Urban Planner

Urban Planner

Urban planners develop long- and short-term plans for the use of land and the growth of urban, suburban, and rural communities and the region in which they are located. They help local officials by recommending locations for roads, schools, and other infrastructure and suggesting zoning regulations for private property. This work includes forecasting the future needs of the population.

Low-end Salary: 
Median Salary: 
High-end Salary: 

Most entry-level jobs in Federal, State, and local governments require a master’s degree from an accredited program in urban or regional planning or a related field. A bachelor’s degree in mathematics, economics, geography, political science, or environmental design is especially good preparation.

Math Required: 

College Algebra
Calculus I and II
Number Theory

When Math Is Used: 

Urban designers use math as they design the arrangement, appearance, and functionality of towns and cities, and in particular, the shaping and uses of safe public space. Also, urban designers use mathematical models to forecast the future needs of a group of people.

Potential Employers: 

About 68 percent are employed by local governments. Companies involved with architectural, engineering, and related services, as well as management, scientific, and technical consulting services, employ an increasing proportion of planners in the private sector. Others are employed in State government agencies dealing with housing, transportation, or environmental protection and a small number work for the Federal Government.


Although contemporary professional use of the term 'urban design' dates from the mid-20th century, urban design as such has been practiced throughout history. Ancient examples of carefully planned and designed cities exist in Asia, India, Africa, Europe and the Americas, and are particularly well-known within Classical Chinese, Roman and Greek cultures.

Quote Of The Day

Steven Altschuler is an architect in the research division of Microsoft Corporation. He has built a research team of three Ph.D. mathematicians and one statistics graduate student.

"As manager of the group, it is my job to make sure from an architectural viewpoint that what we're working on is theoretically sound and fits into the scheme of what Microsoft wants. My group's task is to make computers less stupid. Notice I didn't say 'smart,' because I'm not sure computers will ever be smart."

— Steven J. Altschuler

Microsoft Corporation


Urban Planner

I talk to a lot of people who think that math is just a string of formulas, equations, and rules that someone just made up.   They think that if you want to be good at math, you should memorize all the formulas and follow all the rules, just the way the teacher tells you, and then you get an “A.”   Boring!  No wonder so many people ask, “When will I ever use this math?”

Luckily math is not just about memorizing formulas and rules....

previous posts