There are times when a city planner needs to assess the impacts of urban development upon the surrounding area. This may be used to determine suitable areas for future development. The first step is identifying all of the land that you want to study. Then determining the areas that are unsuitable for development and then through the process of elimination you have now identified the areas of interest, and potentially new areas of interest that might add to your scope for further analysis.
In this city, urban planners are not typically trained in spatial analysis during university and some only develop these skills through their interactions with spatial professionals in related work.
Even after a 5 year urban planning degree, at one of the nation's most prestigious degree mills, I only did a 6 month course involving a tiny bit of GIS, and that was working with a fairly outdated GIS package involving route optimisation processes for transport planning.
I studied surveying and GIS as a post graduate to increase my professional knowledge and skills. Three years later I'm working in a government organisation again, which house both spatial professionals and urban planners under the same roof, and yet I am watching planners outsourcing the mapping work to an external company, even though we informed them that we own the data, and have in-house capabilities to perform that map production and/or spatial data analysis.
I shake my head sometimes. The sheer irony of it all.