Career Profile: Urban Planner

View the PDF version of this fact sheet PDF,  787 KB

Urban Design and Planning

Urban Design and Planning jobs are inherently diverse and interesting. Once you start in either role, you can take many pathways to shape a truly unique career. Some people may become Planners, others might become Designers, and some do a combination of the two.

What is an Urban Planner?

An Urban Planner is responsible for assessing the use and development of land to plan how cities function in the future. Urban planners focus on the interaction between people, the places they live, and the policies that make sustainable cities and liveable communities. Urban Planners might also be known as town planners or city planners.

What might an Urban Planner do?

  • Develop strategic documents that work through legislation and complex laws regarding development plans and land use
  • Prepare documents to obtain approvals to allow a project to proceed
  • Protect and enhance cultural heritage, plants and animals to avoid destruction and loss
  • Provide planning advice to the community, developers, architects and building designers, engineers, and other related professionals on their projects.

What is an Urban Designer?

Urban Designers explore the design and planning of public spaces, such as town centres, main streets, public parks and even the incorporation of skate parks or basketball courts. Urban Designers consider the social, economic, aesthetic and environmental issues involved to develop the best design solution. This role shouldn't be confused with that of an Architect or Landscape Architect.

What might an Urban Designer do?

  • Layout and design public spaces in towns and cities
  • Develop documents and plans to advocate the best outcomes for people, their communities, and the environment
  • Meet regularly with contractors, Landscape Architects, Architects, Engineer, Government official, Environmental Planners and Urban Planners to identify community goals or issues and formulate strategies to address them
  • Identify community needs to develop long-term plans to create, grow and revitalise a community or area .

Who might it suit?

Urban Designers and Urban Planners share similar goals and attitudes. You could be suited to either role if you:

  • Work well in a team
  • Can work through complex tasks in a pragmatic way
  • Are a creative thinker and have a great imagination to problem solve in creative ways
  • Have strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Can read and interpret complex documents
  • Like to drive change and evolution in the community

How do these two roles work together?

Urban Planners and Urban Designers work closely with one another to ensure that appropriate action is being taken to preserve the past while enhancing the future liveability of our cities. These roles might vary in each organisation, but both have a presence in government organisations and privately owned companies. What remains the same is the close collaboration and working nature of both jobs.

Where and when is the work?

This work for both roles is office based with the occasional site or out-of-office visits to gather relevant information and meet stakeholders that influence the strategies that you work on.

What is the pay?

In 2023, entry-level roles for both start around $72,000 with the potential to earn more as you gain experience.

What should I study?

Most Urban Planners and Designers are required to complete a bachelor's degree in Urban Planning. You may also be able to follow a pathway into the industry having studied a Bachelor of Economics, Geography, Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Environmental studies, or Engineering to name a few.

Career path opportunities

Career path opportunities for Urban Planners

Contact us

If you have any questions or are interested in finding out more, please contact us:

Email address: