The Irish Planning Institute has said more planners are needed in order for the Government's National Planning Framework to be achieved.
The IPI's President Joe Corr said the number of planners at local authority level reduced during the recession and have never really recovered.
He said ten years ago Donegal County Council had about 90 planners and now has just 39.
He added that if places like Letterkenny were to become regional growth centres, they will need to be adequately resourced.
Mr Corr also said the practise of one-off houses in the countryside cannot be continued because its "not sustainable development".
He said this kind of development was putting pressure on things like rural bus services and school places and what is needed instead is the consolidation of rural towns and villages where the critical mass is to deliver on the social and physical infrastructure.
The IPI President also said that rising house prices were once again pushing people out to live in the commuter belts and rural areas.
He said that more sustainable development, which would include more high density buildings, would reduce our reliance on private transport.
Mr Corr also said the National Planning Framework was a "good and mature" plan that is required for the country but that it just needs to be implemented correctly.