What is planning?

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With a growing global population and with more people migrating from rural to urban areas, planners must increasingly deal with urbanization and environmental issues, such as:

  • conversion of land from natural habitats to urban land use
  • creation, use, and preservation of natural spaces and parks
  • development of transportation networks and infrastructure
  • water and air quality

The term "Planning" refers to the scientific, aesthetic, and orderly disposition of land, resources, facilities and services with a view to securing the physical, economic and social efficiency, health and well-being of urban, rural and northern communities. Responsible planning has always been vital to the sustainability of safe, healthy, and secure communities.

Planners address problems of sparsely populated regions, parks and protected areas and resource hinterlands. In addition to land use questions, the profession involves:

  • planning social and community services
  • managing cultural and heritage resources
  • creating economic capacity in local communities
  • working internationally

What is a planner?

A planner is an educated professional who contributes to making better decisions about how the future of our communities will unfold - addressing the look, feel, and function of communities in concert with all levels of people and the environment.

Planners work for government, consulting firms, land developers, builders, community groups, non-government organizations, private industry, universities and colleges.

Planners are professionals who support the creation of vibrant and healthy communities, the connection of people and their environment, the preservation of natural and cultural heritage, and a heightened sense of place and respect for the emerging diversity of our communities.

What do planners do?

  • Planners help plan and design new communities, and developments within existing communities.
  • They help protect the natural environment as well as heritage buildings and neighbourhoods.
  • Planners help improve the existing conditions of urban areas.
  • Planners create programs and policies that benefit individuals and communities.
  • Planners assist in the creation, operation, and development of transportation infrastructure and systems - roads, transit, bikes and pedestrian ways - which allow for freight and people movements.
  • Planners advise city governments and private companies on environmental issues.

What do planners accomplish?

  • Planners organize land uses and related activities - Kitchener became the first city in Canada to pass zoning by-laws to establish where certain kinds of activities can take place.
  • Planners solve problems - post-World War II planning met the urgent need to rapidly build housing for returning veterans, and now help house new Canadians coming from around the world.
  • They respect the environment - through watershed protection and conservation strategies, natural resources are being protected and enhanced.
  • Planners make cities healthier - Planners are engaged in planning for cleaner environments and healthier lifestyles.
  • They raise awareness - towards our natural and built environment through promoting best practices.
  • Planners set a course for the future - Planners are key contributors to the Official Plans which guide the future of our communities.

Be part of a profession

Like architecture, engineering, and law, Planning is a professional program. People who have:

  • a university degree, usually in planning or a related area,
  • a minimum of two years of planning experience,
  • passed the examinations set by the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP), and
  • can use the professional designation MCIP (Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners) after their names and RPP (Registered Professional Planner)

Graduates and students are encouraged to join professional associations such as the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) and Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) to keep in touch with new developments within the profession by meeting practicing planners and receiving journals and newsletters.

Source: Canadian Institute of Planners