What Skills Do Planners Need?
Skills of Successful Planners
In addition to a formal educational background, planners possess a unique combination of skills that enhance their professional success.
Because planning is a dynamic and diverse profession, individual skills vary depending on a planner's role and area of specialization, but successful planners typically demonstrate the following:
- Knowledge of urban spatial structure or physical design and the way in which cities work.
- Ability to analyze demographic information to discern trends in population, employment, and health.
- Knowledge of plan-making and project evaluation.
- Mastery of techniques for involving a wide range of people in making decisions.
- Understanding of local, state, and federal government programs and processes.
- Understanding of the social and environmental impact of planning decisions on communities.
- Ability to work with the public and articulate planning issues to a wide variety of audiences.
- Ability to function as a mediator or facilitator when community interests conflict.
- Understanding of the legal foundation for land use regulation.
- Understanding of the interaction among the economy, transportation, health and human services, and land-use regulation.
- Ability to solve problems using a balance of technical competence, creativity, and hardheaded pragmatism.
- Ability to envision alternatives to the physical and social environments in which we live.
- Mastery of geographic information systems and office software.