The Roles and Responsibilities of Town Planners

Town planners help private planning companies, communities, developers, municipalities, city managers and others decide on the best way to use available land and buildings in developing towns and growing cities. They develop plans for the current and future use of land, growth, and renewal with a keen focus on sustainability and the environment. Planners need to ensure that they monitor relevant legislation so that all existing and new projects comply with rules and regulations.

Town planners do not construct buildings. However, they do recommend where and how buildings should be built, how they fit into the local ambience of an area and what they should be used for. They may also be called upon to make recommendations regarding fund allocation for programmes and projects or regarding zoning regulations to address health and socio-economic challenges.

Town Planners Are Wearers of Many Hats and Bearers of Many Names

Also known as urban designers, spatial planners, land use planners, urban developers and others, town planners must wear many hats, often at the same time. Not only do they have to effectively accomplish the roles and responsibilities already mentioned, but they have a host of other hats to wear, which include:

  • Presenting to committees and meetings on planning proposals.
  • Recommending conditional approval, approval or denial of plans or proposals.
  • Protecting areas, zones and buildings that are of architectural, historical or environmental importance.
  • Preparing and assessing applications for land use and plans for new buildings.
  • Earmarking suitable land for appropriate development and ensuring its availability.
  • Determining the effects of regulatory constraints on projects.
  • Conducting feasibility studies of proposals and identifying any necessary changes.
  • Managing and leading different projects simultaneously.
  • Ensuring that communities have access to their places of employment, homes and public facilities such as hospitals, municipal offices, law enforcement and schools, for example.
  • Most importantly, communicating with communities, holding public meetings and providing local government, lawyers, developers, the public and other interested parties with advice to develop community and land use plans.

Who Else Do Urban Developers Consult With?

Planners work in conjunction with local and national government departments, politicians, local communities and community leaders, and town committees and city managers. This includes communicating with residents, both young and old, families, schools, shops, and local businesses. They also need to consult with professionals in the construction industry such as architects, consulting engineers and builders.

These roles and responsibilities form part of a much greater scope of work that town planners call a normal day at the office. If you or your local community need assistance with any of the above functions or would like to know more about additional services, consider consulting with award-winning leaders in the industry, The Practice Group. It’s just another day at the office.