A town planner is the person who determines what a town and its citizens need to thrive. He conceives and develops strategies that he believes will benefit the most people in the most cost-effective ways. Some town planners work in conjunction with other local or regional planners to devise plans that may cross-benefit citizens in adjoining neighborhoods and districts.
Planning a town is generally considered to be an extremely challenging task. Since a town planner is typically changing or upgrading an existing town rather than planning a new one, his first task is normally to decide what features and systems are successful as they are. Once the positives have been established, he customarily moves on to areas he feels could be improved.
Common goals of a town planner often include better land management, improved public transportation, better streets and roads and slum renovation. Building recreational parks or improving existing ones is a regular goal of a town planner. Upgrading outdated public utility systems, such as water, electricity, natural gas and underground telecommunications structures, are often the focus of his renovation plans.
A town planner typically introduces his reformation strategies by presenting general ideas and progressing to specific ones. He may get his proposals in motion by holding a town meeting to entertain comments and suggestions from the citizens on general areas of concern. He may offer his own ideas or merely listen and take notes on the ideas proposed by others.
Before a town planner draws up any official proposals for public review, he normally conducts detailed research of the town’s history and its demographics. His investigation typically reveals the city’s past triumphs and challenges in project administration and land development. Demographic information generally provides him with information vital to planning for his town’s present needs and future growth.
Once his information is complete and organized, the town planner usually presents his proposals to local government entities, such as planning commissions or urban growth boards. This may be done in a private setting or a public forum. Some areas hold town meetings to allow the citizens to review the plans and provide immediate feedback to the commission and planner.
Educational requirements for the position of town planner vary by region. A significant number of towns require at least a bachelor’s degree in regional planning or urban development. Some towns require a master’s degree in a subject related to town planning. Background in city, town or community planning is helpful when applying for this position.