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Urban and regional planner

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Summary of occupation

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.

ANZSCO description: Develops and implements plans and policies for  the controlled use of urban and rural land, and advises on economic,  environmental and social factors affecting land use.
Alternative names: Environmental Planner, Planner, Spatial Planner
Specialisations: Land Planner, Resource Management Planner (NZ), Town Planner, Traffic and Transport Planner
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A town planner needs:

  • good analytical and problem-solving skills
  • good communication skills
  • organisational skills
  • understanding of social economic, environmental and cultural issues
  • mediation and negotiation skills
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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.

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Salary details

On average urban and regional planners can expect to earn between $1,500 to $1,749 per week ($78,000 and $90,999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for and their level of experience. 

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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.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

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. Learn more about your study options.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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Urban Planner Video Urban Planner Occupation

Develops and implements plans and policies for the controlled use of urban and rural land, and advises on economic, environmental and social factors affecting land use.

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