Welcome to the third and last part on our series revolving around town planning. If you missed our previous articles where we covered what town planning actually is, allow me to refresh your mind. Town planning, otherwise known as urban planning, is the process of developing and designing urban areas. Encompassed in that process is the use of open land, air, water, and the built environment, including buildings, transportation, economic and social functions. Typically used as part of a larger city plan, an urban plan should tie back to an organization’s mission and vision statements.
From a local government perspective, urban planning touches on numerous city-life elements—new and pre-existing land, buildings, roads, communal spaces, transportation, economic development, infrastructure, and the environment, among others. These areas are commonly referred to as types of urban planning, but it’s important to understand that they are not mutually exclusive—for an urban plan to be cohesive, it should include many or all of the below areas.
Strategic Urban Planning
Strategic urban planning focuses on setting high-level goals and determining desired areas of growth for a city or metropolitan area. The result of the planning process is a strategic plan—also called the development plan, core strategy, or comprehensive plan. The strategic plan’s goals may include easing transportation throughout the city, creating more community spaces, improving citizens’ quality of life, or encouraging people to visit or move to the city.
This is generally the highest level of the planning process and other components of planning typically will fit into this type of plan.
Land-use planning largely concerns legislation and policy, adopting planning instruments like governmental statutes, regulations, rules, codes, and policies to influence land use. On a broad level, these planning instruments deal with the type, location, and amount of land needed to carry out different functions of the city.
As with subsequent types of urban planning, consulting with the community and relevant stakeholders is an important part of land-use planning to ensure transparency, and incorporate a wide range of interests into the overall plan. If you communicate your strategic plan well, then transportation, commercial and industrial planning should flow right into your plans.
This type of urban planning envisions a future state for a given space, and what it will take to achieve that vision. Urban planners must consider the required zoning (from your land-use plan) and infrastructure to make the project possible, such as residential and commercial land, transportation considerations, road locations, etc. They must also plan the location of urban amenities such as community facilities, schools, parks, and the like.
In contrast to master planning, urban revitalization focuses on improving areas that are in a state of decline. The exact definition of a declining area will differ from city to city—for example, areas that have a troubling number of failing businesses or a stagnant or decreasing population growth. The improvement tactics city leaders use for revitalization will depend on the root cause of decline, and may include things like repairing roads, developing infrastructure, cleaning up pollution, and adding to parks and other public spaces, etc.
Economic development is about identifying areas of growth to foster greater financial prosperity within the city, specifically by enticing companies to build or move offices there. Subsequently, those companies then hire local talent and drive commuter traffic to the new office. More workers dining at local restaurants for lunch, getting gas at nearby gas stations, and stopping by local grocery stores on the way home will boost visibility and spend in the area.
Environmental planning is a type of strategic development that emphasizes sustainability. Considerations for this type of urban planning include air pollution, noise pollution, wetlands, habitats of endangered species, flood zone susceptibility, and coastal zone erosion, along with a host of other environmental factors dealing with the relationship between natural and human systems.
Infrastructure planning deals with the fundamental facilities and systems that serve a city and its people, and how those facilities can support goals laid out in the strategic plan. This type of urban planning covers:
Public works infrastructure such as water supply, sewage, electricity, and telecommunications
Community infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, and parks
Safety and transportation such as roads, police, and fire facilities
As you can see from the above urban planning concepts, good planning takes a lot of work. But when done correctly, planning at the city, county, and state levels can have a positive, lasting impact on your community. If you need more advice, or are looking for expert urban planners to help develop your project, get in touch with the experts at Eastcad Design today.