top tools for city planners

Top tools for city planners – the 2024 ready list

We at PlanMan are religious about optimising processes, workflows, and resources that architects and city planners spend.

The less busy work you do, the better you are at the strategic stuff that truly moves the needle and helps your business grow.

That is why, as a city planner, you should use the most effective, convenient, and intuitive tools possible to streamline and automate whatever can be streamlined or automated.

We’ve focused most of our blog posts on architects until now, but the project management software we designed is also meant to help city planners. Let’s review some urban planner tools to make your work and life easier.

Productivity tools for urban planners

City and urban developers work on complex projects that require precision and absolute attention to detail. This is where productivity tools come into the picture. These software products help not only streamline the planning process but also significantly increase productivity, letting urban planners work smarter and more efficiently. 

Time tracking and management will help you understand how you apply effort and spend resources – check out our post on time tracking tools for city planners

Our client communication software is beneficial since it keeps your communication with stakeholders and contractors in one place. There’s nothing worse than looking for someone’s opinion over several email accounts and messengers.

Using a project management platform is vital for productivity, and you can either go with generic project management tools like Asana or Trello, or try the professional project management software we’ve developed specifically for architects and urban planners.

Document management tools are also a must since it’s so easy to get lost in versions. PlanMan has a document management module created to cater to city planners’ needs.

Remote work tools for urban planners will help you stay mobile and flexible – and they come in extremely handy in the post-COVID world, where more and more organizations switch to online collaboration from physical offices.

Drafting, drawing, and sketching

CityEngine – this tool transforms 2D GIS Data into Smart 3D City Models. A great product to help visualize urban planning concepts.

SketchUp – a 3D modelling computer program that is a functional tool for urban planning visualization.

AutoCAD – A renowned tool widely trusted for 2D and 3D modelling. AutoCAD provides a versatile platform for drafting and editing, with an immense library of content.

See our detailed overview of drafting tools for urban planners.

(GIS) Software for city planners

GIS stands for Geographical Information System. It’s a crucial set of tools since they help collect, manage, and interpret location-based data.

GIS provides powerful visualisation tools that enable city planners to create maps and other graphical representations of geographical data. This visual approach provides a comprehensive understanding of urban trends, patterns and interrelationships among various urban elements.

ESRI’s ArcGIS – A leading GIS software for creating and using maps, compiling geographic data, analyzing mapped information, and more.

QGISA free and open-source cross-platform desktop geographic information system that supports viewing, editing, and analysis of geospatial data.

Collaboration tools for urban planners

Teamwork is crucial in urban development. Collaboration tools can improve team productivity by providing a common platform for sharing ideas and communicating about tasks.

We’ve posted a guide to design collaboration software so check it out to ensure you’re using the latest tool stack for working on urban designs collaboratively.

PlanMan has a built-in co-consultant module where you can effectively delegate tasks to your assistants and other professionals.

Presentation tools for urban planners

Drafting and producing your project is only part of the work – you must present it to stakeholders involved. This is a crucial task for city planners, thankfully, there are advanced tools that make the process effective and coherent.

Whether you are presenting your ideas at a visioning workshops or at any later stage of the project development, you need to be able to quickly plug in and launch clear and accessible visualizations of your ideas.

GIS tools are the first ones to be used during presentations.

Google Earth Pro allows city planners to visualize buildings and terrain in 3D, enabling them to communicate real-world scenarios to stakeholders better.

UrbanFootprint provides a comprehensive view of a given area by collecting, aggregating, and visualizing data at an unprecedented level of detail, which leads to Evidence-Based Planning. City planners love this tool because it can conceptualize, model, and analyze urban scenarios with precision, efficiency, and flexibility, thus presenting their ideas in a way that’s understandable to all stakeholders involved.

Since presentations are often done on the go where you only have your laptop or a tablet – check out our list of iPad apps for city planners and architects.

Data analysis tools for city planners

City planning and urban development are data-intensive areas. Planners need tools to help them collect and handle that data and make sense of and draw conclusions from it.

Tableau Public is a tool specifically designed for data visualization. It assists city planners in converting raw data into comprehensive and interactive visuals. This allows for better data communication and fosters informed decision-making since visual data often leads to quicker and better insights. Tableau Public plays a crucial role in making data more understandable and actionable.

Datawrapper, like Tableau, is a data visualization tool. It’s designed to make high-quality charts, maps, and tables in minutes. This ease of use makes it a tool city planners frequently reach for when understandably presenting complex data. 

No matter what tool stack you use as an urban planner, always look for new software products. Don’t be afraid of learning curves since a quality tool will help you save hours and increase revenue in the long run.

Start exploring our project management solution by activating a trial of PlanMan!