Today’s Urban Planners are Vital to Our Communities

Today’s cities are more complex than ever, and urban planners are experiencing challenges that they’ve never before faced. If you are going to school to become an urban planner, you must be aware of all of the things that you will be required to do as part of your future job. Here are the considerations that you will be required to take as part of your new career:

1. Aesthetics

There are a variety of aesthetic concerns that surround urban planning, especially as the amount of people outnumbers the availability of housing. Land must be managed in such a way that it is best utilized to meet the needs of the growing community. Zoning laws have historically prevailed when it came to urban development; today, people are concerned not only with proper zoning, but with clutter in the immediate environment. People want to live in an area that is aesthetically pleasing, not in an environment that feels claustrophobic.

2. Safety

The environment and weather needs to be considered when planning a city. Tornadoes, floods, hurricanes and other tropical storms can level a city quickly if it is not planned properly. An urban planner must not only take these factors into consideration, but must also provide for secure evacuation routes from the city. Additionally, an urban planner will need to design levees, shelters and retaining walls when necessary for the safety of the public.

3. Transportation

Moving people about in any urbanized setting can be a challenge. Urban planners are tasked with the job of figuring out ways to best transport people in a dense environment. One of the solutions that urban planners have come up with is to center the majority of jobs around transportation hubs, enabling people to get to and from work easily. In many cities, multi-level apartment buildings are built just blocks from train and subway stations, while single-family homes are built further away.

4. Environmental Concerns

As the world moves forward with its green initiative, urban planners must find ways to construct safe cities that are environmentally-friendly. This may mean building with renewable materials, using alternative forms of energy to power buildings and encouraging public transportation by making it a convenient option. As buildings begin to encroach upon public spaces, urban planners must not only design buildings for people to live and work in, but strive to maintain as much green space as possible.

5. Light and Sound

Light and sound pollution are very real problems for larger cities, particularly the mega-cities found in Asia. The glare produced by too-much lighting can be dangerous for drivers, and both sound and light can be an annoyance if not kept to a minimum. Urban planners must take both into consideration when planning new environments.

If you are studying urban planning in college, you have an exciting career ahead of you. Not only will you be responsible for designing and building cities, but you’ll also be responsible for transportation, aesthetics and protecting the environment. Never before has urban planning been so all-encompassing and challenging. You’ve chosen an incredibly exciting, innovative field to enter.

About the Author:
Amy Brighton is a full-time writer for higher ed blogs and journals nationwide with a focus on online education opportunities. Several schools offer degrees in public administration, including onlinempa.usfca.edu and www.nyu.edu.

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