7 Types of Urban Planning Operations and Concepts – Explained

Urban planning refers to the development and design of urban areas. This process includes the use of open space, air, water, as well as the built environment (including buildings, transportation, economic, and social functions). Urban plans are often used in conjunction with larger city plans.

They should be linked to the organization’s vision and mission statements. Urban planners are responsible for the development of towns and cities. An effective, well-designed urban plan takes extensive research and input from many stakeholders, including landowners and government employees.

Urban Planning Operations and Concepts

Urban planners need to consider all those who will be affected by their plans. The plan should be practical and cost-effective, as taxpayer money is used to implement it. Urban planning is a holistic approach to city life. It includes new and existing land, buildings, roads and communal spaces.

Below, we have broken down these elements into various conceptual areas. These are often referred to as types of urban planning. However, it is important to remember that they do not have to be mutually exclusive. An urban plan should incorporate all or some of the areas below in order to be cohesive.

Strategic Urban Planning

Strategic urban planning is about setting high-level goals, identifying desired areas of growth and creating a plan for the future. A strategic plan is the result of planning. It can also be called the core strategy, comprehensive plan, or development plan.

Some of the goals of the strategic plan include improving transportation in the city, creating more community spaces and citizens’ quality of life, as well as encouraging people to move to or visit the city. This plan is the most important level in the planning process. Other components of planning will usually fit into it.

Planning for Land Use

Land-use planning is largely about legislation and policy. It involves adopting planning instruments such as governmental statutes and regulations. These planning tools are used to determine the location, type, and quantity of land required for different functions in a city. These planning instruments can also be used to reserve or zone land for specific purposes, such as:

  • Residential: For buildings such as apartment homes, single-family homes, and condominiums
  • Commercial properties, such as retail shops or office buildings
  • For industrial structures such as warehouses and manufacturing plants
  • For structures such as courthouses and police stations, municipal

Consultation with the community and other stakeholders is an important part of land use planning. This helps ensure transparency and to include a broad range of interests in the overall plan. Your strategic plan should be communicated well so that transportation, industrial, and commercial planning can flow seamlessly into your plans.

Master Planning

Master planning is used for greenfield projects or buildings on undeveloped land. Instead of altering existing structures or spaces, master planning can be used to start from scratch. This type of urban planning imagines the future state of space and what it will take for that to become reality.

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To make the project feasible, urban planners need to consider the required infrastructure and zoning (see concept 7 below). This includes residential and commercial land, transportation considerations and road locations. Planners must plan for the location of amenities like schools, parks, community facilities, and other urban amenities.

Consultations with landowners or government agencies that will be affected by the plan are essential. Professional consultants may be needed to provide valuable insight and expertise, to ensure that the plan is comprehensive and covers all possible angles. This will make the space more successful over time.


Urban Revitalization

Urban revitalization, unlike master planning, focuses on areas in decline. A city’s definition of a “declining area” will vary from one city to the next. For example, an area with a high number of failing businesses and a slow or declining population growth.

The root cause of the decline will determine which improvement strategies city leaders employ to revitalize their communities. These may include repairing roads, improving infrastructure, cleaning up pollutants, adding parks and other public spaces, as well as developing new infrastructure.

This urban planning concept is particularly important for community interaction. Local residents and business owners often have valuable insights that can be used to inform and tailor planning efforts. To get the loft apartments that you desire, you might need to alter land use (see Concept #2), from industrial to residential. You may also need to involve environmental planning to clean up any traces of previous uses (see Concept #6).

Economic Development

Economic development refers to identifying growth areas that will foster greater financial prosperity in the city. This is done by encouraging companies to move or build offices there. Those companies hire local talent and then drive commuter traffic to their new offices. Local workers will be more likely to eat at local restaurants, get gas at nearby stations, and stop by local grocery stores when they return home. This will increase visibility and boost spending in the area.

Sometimes, an economic development department may not be located within the municipality’s planning department. In these cases, it is crucial to assist them in navigating Land Use Plans, Master Plans and Infrastructure Plans so that development projects can be realized. It is important to coordinate with environmental plans.

Environmental Planning

The practice of environmental planning refers to a form of strategic development that emphasizes sustainability. This type of urban planning includes considerations for air pollution, noise pollution and habitats of endangered species.

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Along with master, revitalization and infrastructure plans, environmental plans must be filed. Don’t be discouraged if it seems that there are many steps and many requirements. Although it may seem complicated, it is worth it in the end if all your plans work together.

Planning for Infrastructure

Infrastructure planning is the study of the basic facilities and systems that provide services to a city’s people and how they can be used to support the goals set out in a strategic plan. This type of urban planning includes:

  • Infrastructure for public works such as water supply, sewerage, electricity and telecommunications
  • Infrastructure for the community, such as schools, hospitals and parks
  • Safety and transport such as roads, police and fire stations

You can see that good planning requires a lot of effort. Planning at the county, state, and city levels can make a lasting positive impact on your community.

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I am Adegboyega Tunde Temitayo. A registered Town Planner with the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) and Town Planners Registration Council (TOPREC).

I love to think differently and possibly on various Urban and Regional Planning issues to proffer solutions to Urban and Rural Environmental Problems. You can subscribe to my YouTube Channel

As the Chief Editor of Town Planners Diary, I humbly welcome you to this platform which is about enhancing Planning Education through research on various Town Planning and Environmental issues.

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