Instead of building castles in the sky, do you spend time day-dreaming up your own city? A major in Urban and Regional Planning would prepare you to develop and maintain city and community centers around the world. City planners are responsible for planning the buildings, roads, parks and utilities of cities and urban centers. They also address issues of city sprawl, endless traffic, few natural spaces, and a lack of reliable public transportation.
Your course load will depend on the college you choose. Common courses in this major can range from topics such as economics, architectural principles, management, drafting, law and geographic information system.
If you think you would enjoy learning and applying principles of planning, analyzing, and architecture to developing and improving urban areas, this may be the major for you. A career as a city, community or regional planner is for someone who takes pleasure in understanding how social, economic, and political systems work together. Students will rely on the principles of architectural design in order to create communities that are eco-friendly and appealing to its residents. This is done by designing public transportation, affordable housing, and comfortable and environmentally friendly buildings.
Critical assessment and problem identification are necessary skills for this major. It is also imperative to be able to evaluate and come up with strategies to fix problems and implement solutions. Students will need to be strong thinkers with an interest in correcting present problems and avoiding problems in the future. The idea is not to provide a Band-Aid to an issue, but to actually fix it in order to create livable and healthy environments for communities all around the world. Students should be prepared to build physical models and designs as well as models on the computer.
With a degree in Urban and Regional Planning a student can go in many different directions. They can become a land use and code enforcement planners, transportation planners, environmental and natural resources planners, economic development planners, and urban design planners. With so many different focuses, it really allows the student to pick what interests and inspires them.
In order to become a city planner a master's degree is necessary. Most programs will accept undergrads with a degree in a range of topics, such as economics, geography, political science, or environmental design. Depending on what interests you, the graduate program you pick will focus on the issues that mean the most to you. The growth rate of this occupation is increasing due to population growth and the green movement.
Graduates with a degree in City/Urban, Community, and Regional Planner average $39,674 as a starting salary with a mid-career salary of $74,436.
Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Urban and Regional Planning might open up.