Opportunities for ‘planners’ are immense

Smart Cities – the phrase is increasingly being heard now. The Central government is vigorously promoting this concept in its urban development policies.

‘Smart Cities’ or smart settlements are ones which allow for sustainable living, development and growth of population in the area, with provision for adequate basic requirements to meet the needs of its inhabitants. The current trends worldwide and especially in India, clearly exhibit extensive plans for establishing more smart cities. But it needs comprehensive planning. Planning is an efficient and methodical process of preparing for the sustainable future of neighbourhoods, rural areas, cities, metropolitan areas, and even the country following the ‘smart’ concept. Urban and regional planners use their professional skills to aid communities to overcome social, economical, environmental, and cultural challenges. Planners primarily take up the task of determining the best use of the city’s land and resources and to determine and plan for the requirements for the present and the future population. They are in charge of planning for efficient transportation systems, community development and redevelopment, improved environmental and public utility systems, etc. They also prepare master plans for cities, legislations, economic and industrial policies, land use zoning regulations, industrial parks, etc. In short, planners aim to provide citizens with a city with improved quality of life.

Urban Planning Education

Urban planning education is the practice of teaching and learning urban theory, studies, and professional practices. Planning is generally a broad interdisciplinary field, which has roots in architecture, engineering, management, environment, economics, geography, sociology, etc. The Institute of Town Planners, India (ITPI), promotes quality education in urban planning, practice of urban planning, to regulate the law and practices regarding planning. Undergraduate or bachelor's degrees in planning are mostly of four years. Many institutes also offer postgraduate or masters programmes as well. The most common streams of specialisation offered in India are - Urban planning, Regional planning, City planning, Housing, Heritage conservation, Project management, Transportation planning, Environmental planning and Infrastructure planning. An aspirant would primarily require critical thinking and analytical skills, practicality, collaborative skills, research skills and sound communication skills. With the fast rate of urbanisation , the need for planners would increase manifold. A RICS Research, March 2013, says that by 2020, the urban population in India would reach 500 million, with a requirement of about a mind-boggling figure of 95 billion sq ft of real estate space between 2010 and 2020. In India, there are only about 25 colleges with an annual capacity of about 700 every year. Thus, by 2020, there is expected to be a shortage of 1.1 million planners only for urban India. This very figure emphasises the need for more planners.

Employment opportunities

Career paths in planning are extremely diverse. A degree in planning will help one get work in government agencies, private organisations and even non-profit agencies. Those in the public sector, work for the city governments - the municipalities, and other quasi-government organisations. International organisations such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, UNESCO, WHO, etc. also employ planners. Private consulting firms and multinational corporations (MNCs) also offer employment to planners.

The writer is Associate Professor, Aurora’s Design Academy, Hyderabad.

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Printable version | Jan 12, 2021 6:38:26 AM |

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