Urban planning is a technical and political process concerned with the use of land, protection and use of the environment, public welfare, and the design of the urban environment, including air, water, and the infrastructure passing into and out of urban areas such as transportation, communications, and distribution networks. Urban Planning is also referred to as urban and regional, regional, town, city, rural planning or some combination in various areas worldwide.
Urban planning guides and ensures the orderly development of settlements and satellite communities which commute into and out of urban areas or share resources with it. It concerns itself with research and analysis, strategic thinking, architecture, urban design, public consultation, policy recommendations, implementation and management.
Urban Planners work with the cognate fields of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering, and Public Administration to achieve strategic, policy and sustainability goals. Early urban planners were often members of the these cognate fields. Today urban planning is a separate, independent professional discipline. The discipline is the broader category that includes many different sub-fields such as land-use planning, zoning, environmental planning, and transportation planning.
Planning and architecture went through a paradigm shift at the turn of the 20th century. The industrialised cities of the 19th century had grown at a tremendous rate, with the pace and style of building largely dictated by private business concerns. The evils of urban life for the working poor were becoming increasingly evident as a matter for public concern. The laissez-faire style of government management of the economy, in fashion for most of the Victorian era, was starting to give way to a New Liberalism that championed intervention on the part of the poor and disadvantaged. Around 1900, theorists began developing urban planning models to mitigate the consequences of the industrial age, by providing citizens, especially factory workers, with healthier environments.
Planning Theory is the body of scientific concepts, definitions, behavioral relationships, and assumptions that define the body of knowledge of urban planning. There are eight procedural theories of planning that remain the principal theories of planning procedure today: the rational-comprehensive approach, the incremental approach, the transactive approach, the communicative approach, the advocacy approach, the equity approach, the radical approach, and the humanist or phenomenological approach.
Technical Aspects of Urban Planning involve the applying scientific, technical processes, considerations and features that are involved in planning for land use, urban design, natural resources, transportation, and infrastructure. Urban planning includes techniques like predicting population growth, zoning creating geographic mapping and analysis, analyzing park space, water supply, identifying transportation patterns, food supply demands, allocation of healthcare and social services, the ability of citizens to use the urban environment and the impact of land uses.
An urban planner is a professional who works in the field of urban planning for the purpose of optimizing the effectiveness of a community's land use and infrastructure. They formulate plans for the development and management of urban and suburban areas, typically analyzing land use compatibility as well as economic, environmental and social trends. In developing their plan for a community (whether commercial, residential, agricultural, natural or recreational), urban planners must also consider a wide array of issues such as sustainability, air pollution, traffic congestion, crime, land values, legislation and zoning codes.
The importance of the urban planner is increasing throughout the 21st century, as modern society begins to face issues of increased population growth, climate change and unsustainable development. An urban planner could be considered a green collar professional[clarification needed].