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CITY PLANNER: Using His Love Of Drawing And Designing To Build Neighborhoods

About this video 

David, a City Planner for Oakland, CA, takes his vision for how to improve a city and then works with citizen groups, architects, and politicians to make it happen.

Degree: City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning
Job Title: City Planner
Employer: City of Oakland, CA

Job Summary: Urban and Regional Planners

Job Description

Urban and regional planners identify community needs and develop short- and long-term plans to create, grow, or revitalize a community or area. For example, planners may examine plans for proposed facilities, such as schools, to ensure that these facilities will meet the needs of a changing population.

As an area grows or changes, planners help communities manage the related economic, social, and environmental issues, such as planning a new park, sheltering the homeless, or making the region more attractive to businesses.

Some planners work on broad, community-wide plans, while others focus on specific issues. Ultimately, all planners promote the best use of a community’s land and resources for residential, commercial, or recreational purposes.

When beginning a project, planners work with public officials, community members, and other groups to identify community issues or goals. Using research, data analysis, and collaboration with interest groups, planners formulate strategies to address issues or meet goals.

They also may help carry out community plans, oversee projects, and organize the work of the groups involved. Projects may range from a policy recommendation for a specific initiative to a long-term, comprehensive area plan.

Planners use a variety of tools and technology in their work, including geographic information systems (GIS) tools that analyze and manipulate data. GIS is used to integrate the data with electronic maps. For example, planners may use GIS to overlay a land map with population density indicators. They also use statistical software, visualization and presentation programs, financial spreadsheets, and other database and software programs.

On-the-Job Training

Short-term on-the-job training

Additional Info

As of 2011, New Jersey was the only state that required planners to be licensed, although Michigan required registration to use the title “community planner.”

Certification Requirement
Certification is voluntary but can help you get a job.

Quick Facts

Average salary
Average salary
National Statistic Change Location
$40,000 - $95,000
Projected job growth
Projected Job Growth
10 to 20 percent
Typical schedule
Typical schedule
Typical workplace
Typical workplace
Indoor, Office, Outdoor
Personal qualities
Personal Qualities
Analytical skills, Problem solving skills, Teamwork, Verbal communication skills, Written communication skills, Detail oriented, Organizational skills

