URBAN PLANNING IS A dynamic process that involves designing or planning urban spaces or urban communities. It also involves considerations ranging from land use and zoning to environmental concerns, preservation, gentrification, and issues of growth and urban sprawl. Urban planning frequently requires responding to changes in both neighborhoods and overall urban areas, including changes in the age, class and racial composition of the local area, and the changing needs of the local population. It also seeks to provide proactive solutions to potential urban development problems. The goal of urban planners is to match the needs and concerns of urban residents with a plan for the urban lived environment in which they are located. This area of research and employment can frequently be broken down into several subfields, including environmental and land use planning, transportation planning, and housing and development. Overarching all of these fields are several general questions that researchers and planners alike debate, including: To what extent are urban planning practices and choices shaped or constrained by past planning practices? What role can and should urban planners play in protecting and shaping environmental policies and practices? Can planning play any role in pursuing social justice or equality? Urban environmental planning takes into account not only the various resources, including human resources (economic, political, and social resources) and environmental resources (sunlight, water, land, and fuel, for example), but the processes that convert such resources into products and services. It then evaluates the effects that such processes produce, seeking to maximize positive effects and minimize negative effects. Such processes may include transportation, migration, population growth, and manufacturing, to name a few. Desirable positive effects include the production of valued products and access to improved services and education, while negative effects tend to center on pollution and associated environmental dangers (garbage, traffic, urban congestion). An important aspect of urban planning, integral to developing effective policies and desirable designs, is consideration of the scale or scope of the impact of the urban environment and its associated problems. This is particularly true when considering urban environmental planning issues. While certain problems may manifest themselves initially at a very local level (problems with garbage collection in a particular neighborhood, for example), the potential impact of such problems can be national. Garbage left uncollected in a particular neighborhood may impact citywide recycling or trash disposal efforts. Problems with an urban region’s trash disposal system can have an impact on the surrounding environment—water supply, for example— which can impact the entire state and, if left unresolved, may have the potential to impact an even wider region.