What Is Planning?

Planning Provides a Vision for the Community Today — and What We Want Our Community to Be in the Future

The goal of planning is to maximize the health, safety, and economic well-being for all residents. This involves thinking about how we can move around our community, the businesses and attractions in our community, where we want to live, and opportunities for recreation. Most of all, 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 viewpoint 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.

Learn how planners are helping communities around the country today.

How You Can Participate

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.

Another option is to provide your input to help guide your community forward. Often planners will hold open houses or community sessions to gather resident input, ask questions and help prioritize community initiatives. Keep on eye on your planning department's website or even Facebook page for updates and notices.

If you'd like to take an even more active role, you can consider volunteering to serve on your community's planning commission.

Planning Commission

The planning commission is often composed of residents, either elected or appointed, that review and make recommendations on land use policies, development proposals, and long-range plans. Professional planning experience is not required to serve as a planning commissioner.