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Town and country planners organise our environment to make it a better place in which to live.
Town planners are great verbal and written communicators and they have a great deal of knowledge about all types of architecture and infrastructure, and their effect on the environment.

What does an urban/rural planner do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Planners manage our towns and countryside on everyone's behalf. They have to encourage development for the purpose of economic growth while at the same time protecting our environment and architectural heritage.

Their main role is to balance various needs (those of the environment, the local economy and the local population) and to come up with innovative solutions. There are also opportunities for planning support staff, who assist planners in their work.

  • understanding population trends, to predict the demands that will be made on an area, whether urban or rural
  • working with other professionals, such as architects, landscape architects, civil engineers, construction managers and surveyors
  • liaising with the public and councillors, attending public meetings about planning issues, such as proposals for a new road or school
  • knowledge of the legal issues associated with land use
  • making policies and implementing them
  • working both indoors and outdoors and presenting evidence at meetings
  • objectively analysing and evaluating other peoples' evidence
  • preparing reports and plans relating to a variety of projects – from house extensions to international airports

Typical employers of town and country planners

  • Local councils
  • National government
  • Private consultants
  • Property owning charities such as the National Trust and English Heritage
  • Property developers

Qualifications and training

Some positions will require or desire candidates to be a chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (MRTPI). They can do this by taking an Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). Candidates can do this via an RTPI accredited undergraduate or postgraduate degree, although only ‘combined’ degrees automatically lead to chartered membership. ‘Spatial’ and ‘specialist’ accredited degrees will require further study.

Due to the nature of the authority, it is important that applicants can drive and have access to their own transport (mileage expense paid for site visits, etc).

Key skills for town and country planners

  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Project management
  • Teamworking skills
  • Research skills
  • Ability to work on a number of different problems at once

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