City planners help design cities and make such determinations as the height of buildings, the width of streets, the number of street signs, and the design and location of street “furniture” (everything from bus stops and lampposts to newsstands and wastebaskets). Deciding how a city is set up involves creativity, and a career in city planning demands the knowledge of basic engineering principles, the ability to compromise, political diplomacy, and financial acumen. Strong analytic skills and sheer force of will are required to be a successful urban planner. Every building or structure must be designed with an understanding of its relationship to other elements of the city, such as coordinating the construction of water and power facilities, while still allowing people access to light, heat, and fresh water, or designing housing complexes that will be close to public transportation. Aesthetic design, another feature that the planner must consider, can be the subject of hot debate. The urban planner has to design with an understanding of the policies of the city and create economically viable plans. This last consideration factor can be difficult—urban-planning projects nearly always run over budget and past deadline, and even the most frugal design can be expected to run into opposition from some quarter. The planner begins by surveying sites and performing demographic, economic, and environmental studies to assess the needs of the community and encourage public participation in the process. If the planner is redeveloping an area (as opposed to groundbreaking or landfilling it), he or she must evaluate existing buildings and neighborhoods before determining what can be done to change the standing structures. During these phases, planners work closely with economic consultants to formulate a plan that makes sense for both the economy of the region and the residents. The next step is to create maps and designs. When the architects draft plans for the construction of bridges, radio and telephone towers, and other large pieces of infrastructure, the urban planner works closely with them. The planner does substantial research regarding zoning and landscaping laws. Occasionally, urban planners must also design or refurbish the town’s zoning regulations on building usage, in the manner that is best for the region. He meets with community groups to obtain information on transportation and land usage. Financing is a delicate aspect of the profession, which requires that the planner unite 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.