What Can You Do with an MA in Urban Planning?
Plan on Being Involved with a Master of Arts in Urban Planning
Urban planning is a profession that offers you the opportunity to direct the evolution of cities and towns in the 21st century. A Master’s in Urban Planning prepares you to be involved locally, nationally, and internationally in a variety of ways:
- Planning for sustainable communities
- Mapping out the effective use of land for regions, cities, neighborhoods, and rural areas
- Revitalizing existing cities
- Preserving historic areas
- Rebuilding devastated cities
- Helping solve the complex social, physical, and economic problems facing urban populations
Urban Planning is a Growing Career Opportunity
According to the United States Department of Labor, the outlook for careers in urban planning is positive. Between 2008 and 2018, employment in this field is expected to grow by 19%. In 2010, the national average annual wage for urban planners was $66,020. The U.S. Department of Labor also reported that job prospects will be best for urban planners with a master’s degree from an accredited program in urban or regional planning. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Urban and Regional Planners, http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos057.htm)
Help Sustain Our Natural Resources
With a Master’s in Urban Planning you can help society plan for a greener tomorrow, whether it be on a local, national, or international scale. Today’s urban planner works to balance the growing needs of a community with the reality of sustainable development. Wise urban planning can lead to efficient use of land and natural resources, reduce dependence on automobile transportation, and provide for more equitable housing and living environments.
Promote Economic Activity and Revitalize Cities
Cities and towns need revenue to function and deliver services to their residents. According to ACSP.org, urban planners have the opportunity to encourage economic development in a number of ways. They can promote job creation through new construction of housing and commercial spaces, or they can plan how to breathe new life into declining neighborhoods and business districts. A focus on historic preservation can also enhance a community’s tourism industry, which may in turn create an image or brand for that community that planners can use to attract new business. An advanced degree in Urban Planning can allow you to understand your community’s vital signs and ensure that it achieves or maintains economic vitality.
Help Rebuild Devastated Cities and Plan for Resilient Communities
Wars and natural disasters have devastated many cities and uprooted whole populations. As conflicts ease and normalcy returns, residents and urban planners are left to rebuild roads and other infrastructure and reintroduce public services. In some cases, areas of historic significance need to be preserved while still paving the way for modern development. From rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina to a proposal to reconstruct large areas of Kabul, Afghanistan, planners can play a key role. As sea level rise and subsidence affects cities from New Orleans in the United States to Jakarta in Indonesia, these impacts can significantly compromise a range of resources such as developable land, traffic routes, and safe drinking water. Planning expertise plays a key role in offering creative solutions to mitigate these impacts, resulting in more resilient communities.
The actions of urban planners have profound and lasting effects on people’s lives. When you think about the economic, environmental, or even aesthetic well-being of your city, chances are planners played a major role in shaping it. With an MA in Urban Planning, you too can have an important role in how your community grows into the next century.