Urban planner

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This is a page explaining the use of the Vitruv tools

The urban planner (in the context of the VITRUV concept tool) is a virtual entity, representing a team with various expertise and responsibilities, ranging from the professional urban planner to a city council elected representative and consultants on specific subjects, such as specialists on urban mobility or socio-economic appraisal.


This virtual entity is the actor in the urban planning process and represents urban society as a whole, with particular attention being on people, places and their interaction within the urban system.

The urban planner can be engaged in a public and/or private capacity and, as part of standard activities, commonly engages with numerous stakeholders in the performance of its goals and objectives (regarding a plan or project). Urban planners guide the formation and design of cities and urban areas. This process involves creativity, engagement, political diplomacy, ability to compromise and strong analytical skill application. The process uses technical tools such as demographic analysis and environmental impact assessment etc.

The urban planner uses tools to guide urban formation and design with an understanding of the policies of the city and create economically and environmentally sustainable/viable plans and projects.

The urban planner has significant input into the formation of urban land use zones and the regulations and guidelines associated with those zones. The process of devising these zones in carried out alongside significant public consultation.

The urban planner must have consideration of the financial implications of urban plans and proposals and this requires that the urban planner balances social, budgetary, and developmental concerns to respond to the community’s need for progress, while still presenting a fiscally sound proposal to governments and private investors.

Typical goals and objectives

The primary obligation of urban planners is to serve the common good. Urban planners strive to advance the art and science of urban planning for the benefit of the citizens of the town or city and related environs and, while allowed to act as an advocate for a project, should always seek to secure the delivery of proper planning and sustainable development, pursue quality place making for people and respect diversity in cultures, ecosystems and the built environment.

Some of the typical goals/objectives of the urban planner include:

  • Creating policies and objectives to control and guide the optimal growth of the city or urban area, in a sustainable, socially and economically progressive manner, that facilitates quality of life and safety for all citizens;
  • Managing development and helping to create affordable housing;
  • Playing a role in regenerating socially-deprived areas and creating new jobs;
  • Designing towns and cities to include attractive buildings, vibrant public spaces and successful commercial and retail activities (healthy and dynamic urban areas);
  • Working to protect the wider urban environment;
  • Helping to bring back historic buildings into sympathetic use;
  • Creating policies for managing traffic and providing sustainable solutions to transport needs;
  • Improving energy efficiency and cutting carbon emissions in homes, factories and businesses;
  • Engaging communities to have a say in how their living space is developed and protected to improve their quality of life.

Main stakeholders in urban planning

Stakeholders refer to actors with a specific interest (which may be expressed or not) in the development of an objective, policy or measure. So stakeholders include a wide array of public and private organisations (municipalities and authorities, universities and institutes, associations, enterprises, chambers etc.), individuals (politicians, experts etc), and the media and, of course, the public (citizens and visitors to the city or urban area). Stakeholders can be organisations or individuals. There can be simple reasoning applied to identify stakeholders, and there are practical steps to progress and encourage stakeholder involvement.

Possible stakeholders in an Urban Environment
Government Business Communities Others
European Union National Business Associations National Environmental NGOs Universities
Department of Environment/Planning Major employers Trade unions Experts
Other National Departments Private Financiers Media Research Specialists
Regional Authorities International/National Business Local Authority Forums End-user or Ultimate Building Occupier
Local Authorities/Municipalities
(Departments include: planning, housing, transport, environment, water & sanitary, and community & recreation etc)
Regional/Local Business Local Community Organisations
Proximate Urban Area Authorities Retailers Local Interest Groups
Transport Authorities Utilities Companies Citizens
Law Enforcement Contractors Visitors
Politicians (Councillors) Urban Planning Consultants Citizens in Proximate Urban Areas
Other Decision Makers Developers Disabled People
Partnership Bodies Landowners
Project Managers Parents/Children
Professional Staff Elderly Persons
Emergency Services
Health and Safety Executives

The Urban Planners need for security information

The Urban Planner needs security information to:

  • Ensure the provision of a secure environment for its citizens and the use of security information will allow the urban planner to continually respond to the ever changing security threats that arise;
  • Assist in identifying local security issues and how to assess the answers to respond to them;
  • Identify a direct route to the most pertinent security aspects in a project or scheme;
  • Make a balanced consideration of the impacts of possible security solutions on other dimensions of the project or scheme;
  • Allow urban planners to better consider perceptions and ideas of risk and vulnerability, while utilising the society of information to advocate more secure city/urban environments;
  • Formulate appropriate security strategies, design standards and guidelines, at the city, quarter and group-of-buildings level, supplemented by means of implementation (including financial/economic, human and technical aspects);
  • Identify relevant actors (stakeholders) that should be consulted/engaged with in devising and implementing security public policies, and to facilitate community-building where necessary;
  • Formulate appropriate evaluation system or security policies.

Depending on whether the urban planner is pursuing an Integrating or Segregating approach, the need for security information may vary.

Integrating approach Segregating approach
Objectives Open, incorporating and assimilating urban environment to reduce threats Emphasise the strengthening of boundaries and the separation of areas in the urban environment to reduce opportunities for threats
Principles Surveillance; visibility; image and aesthetics; symbolic thresholds Minimise shared public space in residential areas; territoriality and defensible space; target hardening; access control
Interventions Mixed land use; 24-hour use; celebration of street; higher densities (better built form and building typology); accessible, smaller parks; symbolic (rather than actual) boundaries; open or pedestrian friendly roads and sidewalks; entrances onto streets; buildings overlooking public space; etc. Hard boundaries between public and private space; single use territories; separation of land uses; Target hardening (high fences, secure gateways, steel shutters...); access control such as restricted road access; avoidance of through pedestrian routes in neighbourhoods; limiting multiple access points; CCTV cameras; parking lot barriers; entry phones, PIN numbers, visitor check-in booths; etc.

Urban planners need a greater appreciation and awareness of where best to funnel scarce resources to the most necessary areas (either geographic areas such as regeneration projects, or subject areas, such as introducing security assessment procedures at pre-planning stage). The Concept Tool consisting of a Risk Assessment Tool and associated Knowledge Base, in the form of this Securipedia is specifically designed to support the urban planner and fulfil his demand for information and, if needed, guidance on the area of security.