Urban Planners


“There is no logic that can be superimposed on the city; people make it, and it is to them, not buildings, that we must fit our plans.” 

-          Jane Jacobs


Urban Planning is the process of coming up with strategies and plans that aim on using urban land in the best possible manner so as to create cities and settlements that are environment friendly, sustainable, beautiful, organized as well as safe for its residents. Professionals working in this field are called Urban Planners. They use their multi – disciplinary knowledge to deal with problems that have come up due to the unplanned expansion of cities such as sanitation, pollution, transportation, safety etc. Urban Planners also work on coming up with plans for entirely new cities where such problems will not exist. Their aim is to create a city that is functional and organized and caters to the different needs of its residents.

Choosing Urban Planning as a career is an excellent career option. Due to the unplanned growth of cities, there is a plethora of problems that the authorities have to solve, from sanitation to beautification. Urban Planners become essential to this process of improvement by coming up with plans that will help solve these problems for the future without causing inconvenience to the residents today. The demand for Urban Planners is constantly increasing and the career offers fantastic growth opportunities. Urban Planners are hired by Government Organizations, Private Developers and Architectural Firms.  Whereas Urban Planners who work for the Government focus more on welfare and solving problems related to the design of the city, Urban Planners working in the private sector focus more on creating an ideal plan as per the specifications and desires of the client.


What do Urban Planners do?

The work of an Urban Planner involves research, strategic thinking, economics, architecture and urban design. Urban Planners work to achieve different objectives, such as accommodate population, revitalize area or attract business. No matter what the objective of the plan might be, their work always involves looking after the welfare of the residents and improving their lives in one way or the other.


One of the most important tasks that Urban Planners perform is to meet clients, developers and public officials and identify the goals that are to be achieved through the plan. This includes understanding various viewpoints and figuring out the main problems that are to be solved through the plan.

Urban Planners are required to collect data from various sources as a part of their research as it is very important for an Urban Planner to know about all the factors that might affect his decisions and alter the plan. These sets of data include information of various topics like population, climate, topography etc.

Conducting Field Surveys is an important part of the job of an Urban Planner. This includes visiting the various sites that are of prime concern in the plan and observing the various factors that can prove to be a hindrance in the process of development. A lot of Urban Planners decide the plan only after such field visits so as to make sure that their plans are practically possible and beneficial to all residents.

The most important part of an Urban Planner’s job is to come up with sustainable plans that will help create a healthy, safe and organized environment for the residents. These plans aim to solve the major problems of the city that can range from transportation to safety. They include the blueprint of how the city is going to function after the proposed changes.

Creating layouts and design statements is another important aspect of the job of an Urban Planner. Various computer drafting software like Auto CAD is used by Urban Planners to come up with these layouts that include that highlight the different aspects of the city including transportation, residential and commercial complexes etc.

Urban Planners also create strategies and policies that ensure that the developments take place in the desired manner. These strategies focus on ensuring that these strategies are not misused and actually end up helping the residents live better lives. The main aim of these strategies is to ensure that ‘sustainable’ development takes place.

Another important part of the job of an Urban Planner is staying up to date regarding the various laws, regulations and rules that will affect the plan. These rules might be related to construction, transportation or any other aspect of Urban Planning. It is the responsibility of the Urban Planner to ensure that his/her plan does not violate any law.


How to become an Urban Planner?


In order to become an Urban Planner, you need to study as many subjects as possible. Math, Science and Social Studies are extremely important till your 10th class. After which, you should ideally choose Science so as to be eligible for Undergraduate courses in Planning, Architecture or Design.

You will need to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Planning or Architecture to get into Urban Planning. This will be enough for entry level jobs but you might require a Post Graduate Degree with a specialization in Urban Design, Transportation Planning or Healthcare Planning etc. This will help you gain further knowledge in this vast field. It is to be kept in mind that most Urban Planners choose to be active in all fields including transportation, health, design etc. rather than just one.

Urban Planning requires experience, industry knowledge and exposure. The dynamics of the profession are such that there is no scope for mistakes. This is the reason working as an intern or a trainee in organizations during your education period is very important. These internships will help you expand your knowledge base and also teach you about industry codes and conventions as well as give you vital experience of working on a very big scale.

Learning Software Designing programs such as Auto CAD is extremely important if you want to be an Urban Planner as the whole basis of the plan is based on your design for the city. Proficiency in such software will help you communicate your ideas in better and accurate ways.

Keeping up to date with laws, rules and regulations that affect the job of Urban Planning is extremely important. This will help you create plans and strategies that will not violate any laws and still prove to be beneficial for a wide range of residents or your client.

To become an Urban Planner, you need to train yourself to start thinking for the future. You should know about all the different issues that a city/town can face and should also be able to predict the issues that it will have to deal with in the future. Thinking about present and futuristic issues will help you come up with concepts that will act as remedies for these problems and help create better cities.



There are many excellent institutions in India that offer great courses in the field of Urban Planning. The School of Planning and Architecture is one of the premier institutes in the country. It offers a Bachelor’s degree in Planning as well as a Master’s of Planning degree in Urban Planning/Transport Planning/Regional Planning/Housing. It also offers a Master’s of Architecture degree in Urban Design. Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra also offers a Master’s of Planning degree in Transportation Planning/Urban Planning. IIT Roorkee also offers a great Master’s  degree in Urban and Rural Planning. IIT Kharagpur also offers an excellent post graduate course in City Planning. You will be awarded a Master’s in City Planning degree upon completion of the course.


What are the skills required to become an Urban Planner?

Urban Planners have multi – disciplinary knowledge and are experts in the field of planning and finding practical solutions to big problems. Urban Planners are required to have excellent analytical skills, which will help them derive inferences from their research and determine the basic root cause of the problem. They need to have the flexibility and adaptability to work in teams as well as work independently. They should have great decision making and problem solving skills. Urban Planners are required to have exceptional communication skills so as to understand people’s problems and persuade them as to why your plan will help eradicate problems. They are also important for understanding the requirements of your clients and explaining your plans to them efficiently. They should prioritize sustainability and should be honest and determined individuals. Urban Planners need to be able to think for the future and use their excellent designing skills to create plans that are suitable for the present as well as the future. They should have a detailed idea about the rules, regulations and laws that are related to their profession. In addition to that, Urban Planners should have excellent IT and software skills so that they can create accurate plans. Most importantly, they should have a genuine desire to create beautiful cities that are good for residence and business purposes.


Is this the right career for me?

Urban Planners spend most of their lives sitting in front of computers analyzing research and creating plans. They are also required to travel to locations and sites to conduct research. They work for regular hours but have to constantly adhere to deadlines. It is a career that involves a lot of collaboration with people from different educational backgrounds. Urban Planners have to e very responsible and accountable for the plans they create, and often lead stressful lives. On the other hand, they are well paid and the career offers excellent opportunities for the growth and success.

If deadlines, designs, collaborations and travelling do not appeal to you, then this might not be the right career for you. But if you’re interested in the world of design, architecture and planning, and if you want a job that offers great growth opportunities while also offering you a chance to be able to make a difference in people’s lives, then this is your perfect job.

Entrance Exam


Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams, follow their interests & curiosities and see the opportunities in life's setbacks-- including death itself.