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P3.instances[0].transcript.parse_transcript_data({"transcript":"<p><span m='0'>Hi.</span> <span m='499'>My name is</span> <span m='998'>David Ralston,</span> <span m='1497'>and I'm</span> <span m='1996'>a</span> <span m='2495'>city planner</span> <span m='2994'>for the</span> <span m='3493'>city of</span> <span m='3992'>Oakland,</span> <span m='4491'>California.</span> <span m='4990'>A</span> <span m='5489'>city</span> <span m='5988'>planner</span> <span m='6487'>is</span> <span m='6986'>someone</span> <span m='7485'>whose</span> <span m='7984'>job is</span> <span m='8483'>to help</span> <span m='8982'>design</span> <span m='9980'>and</span> <span m='10479'>define</span> <span m='10978'>how</span> <span m='11477'>a</span> <span m='11976'>city grows,</span> <span m='12475'>how it's</span> <span m='12974'>managed,</span> <span m='13473'>where</span> <span m='13972'>things</span> <span m='14471'>are</span> <span m='14980'>located,</span> <span m='15340'>where</span> <span m='15700'>buildings are</span> <span m='16193'>located,</span> <span m='16686'>what the</span> <span m='17179'>city's</span> <span m='17672'>going to look like.</span> <span m='18165'>Basically,</span> <span m='18658'>it's</span> <span m='19151'>like an</span> <span m='19644'>architect</span> <span m='20137'>for the</span> <span m='20630'>city,</span> <span m='21123'>thinking about</span> <span m='21616'>how to make</span> <span m='22109'>a better</span> <span m='22602'>city.</span> </p><p><span m='23095'>And</span> <span m='23588'>on your</span> <span m='24081'>typical</span> <span m='24574'>days,</span> <span m='25067'>you meet</span> <span m='25560'>with your</span> <span m='26546'>fellow</span> <span m='27039'>workers.</span> <span m='27532'>You think</span> <span m='28025'>about</span> <span m='28518'>plans.</span> <span m='29011'>You're thinking</span> <span m='29504'>about how</span> <span m='29997'>you're going to</span> <span m='30490'>develop</span> <span m='30983'>plans.</span> <span m='31476'>We</span> <span m='31969'>talk</span> <span m='32462'>to citizen's groups.</span> <span m='32955'>We</span> <span m='33448'>talk</span> <span m='33941'>to</span> <span m='34434'>citizens,</span> <span m='35420'>politicians,</span> <span m='36406'>and we try and</span> <span m='36899'>come up</span> <span m='37392'>with a plan of</span> <span m='37885'>how we're</span> <span m='38410'>going</span> <span m='38740'>to</span> <span m='39070'>make</span> <span m='39370'>a</span> <span m='39670'>section</span> <span m='39970'>of the</span> <span m='40270'>city</span> <span m='40570'>bigger.</span> </p><p><span m='40870'>A</span> <span m='41170'>lot</span> <span m='41470'>of</span> <span m='41770'>times</span> <span m='42070'>we</span> <span m='42370'>hire</span> <span m='42670'>architects</span> <span m='42970'>and</span> <span m='43270'>designers</span> <span m='43570'>and</span> <span m='43870'>they</span> <span m='44170'>help</span> <span m='44470'>us</span> <span m='45670'>develop,</span> <span m='45970'>for</span> <span m='46270'>example,</span> <span m='46570'>a</span> <span m='46870'>street</span> <span m='47170'>or</span> <span m='47470'>a</span> <span m='47770'>building.</span> <span m='48370'>And</span> <span m='48670'>we</span> <span m='48970'>spend</span> <span m='49270'>a</span> <span m='49570'>lot</span> <span m='49870'>of</span> <span m='50170'>time</span> <span m='50470'>thinking</span> <span m='50770'>about how</span> <span m='51070'>that's</span> <span m='51370'>going to look.</span> <span m='51670'>And then</span> <span m='51970'>there's</span> <span m='52270'>a</span> <span m='52570'>lot of</span> <span m='52870'>details</span> <span m='53470'>and</span> <span m='53770'>bureaucracy,</span> <span m='54070'>but</span> <span m='54370'>that's</span> <span m='54670'>the</span> <span m='54970'>gist</span> <span m='55270'>of</span> <span m='55570'>it.</span> </p><p><span m='55870'>When</span> <span m='56170'>I</span> <span m='56470'>was</span> <span m='56770'>the</span> <span m='57070'>age of</span> <span m='57370'>you</span> <span m='57670'>guys in</span> <span m='57970'>high school</span> <span m='58270'>I was</span> <span m='58570'>really</span> <span m='58870'>interested</span> <span m='59170'>in</span> <span m='59770'>drawing</span> <span m='60070'>and</span> <span m='60670'>designing.</span> <span m='60970'>So</span> <span m='61570'>my</span> <span m='61870'>first</span> <span m='62170'>love was</span> <span m='62470'>to be an architect</span> <span m='63070'>to</span> <span m='63670'>design</span> <span m='63970'>houses.