Planning is a profession with the primary purpose of improving the communities in which we live. Planners look not only at existing conditions and problems, but also develop a vision, with goals and strategies, of what a community could be in the future. Planning deals not only with physical development, but also social and economic improvement of our society. It looks at the issues of urban cities and rural communities, housing, environmental protection, historic character, economic development, improvements to our transportation system and social policies.
Good planning gives direction to civic leaders, businesses and citizens to make meaningful decisions for the long term and how best their communities can grow into that future, while allowing for essential services to be provided in the near term. Planning is done not only by trained professionals working in the public sector for planning departments or in the private sector for developers; planning is also done by lay persons who volunteer on local committees or commissions, including a planning commission, zoning board of appeals or historic district commission.