As a qualified town planner I am often asked what is a town planner and what does a town planner do?
As a member of the planning fraternity I belong to a cohort of professionals such as Urban Designers, Strategic, Transport and Environmental Planners concerned with the design and development of land across urban and regional areas.
The planning profession develop and implement policy, plans and programs for the use of land to create communities, accommodate growth or revitalise facilities in urban and regional areas. At a strategic level a town planner can be involved in the process of laying out future land use plans, but this is generally the role of many other members of the planning profession.
There are many other role based terms used to describe a Town Planner including a Development, Urban or Statutory Planner. A ‘Development Planner’ suggests we only project manage proposals associated with development (i.e. construction of the built form such as a unit development or extension to an existing dwelling). An ‘Urban Planner’ implies we operate only in an urban environment (which is a narrow definition as planning also extends across urban and regional areas). A ‘Statutory Planner’ sounds a little too legalistic for me. I prefer the more commonly broader historical term ‘Town Planner’ as it encapsulates the diverse range of planning activities that can occur across our urban and regional areas.
So what does a ‘Town Planner’ typically do on a practical day to day basis? The principle role of most Town Planner’s put simply, is to prepare or assess planning applications. Town planners prepare and submit development/land use applications as consultants or assess applications as employees of local government or under special circumstances, state government.
Town planners are generalists with a diverse knowledge of the development industry. We have specialist knowledge and understanding of the plethora of planning requirements and regulations at both State or Local level. We endeavour to balance the aspirations of landowners and developers with the needs and concerns of the community and the policy framework which in Victoria is set out in a statutory document called a “Planning Scheme” (http://planning-schemes.dwelp.vic.gov.au/schemes/). We can also offer pre-application planning advice, application lodgement, VCAT advocacy and post-permit services.