</span> <span m='64570'>But</span> <span m='64870'>then</span> <span m='65170'>I thought,</span> <span m='65470'>you</span> <span m='65770'>know,</span> <span m='66070'>a</span> <span m='66370'>house is only</span> <span m='66670'>as</span> <span m='66970'>good as</span> <span m='67270'>the surrounding</span> <span m='68170'>neighborhood</span> <span m='68470'>that</span> <span m='68770'>it's</span> <span m='69070'>located</span> <span m='69370'>in.</span> </p><p><span m='69670'>So</span> <span m='69970'>then</span> <span m='70270'>I</span> <span m='70570'>wanted to</span> <span m='70870'>think,</span> <span m='71170'>how can we</span> <span m='71770'>design</span> <span m='72070'>neighborhoods</span> <span m='72370'>and</span> <span m='72670'>think</span> <span m='72970'>about</span> <span m='73570'>larger</span> <span m='74170'>segments.</span> <span m='75070'>And</span> <span m='75370'>as</span> <span m='75670'>I</span> <span m='75970'>got into</span> <span m='76270'>school,</span> <span m='76570'>I</span> <span m='76870'>discovered</span> <span m='77470'>that</span> <span m='78070'>city</span> <span m='78370'>planning</span> <span m='78670'>is</span> <span m='78970'>actually a</span> <span m='79270'>career</span> <span m='79570'>path</span> <span m='80170'>I</span> <span m='80470'>didn't</span> <span m='80770'>about</span> <span m='81070'>in</span> <span m='81370'>high</span> <span m='81670'>school.</span> <span m='81970'>There's</span> <span m='82270'>actually</span> <span m='82570'>a lot</span> <span m='82870'>of different</span> <span m='83170'>types</span> <span m='83470'>of jobs in</span> <span m='83770'>city</span> <span m='84070'>planning,</span> <span m='84370'>so</span> <span m='84970'>I'm</span> <span m='85270'>happy</span> <span m='85570'>I made</span> <span m='85870'>that</span> <span m='86170'>decision.</span> </p><p><span m='87670'>You</span> <span m='87970'>always</span> <span m='88270'>wish you</span> <span m='89170'>know</span> <span m='89470'>more</span> <span m='89770'>stuff,</span> <span m='90370'>but</span> <span m='91870'>as</span> <span m='92170'>far</span> <span m='92470'>as</span> <span m='92770'>advice,</span> <span m='93370'>I</span> <span m='93670'>think</span> <span m='93970'>really</span> <span m='94270'>to</span> <span m='94570'>find</span> <span m='95470'>people</span> <span m='96670'>who</span> <span m='96970'>really</span> <span m='97270'>love</span> <span m='97570'>their</span> <span m='97870'>job</span> <span m='98170'>and</span> <span m='98470'>their</span> <span m='98770'>professions.</span> <span m='99070'>And</span> <span m='99370'>kind of</span> <span m='99670'>get</span> <span m='99970'>people</span> <span m='100270'>as</span> <span m='100870'>mentors</span> <span m='101170'>and</span> <span m='101770'>shadow</span> <span m='102070'>them</span> <span m='102370'>and</span> <span m='102670'>follow</span> <span m='102970'>them around,</span> <span m='103870'>because</span> <span m='104170'>there's</span> <span m='104470'>a lot of</span> <span m='104770'>jobs</span> <span m='105070'>out there</span> <span m='105370'>you don't</span> <span m='105670'>know</span> <span m='105970'>about</span> <span m='106270'>in</span> <span m='106570'>high</span> <span m='106870'>school.</span> <span m='107170'>You might</span> <span m='107470'>have</span> <span m='107770'>to go</span> <span m='108070'>through</span> <span m='108370'>college</span> <span m='108670'>and</span> <span m='108970'>then</span> <span m='109270'>graduate</span> <span m='109570'>school,</span> <span m='109870'>you don't</span> <span m='110170'>get to it.</span> </p><p><span m='111670'>Enjoy</span> <span m='111970'>it.</span> <span m='112270'>Go</span> <span m='112570'>to</span> <span m='112870'>college.</span> <span m='113170'>Enjoy</span> <span m='113470'>your</span> <span m='113770'>under</span> <span m='114070'>graduate</span> <span m='114370'>degrees.</span> <span m='114970'>Do</span> <span m='115270'>something</span> <span m='116470'>pretty</span> <span m='116770'>broad,</span> <span m='117070'>but</span> <span m='117370'>then</span> <span m='117670'>think</span> <span m='117970'>about</span> <span m='118570'>what</span> <span m='118870'>you want</span> <span m='119170'>to do</span> <span m='119470'>that you</span> <span m='119770'>have</span> <span m='120070'>a</span> <span m='120370'>passion</span> <span m='120670'>for,</span> <span m='120970'>and</span> <span m='121270'>usually that</span> <span m='121570'>will be</span> <span m='121870'>the best</span> <span m='122170'>course.</span> <span m='123370'>There are</span> <span m='123670'>a lot of</span> <span m='123970'>good</span> <span m='124270'>mentors</span> <span m='124570'>out there,</span> <span m='124870'>so</span> <span m='125170'>find</span> <span m='125470'>those people.</span> </p>","file":{"id":195518,"video_id":"2707680236001","name":"60910243","duration":126357,"thumbnail_url":null}});