What is a town planner or urban planner?

15 November 2015

Posted in: Town planning

What is the difference between a town planner and an urban planner? Essentially there is no difference, these are just two commonplace terms for the same profession. There are actually a few others also such as regional planner, statutory planner and strategic planner. We find it easier to refer to ourselves as town planners as we operate across both urban and regional areas.

There is often a misconception that a town planner or urban planner actually plans or lays out our cities and towns.  Town Planners can have influence on how these areas are developed, but only on a strategic level if they are involved in writing state or local government policy.  However, that is only a small portion of what Town Planners do, with most being involved in development assessment or development control. 

Most Town Planners either prepare or assess development applications. For most Town Planners their influence is most evident in the subdivision process, where a new suburb might be proposed, or guiding a developer in preparing an appropriate development proposal. For the most part, Town Planners influence the urban fabric of our cities one site at a time, from development to development, and many would argue that most of us don’t actually plan anything at all.

Town Planners mostly submit development applications as consultants or assess development applications as a Town Planner employed by the state or a local government. At Consult Planning, we help our clients with due diligence by identifying development opportunities and constraints, preparing and submitting development applications and obtaining development approvals.

Town Planners also exert influence as active members of professional organisations such as the Planning Institute of Australia who lobby government on behalf of the industry as advocates for good planning outcomes.

Find out about our town planning services.