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What is Planning?
Planning Provides a Vision for the Community Today — And in the Future
The goal of planning is to maximize the health, safety, and economic well-being of all people living in our communities. This involves thinking about how we can move around our community, how we can attract and retain thriving businesses, where we want to live, and opportunities for recreation. Planning helps create communities of lasting value.
While architects often focus on a single building, a planner's job is to work with residents and elected officials to guide the layout of an entire community or region. Planners take a broad view and look at how the pieces of a community — buildings, roads, and parks — fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Planners then make recommendations on how the community should proceed. One of the greatest challenges for planners is to imagine what can and should happen to a community: how it should grow and change, and what it should offer residents 10, 15, or even 20 years into the future.
Planning is successful when it is inclusive and reflects the comprehensive values of the entire community. How can you get involved? Becoming a planner is one option.
Planning Is About Collaboration
Planning is a highly collaborative field, and planners spend much of their time working with others.
A planner's day may start with a staff meeting to discuss the management of a planning project. Other meetings might include a team meeting with engineers, architects, health professionals, and landscape architects to review the specifics of a plan. Yet other meetings might take place with developers as part of a pre-application process.
The planner's role is to provide the big picture and to relate the project to various goals and guidelines, such as ordinances or design review, to achieve a final project that meets the needs of the community. This might include appropriate design, environmental considerations, support for the local economy, or equitable access for all members of the community.
For more information about planning, visit the website of the American Planning Association.