, it can show great initiative and drive if you want to work your way up.
Another route into town planning is to take an entry level job in Local, State or Federal Government Planning Ministries or Department . This would allow you to obtain a good knowledge of council procedures which would help you transfer into a planning job later on.
Soft skills are always highly sought after in this market, the use of recent softwares in the industry will definitely increase your chance of getting a good job. Employers in the planning industry are seeking reliable, approachable and diplomatic candidates who have strong attention to detail, good time management and organizational skills and the willingness to work hard.
As town planners are frequently dealing with the public and clients, you’ll need to demonstrate an understanding of both sets of concerns and have to think strategically to make a decision that will benefit both sides.
Building a career in town planning can be stressful but at the end of the day it can also be rewarding.