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Land-use planning is the process of regulating the use of land in an effort to promote more desirable social and environmental outcomes as well as a more efficient use of resources. Goals of land use planning may include environmental conservation, restraint of urban sprawl, minimization of transport costs, prevention of land use conflicts, and a reduction in exposure to pollutants. By and large, the uses of land determine the diverse socioeconomic activities that occur in a specific area, the patterns of human behavior they produce, and their impact on the environment.

In urban planning, land use planning seeks to order and regulate land use in an efficient and ethical way, thus preventing land use conflicts. Governments use land use planning to manage the development of land within their jurisdictions. In doing so, the governmental unit can plan for the needs of the community while safeguarding natural resources. To this end, it is the systematic assessment of land and water potential, alternatives for land use, and economic and social conditions in order to select and adopt the best land use options.[1] Often one element of a comprehensive plan, a land use plan provides a vision for the future possibilities of development in neighborhoods, districts, cities, or any defined planning area.

In the United States, the terms land use planning, regional planning, urban planning, and urban design are often used interchangeably, and will depend on the state, county, and/or project in question. Despite confusing nomenclature, the essential function of land use planning remains the same whatever term is applied. The Canadian Institute of Planners offers a definition that land use planning means the scientific, aesthetic, and orderly disposition of land, resources, facilities and services with a view to securing the physical, economic and social efficiency, health and well-being of urban and rural communities.[2] The American Planning Association states that the goal of land use planning is to further the welfare of people and their communities by creating convenient, equitable, healthful, efficient, and attractive environments for present and future generations.[3]

History

Land use planning often leads to land use regulation, which typically encompasses zoning. Zoning regulates the types of activities that can be accommodated on a given piece of land, as well as the amount of space devoted to those activities, and the ways that buildings may be situated and shaped.[4]

The ambiguous nature of the term “planning”, as it relates to land use, is historically tied to the practice of zoning. Zoning in the US came about in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to protect the interests of property owners. The practice was found to be constitutionally sound by the Supreme Court decision of Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co. in 1926.[3] Soon after, the Standard State Zoning Enabling Act gave authority to the states to regulate land use. Even so, the practice remains controversial today.

The “taking clause” of the urban planning, land use planning seeks to order and regulate land use in an efficient and ethical way, thus preventing land use conflicts. Governments use land use planning to manage the development of land within their jurisdictions. In doing so, the governmental unit can plan for the needs of the community while safeguarding natural resources. To this end, it is the systematic assessment of land and water potential, alternatives for land use, and economic and social conditions in order to select and adopt the best land use options.[1] Often one element of a comprehensive plan, a land use plan provides a vision for the future possibilities of development in neighborhoods, districts, cities, or any defined planning area.

In the United States, the terms land use planning, regional planning, urban planning, and urban design are often used interchangeably, and will depend on the state, county, and/or project in question. Despite confusing nomenclature, the essential function of land use planning remains the same whatever term is applied. The Canadian Institute of Planners offers a definition that land use planning means the scientific, aesthetic, and orderly disposition of land, resources, facilities and services with a view to securing the physical, economic and social efficiency, health and well-being of urban and rural communities.[2] The American Planning Association states that the goal of land use planning is to further the welfare of people and their communities by creating convenient, equitable, healthful, efficient, and attractive environments for present and future generations.[3]

Land use planning often leads to land use regulation, which typically encompasses zoning. Zoning regulates the types of activities that can be accommodated on a given piece of land, as well as the amount of space devoted to those activities, and the ways that buildings may be situated and shaped.[4]

The ambiguous nature of the term “planning”, as it relates to land use, is historically tied to the practice of zoning. Zoning in the US came about in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to protect the interests of property owners. The practice was found to be constitutionally sound by the Supreme Court decision of Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co. in 1926.[3] Soon after, the Standard State Zoning Enabling Act gave authority to the states to regulate land use. Even so, the practice remains controversial today.

The “taking clause” of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from taking private property for public use without just compensation. The case of Dolan v. City of Tigard demonstrated the criteria that determine the threshold of what is considered taking.[5] One interpretation of the taking clause is that any restriction on the development potential of land through zoning regulation is a “taking”. A deep-rooted anti-zoning sentiment exists in America, that no one has the right to tell another what he can or cannot do with his land. Ironically, although people are often averse to being told how to develop their own land, they tend to expect the government to intervene when a proposed land use is undesirable.

