The places that we build affect everyone, forming the backdrop to our lives and shaping the way we think, move and feel. From skyscrapers to affordable housing, international transport interchanges to neighbourhood streets, famous parks to the village green, all are designed, built and managed.

If you care about making cities, towns and neighbourhoods better places to live, you could find an exciting and rewarding career in the built-environment professions.

It takes a range of experts with diverse skills to create great places. Working as a team, they improve quality of life through new buildings, structures and spaces. Here's an idea of the different careers you could enter in the built-environment industry.


Architects design buildings and the spaces around them. They understand how people and places interact, and use their creative and technical skills to visualise and design new places to live, work and play. They also understand the construction process and work closely with others to assess and develop construction or restoration projects.

Civil engineering

Civil engineers plan, manage and supervise construction projects, such as bridges, roads, railways, power stations, water treatment plants and flood defences. They use a combination of maths, design and technical skills to create detailed designs and make them a reality, and they also manage people, resources and budgets to make sure projects progress smoothly.


Horticulturists are experts on growing and cultivating plants, shrubs and trees. They understand how to create and manage green spaces - from parks and nature reserves to roadside planting - and they sometimes manage the teams who maintain open space.

Landscape architecture

Landscape architects use their design expertise and technical skills to improve the environment. They transform many different places, from the most run-down inner-city areas to the most sensitive ecological habitats. They create places to live and spaces to breathe.

Town planning

Planners make decisions about how land is managed and developed. They understand the different needs of people, industry, agriculture, transport and the environment. Planners work closely with local authorities, developers, architects and the public to ensure that all these needs are balanced and taken into account as cities, towns and villages are developed.

Chartered surveying

Chartered surveyors identify and develop the value of all physical assets, from land to buildings. They spot long-term potential, whether advising businesses on property, monitoring the environmental effects of inner-city regeneration, managing construction from home extensions to airports, valuing homes or digitally mapping land. Legal, financial, design and management skills combined with knowledge of construction allow surveyors to create the right environment for us to live in.

Urban design

Urban designers create visions for places and communities, and help make them a reality; they understand the physical, political, economic and social factors that create thriving communities. They work in a multi-faceted way - from designing neighbourhoods and spaces, to consulting the public, advising others and influencing policy.

These professions need recruits from every section of society: it is vital that cities and towns reflect the people who live and work in them. More people from across the community need to get into the built-environment professions and make sure that they have the skills to create great buildings and public spaces.

Tessa Kordecza is the campaigns advisor at the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment. To find out more, see and


The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) is the Government's advisor on architecture, urban design and public space. It was set up in 1999 and it is now a statutory body, funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and local government.

The UK's largest public building programme for more than half a century is well under way, but massive investment does not automatically result in a good legacy for future generations: creating great places for people to live is a difficult, complex process.

CABE champions well-designed buildings and public spaces; parks and open spaces are as important as bricks and mortar. It runs campaigns and provides expert, practical advice, working directly with planners, designers, developers, clients and architects.


* Construction skills

Career advice for the construction industry

* The Prince's Foundation

Find out what Charles Windsor thinks


Centre for the Urban Built Environment