Planning is “the application of foresight to action,” something which could apply to any human endeavor. The profession of planning that has emerged over the last century focuses on the needs of places and the people who live in them. The built environment, in particular, needs planning, and this activity takes place at a range of scales from the local to the global. Planning as a profession has origins in architecture, civil engineering, public health, and the progressive social movements of the latter half of the nineteenth century. It represents a response to the environmental, human health, social, and economic crises caused by rapid urbanization. U.S. urban planners trace their professional roots back to a founding conference in 1909, although planning activities naturally go back to the dawn of urban civilization. If asked, planners often say that they strive to improve the population’s quality of life and ensure graceful transitions as places change.
Andrews, C.A. “Planning”. Encyclopedia of Environmental Science and Engineering, Sixth Edition, Volume 2. Edward N. Ziegler, editor. CRC Press. 2012. Chapter 64:1005-1007.