Community planning (sometimes referred to as urban or city planning) is the profession that concerns itself with the design and functioning of communities, including cities and their suburbs, small towns and rural villages. Given our campus’ reasonable proximity to the Twin Cities and our focus on experiential learning, we are able to utilize place-based learning to help students understand firsthand the challenges faced at the rural-urban fringe of a growing metropolitan region.
Planners focus on the future of the community. They employ a comprehensive approach to identifying a community’s goals and vision, assess its strengths and weaknesses, and propose plans and solutions that help all members of the community.
Planners are actively engaged in many aspects of the community, including:
- Working to create communities with a ‘sense of place’ that people feel connected to, and building economic stability while minimizing the negative impacts on the natural environment.
- Focusing on the future of the community. They employ a comprehensive approach to identifying a community’s goals and vision, assess its strengths and weaknesses, and propose plans and solutions that help all members of the community.
- Given that communities are complex places, planners learn to understand the environment, the economy, law and politics, transportation and energy systems, urban design, public finance, social needs and issues, and physical facilities such as buildings and infrastructure.
According to the American Planning Association, median annual wages for community planners was $70,000 in 2010. The middle 50 percent of planners earn between $55,000 and $90,000 per year. The strongest correlation to salary is experience, with another key variable being the nature of the employer. Additionally, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment of urban and regional planners is expected to grow 16 percent from 2010 to 2020. Population growth and environmental concerns will drive employment growth for planners in cities, suburbs, and other areas.