Introduction to Spatial Planning

Topics: Land use planning, Town and country planning in the United Kingdom, Land use Pages: 8 (2502 words) Published: March 19, 2012
Planning, that is process of ‘making a plan’, has been an important part of development of our areas. Planning is the application of conscious thought to the solution of problem or issue. Planning is said to be found at the very centre of the complex mess of technology, politics, culture and economics that create our whole society and its physical presence (Rydin, 2011). As RTPI (2011) defines it, ‘planning is the management of competitive uses for space and making of places that are valued and have an identity.’

Space as a term is very much territorial in nature, and since we are talking about competitive uses of space, it means that a space needs to be used in such a way that it gives the most advantage to the society. Rydin (2011) says that our cities reflect the power structures of the society, which means that they reflect thoughts of whoever has the power to take the decision for the planning of the area. Planning causes lot of changes to an area and economy, especially with the decisions that deal with growth, prosperity and overall well being. But in the past we have seen that the results of changes which are caused are not always desirable for the society as a whole. Some haphazard and unplanned growth decisions have caused large scale damage to the overall society, which is why we need to ‘Plan’!

Planning and Land-use
Lewis Keeble (1969) defines Town Planning as 'the art and science of ordering the use of land and siting of buildings and communication routes so as to secure maximum practicable degree of economy, convenience and beauty'. This definition brings us to the concept of land-use and its role in planning. Land use planning by definition is the public policy which orders the use of land in a particular area. The most important objective of land-use planning is to make sure that people’s needs are fulfilled and they have availability of land for their various activities. Land-use planning has been one of the earliest methods of planning the different uses of land so as to promote local wellbeing and economic prosperity (Rydin, 2011)

Land-use planning introduces the concept of zoning and development plans. Zoning is the process of creating zones in a particular area, for example residential zones, commercial zones or industrial zones. Development plans are the physical, territorial plans that are designed for a particular area for the future, which defines which area is for what kind of a use. Land-use planning also encompasses planning of communication routes, or the transportation routes, which depend on the places people travel from and travel to daily.

There are various factors for deciding best land uses like social, economic conditions, assessment of land and water potential etc. One of the most important factors for comprehensive land-use plan is the overall vision for the future of development for that neighbourhood, district, city or planning area.

The zoning is done is such a way that conflicting uses of land are kept away from each other and mutually benefiting land uses are placed together. For example, there would be green areas or parks near residential areas, there would be commercial, shopping complex near a major residential project to ensure all the retail needs of the residents are fulfilled; similarly polluting industries would be placed far away from residential areas so as to avoid the problems of pollution. Once the basic zoning, plans and transportation routes are sorted, land use planning looks at other factors like the aesthetics, architecture, safeguarding historical places and natural resources, scale of buildings etc.

There have been several negative impacts of similar ‘land-use planning’. As different types of areas are away from each other so there is more pressure on long distance travelling routes, which increases pressure on the transport system. There are problems like congestion, pollutions which happen due to such travelling. Also, due to...
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