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Love Cities? Enrol in an Urban Planning Degree!

Love Cities? Enrol in an Urban Planning Degree!

Urban planning is all about the design of cities. Urban planners are considering issues such as population growth, demographics, sustainability, safety and more when they create plans for the future of the city. It is a great degree and career for anyone with interdisciplinary interests, especially a love of cities, design, and policy.

Degrees in urban planning

Urban planners in Canada typically have both a master’s and a bachelor’s degree. The bachelor’s degree could be in a variety of fields such as geography, environmental design, economics, politics or geographic information science. It could likely be in other majors as well, but those ones, in particular, are quite suited to future careers in planning.

In Canada, many professional planners have additional certification. To get this, they must complete an accredited planning program, so be sure to check that your master’s program is accredited. As of today, there is only one bachelors degree program in SFU’s Resource and Environmental Management Planning stream.

What you will study

In your master’s program, you’ll study a combination of courses in urban sustainability, community development, urban governance, transportation planning, and many research and studio-based projects. You may also complete a thesis during your masters depending on the program you’re in.

During your masters, it is likely that you’ll have many opportunities to work in the field, whether in an internship, exchange abroad or as a research assistant. All of this experience is incredibly valuable to your learning as well as your future career.

What skills you’ll develop

As an urban planner, you will develop a set of interdisciplinary and valuable skills that will prepare for your career as a planner. These include the skills below, amongst others:

  • Public engagement
  • Knowledge of land-use regulations
  • GIS software use
  • Microsoft software use
  • Climate and sustainability knowledge
  • Trend analysis
  • Statistical analysis
  • Architectural knowledge
  • Municipal governance structure knowledge

Urban planning careers are interdisciplinary and involve a wide range of other areas – such as governance, architecture, sustainability, and technical mapping. The more knowledgeable you are about the aspects of urban planning, the better you’ll be in your careers.

Career options

Urban planners 

Urban planners work with designing the land-use of cities or regions. They are planning to accommodate growth, environmental changes, communities themselves and to revitalize physical facilities within the city ore region. Urban planners may also be further concentrated and focusing on transportation networks, LEED-certified architecture, or municipal planning.

  • Salary: $90,743 annually according to Neuvoo.

Emergency response planners


Emergency response planners assess hazards and determine the emergency response of the municipality or region in order to ensure the least amount of damage to property and people takes place. They may examine possible evacuation routes, reinforcing infrastructure or limiting hazard exposure through mitigation processes.

  • Salary: $60,577 a year according to Payscale.

GIS technician 

Geographic information science technicians prepare maps and visualizations to represent all types of geographic phenomena. They assemble all types of data in maps in order to portray key information concerning planning, the environment or health for example. Translink transit maps, for example, are created using GIS software.

  • Salary: $63,882 annually according to Neuvoo.

Careers in urban planning are in-demand, rewarding, and come with a great salary! This could be your major if you love cities, architecture, policy and the environment. In Canada, you can take the urban planning program in many schools such as Fanshawe CollegeUniversity of SaskatchewanHumber College, and KPU. Plus, the field is diverse so you could work in a variety of areas related to planning, such as architecture, mapping, transportation networks and more.
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