Planning is a profession that builds communities, protects the environment, enhances economic value and improves the choices for where and how people live, work and spend their leisure time.

With so many simultaneously moving parts and sometimes millions of people all going about their lives, working, shopping, learning, building and socialising, it is amazing that towns and cities function. To find out how and why they work the way they do, you need to go behind the scenes, to where the planning profession lives.

Planning (sometimes called ‘town planning’ or ‘urban planning’) is the process of making deliberate decisions to achieve desired outcomes in the use of urban space and resources.

Planning does this by:

Societies are complex and diverse, with many needs and sometimes conflicting views and desires. In their role, planners’ must balance these needs. To achieve this, planners work closely with other professionals such as engineers, architects, surveyors, lawyers, economists, developers, politicians and scientists in an effort to make and inform good decisions in the public interest. Shaping our community’s future is so important the entire profession is dedicated to it!

Day to day work involves writing reports, giving presentations, working with the community, modelling data and making lots and lots of maps! Bringing all of this information together, planners then do what they do best – they plan.

Planners specialise in a variety of areas, including:

  • Urban development and housing
  • Transportation networks
  • Natural hazards management
  • Environmental protection and resources
  • Rural and regional planning
  • Parks and recreation
  • Design and place making
  • Tourism, heritage and culture
  • Water (coastal, fresh and stormwater) management

Places planners work include:

  • Central and local government
  • Developers and the private consultancies
  • Non-government organisations (such as charities or interest groups)
  • Iwi and Maori organisations
  • Academic institutions such as universities and techs

As global demand increases for resources and human activity leads to further environmental degradation, planners are gaining widespread recognition for their important role in addressing these challenges by advocating and planning for the wider public interest.

To learn more about how you can get involved in the planning profession, check out our Planning as a Career section.

Click here