The challenge this urbanized world poses is the substance of the planning profession. Planners are dedicated to developing innovative approaches to managing cities and planning their development. The constructive management of change is at the heart of the profession. Planning is growing in importance throughout the country, and the number of planners is rising rapidly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were an estimated 38,950 planners in the U.S. in 2009, up from 18,500 planners in 1990 as counted by the U.S. Census, and a 200 percent increase in that time frame. At the same time, the number of architects decreased from 157,000 in 1990 to an estimated 101,630 in 2009, a decrease of 35 percent.
Planners often work in local governments and communities, but their concerns are issues that affect the world - land use, social policy, historic preservation, transportation, housing, economic development, policy planning, environmental protection, urban design and international development. Planners are visionaries working for a better future through improvements in the quality of life in one or more of these areas.