Specialization: Land Use

Historically, land use planning formed the core of the planning profession and provided more planning jobs than any other specialization. Some land use planners create comprehensive plans to guide all aspects of development, while others work in the day-to-day administration of zoning ordinances and subdivision regulations. Land use planners also develop financing plans for the delivery of future public services, and evaluate the diverse impacts of proposed residential, commercial, or industrial development.

Most land use planners work directly for public agencies, but a substantial number also work for consulting firms that provide services to the public and private sectors. All land use planners work to integrate the full range of planning activities in urban design, housing, economic development, transportation, environment, and information systems in order to create cities that are efficient, fair, and sustainable places.

In recent years, land use has emerged as one of the key components of sustainability. Land use decisions have direct and massive impacts on water quality, air quality, biodiversity, energy consumption, and nearly every other aspect of sustainability. Land use planners can be found in the forefront of debate over many of the great planning issues of the day, including fighting sprawl, encouraging smart growth, pursuing neo-traditional development, preserving greenspace, and enabling sustainable development.