Ever seen how the buildings in Singapore are arranged? They are built in this specific manner to fully utilize the available land space while simultaneously allowing for a well-planned landscape. Do you think planning such a large city is an easy job? Absolutely not. It takes many people and a lot of time to draw out these plans. This is where city planning comes into the picture. In this article we are going to have a look at how city planning is done, what are the various types of city planning methods and the career paths you can choose as a city planner graduate.
What is it?
In simple terms, city planning is the process that deals with the most efficient designing and usage of land space. City planning is also known as urban planning, rural planning, regional planning and town planning. What term we use depends on the type of location we are concerned with, but they can be used interchangeably. City planners need to consider the existing establishments and plan how they can affect the city in the future.
It may seem as if the urban planners are always civil engineers, but this is not true. You see, urban planning is a complex activity and needs collaboration between various disciplines of work, like civil engineering, architecture and land engineering. Although urban planning mainly works for human settlements, it is also concerned with designing core services like water supplies, airports, shopping malls, parking spaces and enjoy parks.
Not only this, but urban planning is also used to determine and improve the quality of life in the cities. For example, you would probably not as a leather factory opened near your house. The harmful gases emitted from the factory are hazardous and will lead to poor health of residents. As an urban planner, it is your job to plan for the future and make sure you can avoid such situations as much as possible.
Talking about the above scenario, it becomes important to divide the city into zones. For example, we can divide a city into major three zones, namely Residential, Commercial and Industrial. This allows us to cluster them based on the activities so that no one interferes with the working of the other.
In all these, the most important thing that determines how well a city is planned is the budget and the economy. The larger your economy, the better the services you can provide to your residents. The best example of this is the water supplies. If you have enough funds to install large RO Treatment plants, you can ensure the supply of safe and clean drinking water, which will, in turn, improve the health of your people.
Degrees offered in the City Planning
To get good jobs in the field of city planning, you are going to need to have degrees. In this section, we are going to explore some of the various degree programs offered for city planning by various universities of the world.
Bachelor’s in Urban Planning
This degree is that has been designed to train the students the necessary skills needed for urban planning like designing and management of settlements. The course spans 4 years and aims to improve the modern planning techniques.
Master’s in Urban Planning
This degree is the next level of bachelor’s degree mentioned above. It lasts for about 2 years, which consists of the students applying the knowledge gained from previous courses. It is usually accompanied by a final year or a “capstone” project to award the degrees to concerned students. The internship is mandatory because before deploying the young planners into the real world, we need to make sure that they have sufficient experience in their field of expertise.
Masters of Supercities
Our world is slowly becoming more and more urban. New cities are created, while older cities continue to expand and become more advanced. The cities like Singapore and Dubai continue to amaze us by their breath-taking building designs and architecture. Masters of supercities aims to train the students to plan and design the cities of the future.
Master’s in Coastal Community and Regional Development
This degree has been designed to promote the development of rural and remote locations of the world. While it mainly targets the communities living in the Arctic and Atlantic regions, the concepts can also be applied to other regions as well. It aims to teach students the problems faced by the coastal communities, and apply the knowledge earned during the course.
5. Master’s in Transport Systems
After you graduate from this course offered by the University of Split, you are expected to think innovatively and create transportation systems of tomorrow. Effective and efficient transportation systems are necessary for the growth and development of any city. This process is quite complex and this course aims at teaching the aspirants how to tackle common problems faced during the designing and apply their minds to creating innovative solutions to these problems.
Companies prefer candidates with degrees from highly reputed colleges. If you want jobs for city planning in big companies, following are some of the best colleges where you can pursue your degree in:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
MIT needs no introduction. It continues to be number one in QS World Ranking for past 7 years. It may seem that MIT is good for science and technology degrees only, but MIT is more than technology. According to QS World Ranking for City Planning course, MIT again secures number one spot. MIT has got a master’s degree, named Masters in City Planning (MCP) and has been termed one of the best for city planning. It is evidently clear that getting your degree from here will result in a good job.
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley (UCB for short), is one of the ten universities in the collection of University of California system. It is an affiliated research university, founded in 1868, making it another oldest university. Having secured a rank of 27 in QS World Ranking, it makes it a good university to choose from. Its City Planning courses are famous for quality and content, like Master of City Planning and Bachelor of Regional Planning, to name a few; hence I would recommend checking out UCB.
University of North Carolina
The University of North Carolina is huge. Literally huge. It consists of 16 universities in North Carolina. The original campus is in Chapel Hill and has an enrollment of more than 150,000 students from all over the world. It ranks number 30 in QS World Ranking and is considered to be one of the best colleges for city planning courses. Its Department of City and Regional Planning handles the masters and bachelor’s degree courses and provides courses like Master’s in Landscape Architecture and Master’s in Environmental Sciences.
Another top-tier college in the world, Harvard University to don’t require any introduction. Located in Massachusetts, it is USA’s oldest institute for higher studies, established in 1636. It ranks number 3 in the list of QS World Ranking system, making it one of the best colleges you can join to obtain your degree. Harvard as Department of Urban Planning and Design which handles the city planning courses it provides like Master in Urban Planning and Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning.
Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Institute of Technology, or GIT for short, is a university located in Atlanta, Georgia. It is a big institute and has its branches in places like China, Singapore and Ireland. Securing a QS World Rank of 84 overall, it is quite a good college you can join to pursue your degree in city planning. Its Master of City and Regional Planning department, or MCRP for short, is given the task to plan and oversee its courses. The courses like Master in Transportation and Master of Land Use Planning are top quality and famous for the practical application of knowledge gained in theoretical classes.
Jobs after Graduation
City planning, as I said earlier, is a collaboration between various activities. Depending on the specialization course you selected in your degree, it can land you jobs specific to that field. Following are some of the common jobs which you can apply for as a city planner:
- Historic building inspector
- Local government officer
- Transportation planner
- Environmental manager
- Housing services manager
- Town planner
- Landscape architect
- Zone administrator
- Community planning and development officer
- City clerk
Future Opportunities in City Planning
As cities begin to grow, it becomes very important to manage the resources available. City planning has become an important part of the development of any city. Every city is going to need efficient city planners soon. It should be considered as a career which is going to be a gold grab in the future, and it would be a good idea to start developing your skills in architecture and designing to benefit from its future.