In 2015, Frankfurt was adjudged the most sustainable city in the world, as per a new ranking presented by the consultancy Arcadis’ Sustainable Cities Index. A sustainable city can be defined as one that functions without causing difficulties for either the citizens or the environment in the future. Frankfurt’s environment department announced that as much as 50 percent of the city is green. A large part of the city – which comprises of landscapes like woodlands, meadows, grasslands, gardens, parks, grass verges and water bodies – has been designed with an aim to minimise carbon footprint.
As a system that concerns the development and designing of land, sustainable town planning can be described as a process that supports an effective functioning of resources, including transportation, communication and distributed networks without bringing about issues that can adversely affect the environment. Effective planning, to this end, includes considering the requirements of people and the environment and, at the same time, understanding the limitations of development. For example, in an endeavour to establish natural habitats and maintain biodiversity (key facets to our continued existence), it is important that town planning identifies the limitations of development. Today, there is a growing need for innovative strategies that rely on effective land use and minimise damage to natural resources. Sustainable town planning aims at converting land spaces into healthier and salubrious neighbourhoods.
To serve the sustainable town planning domain, one should possess a broad skillset that comprises of attributes like keenness to be up to date with the current trends, exhaustive knowledge of environmental issues in order to devise innovative solutions and passion to build better places. In addition, one should have excellent negotiation and communication skills to consult with stakeholders and parties as well as interact with developers and professionals, including architects and surveyors. The ability to effectively evaluate planning applications and attention to detail to understand findings, being up to date with policies concerning designing of spaces, carefully analysing data, and designing layouts and landscapes and drafting statements are handy skills that professionals in the sustainable town planning sector should possess.
Pursuing a specialised program in sustainable town planning will broaden one’s knowledge base in regional planning and enhance their skillset in areas including, but not limited to, design making, finance, policy development, and planning law and legislation.
Graduates of sustainable town development can apply for jobs within, both, private and public sectors. Career opportunities exist in private planning consultancies, where one can serve as an advisory and/or consultant to organisations concerning planning schemes. Furthermore, prospects are also available in housing associations, neighbourhood planning organisations, private developers, utility companies and retail businesses
A variety of roles – including housing manager and officer, town planner, inspector/conservation officer of historical buildings and structures, and transportation officer – exist in the public spectrum. In addition to planning, design and development, jobs are also available in areas like transport, environmental consultancy and economic development. Some of the other jobs in the domain include, but are not limited to, community development worker, landscape architect, sustainability consultant civil service administrator, environmental manager and planning and development surveyor.