Urban and regional planner

What they do

Planners create the plans and strategies for the use of land and resources in shaping towns, cities and regions. They consider the physical, environmental, social and economic needs of communities to develop plans that balance all of these requirements. These plans can cover a wide variety of areas including government policy recommendations, transport, disaster preparation, infrastructure and services, natural resources management and heritage and conservation.

Working conditions

Planners split their time between office work, site visits and attending meetings. When conducting site visits they may be working outside in all weather conditions and in a variety of environments, which could include undeveloped bushland. Because planners liaise with a number of groups, including government departments, community interest groups, land owners and other professionals, meetings may be held in an equally broad range of locations. Planners work in locations all around the state, though the biggest demand is in areas where there is a high population or strong demand for housing, particularly in the Perth metropolitan area and surrounding suburbs.

Tools and technologies

Planners use a variety of mapping and surveying equipment to gain a full understanding of a site, including aerial photographs, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and maps. In addition to the physical and environmental characteristics of a site, they also gather social and economic data through demographic surveying techniques and reports. When presenting plans to clients, community groups and other interested parties they will often use projectors, microphones and other audio-visual equipment.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become an urban and regional planner, you usually need to study a degree in urban and regional planning or a related area.

Most universities in Western Australian offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.