Top Career Paths for Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics

Top Career Paths for Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics

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Are you currently working on a degree in urban, rural, or regional economics? Are you thinking about what possible career path you could follow once you graduate? If so, then today's article is for you. Previously we're shared articles on top career paths for other areas of economics like macroeconomics or economic law, but today we're focusing on urban, rural, and regional economics.

Suggested Opportunities

Read on to find out more about career paths which are open to you:

Urban Planning

Urban planning involves the developing and assessment of land use within cities, looking at factors like zoning, environmental impact, housing, the preserving of historical buildings, the provision of public utilities, the creation of public spaces and amenities, and transportation. With more and more people all over the world moving from the countryside into cities, urban planning will only become more vital over the next years. Urban planners use methods including surveys, market research, census data, and environmental studies to propose policies and concepts regarding land use in cities. This work is extremely interesting for anyone who loves cities and wants to improve people's quality of life in direct and measurable ways.

Regional Planning

Related to urban planning is regional planning. Rather than focusing on just one city or urban area, regional planners are responsible for the planning of transport, amenities, zoning and so one over larger geographical areas. This type of role is particularly important in impoverished rural communities, where residents often lack necessities like reliable public transport, fast internet connections, accessible healthcare and education, and other community support and facilities when compared to urban residents. Many governments now hire regional planners as well as urban planners, and may even have coordinators who are responsible for the planning of these issues across an entire country.

Real Estate

A different career path that you might consider with a background in urban, rural, or regional economics is in real estate. With a knowledge of what makes an area desirable and what programs most improve quality of life for residents, you can predict which properties will be desirable and which will sell well. Real estate can be a cut-throat business, but at the higher end of the market, it is more customer-focused and about finding the right property for the client. Advantages of working in real estate include often flexible working hours, though being expected to work in the evenings or at weekends can be a problem for some people, especially those with young families.

International Program Manager

Another option to consider is working for an NGO or international organisation such as the UN as an international program manager. This role involves the administration and oversight of an entire program when it is put into place in a foreign country. For example, the UN might start a program to increase literacy in an area with limited formal education by supplying teachers and materials and by building schools and arranging for transportation for people to attend. The program manager would oversee this work, coordinating with local and government officials to make sure that the project is completed. This kind of work can be extremely personally rewarding and offers the opportunity to travel to new places and to experience the way of life in different countries.


Finally, an area to consider working in is agriculture. In some agriculture-focused countries, such as Australia, there are many programs and policies in place to support farmers and to find ways to make a country self-sustaining in terms of producing enough food to feed its population. With a background in urban, rural, or regional economics you would have the skills required for the management of such agriculture programs, and the knowledge of policy to see what works.


For lots more career advice for economists, including other top career paths articles for different specialisations, plus study advice, job listings, and much more, check out our website. You'll find plenty of information about academia and careers for all areas and subjects there, with a special focus on economics.


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