Conventional zoning has not typically regarded the manner in which buildings relate to one another or the public spaces around them, but rather has provided a pragmatic system for mapping jurisdictions according to permitted land use. This system, combined with the interstate highway system, widespread availability of mortgage loans, growth in the automobile industry, and the over-all post-World War II economic expansion, destroyed most of the character that gave distinctiveness to American cities. The urban sprawl that most US cities began to experience in the mid-twentieth century was, in part, created by a flat approach to land use regulations. Zoning without planning created unnecessarily exclusive zones. Thoughtless mapping of these zones over large areas was a big part of the recipe for suburban sprawl.[4] It was from the deficiencies of this practice that land use planning developed, to envision the changes that development would cause and mitigate the negative effects of such change.

Suburban development near Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

As America grew and sprawl was rampant, the much-loved America of the older towns, cities, or streetcar suburbs essentially b

The ambiguous nature of the term “planning”, as it relates to land use, is historically tied to the practice of zoning. Zoning in the US came about in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to protect the interests of property owners. The practice was found to be constitutionally sound by the Supreme Court decision of Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co. in 1926.[3] Soon after, the Standard State Zoning Enabling Act gave authority to the states to regulate land use. Even so, the practice remains controversial today.

The “taking clause” of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from taking private property for public use without just compensation. The case of Dolan v. City of Tigard demonstrated the criteria that determine the threshold of what is considered taking.[5] One interpretation of the taking clause is that any restriction on the development potential of land through zoning regulation is a “taking”. A deep-rooted anti-zoning sentiment exists in America, that no one has the right to tell another what he can or cannot do with his land. Ironically, although people are often averse to being told how to develop their own land, they tend to expect the government to intervene when a proposed land use is undesirable.

Conventional zoning has not typically regarded the manner in which buildings relate to one another or the public spaces around them, but rather has provided a pragmatic system for mapping jurisdictions according to permitted land use. This system, combined with the interstate highway system, widespread availability of mortgage loans, growth in the automobile industry, and the over-all post-World War II economic expansion, destroyed most of the character that gave distinctiveness to American cities. The urban sprawl that most US cities began to experience in the mid-twentieth century was, in part, created by a flat approach to land use regulations. Zoning without planning created unnecessarily exclusive zones. Thoughtless mapping of these zones over large areas was a big part of the recipe for suburban sprawl.[4] It was from the deficiencies of this practice that land use planning developed, to envision the changes that development would cause and mitigate the negative effects of such change.

As America grew and sprawl was rampant, the much-loved America of the older towns, cities, or streetcar suburbs essentially became illegal through zoning.[6] Unparalleled growth and unregulated development changed the look and feel of landscapes and communities. They strained commercial corridors and affected housing prices, causing citizens to fear a decline in the social, economic and environmental attributes that defined their quality of life.[7] Zoning regulations became politically contentious as developers, legislators, and citizens struggled over altering zoning maps in a way that was acceptable to all parties. Land use planning practices evolved as an attempt to overcome these challenges. It engages citizens and policy-makers to plan for development with more intention, foresight, and community focus than had been previously used.

A broader description and application of land use planning

Description of land use planning

Land use planning is defined as: the process by which optimum forms of land use and management are indicated, considering the bi

Land use planning is defined as: the process by which optimum forms of land use and management are indicated, considering the biophysical, technological, social, economic and political conditions of a particular territory. The objective of planning land use is to influence, control or direct changes in the use of land, so that it is dedicated to the most beneficial use, while maintaining the quality of the environment and promoting conservation of the land resources. The territorial diagnosis and the generation of alternatives of management and environmental protection for the planning of the use of the land produces the indispensable knowledge necessary for the formulation of the policies of use, contributing to the search of competitive and sustainable productive and extractive activities and systems. The methodological process of land use planning contributes to: orienting the location of economic and social activities regarding the aptitude of the land and providing solutions to conflicts of use; indicate the base of natural resources that should remain and protected areas; point out the areas exposed to natural hazards and their management; identify sustainable productive and extractive activities and systems; guide the planning of land uses and indicate the areas that require land adaptation or recovery projects [8]

Planning Process and Parties Involved

In most countries, the local municipal council/local government, the body responsible of the Environment and oftentimes the national government assume all the functions of land use planning; among them the corresponding function to territorial ordering (OT). For this reason, the highlighted bodies have among other responsibilities the promotion of the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, establishing policies, criteri

In most countries, the local municipal council/local government, the body responsible of the Environment and oftentimes the national government assume all the functions of land use planning; among them the corresponding function to territorial ordering (OT). For this reason, the highlighted bodies have among other responsibilities the promotion of the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, establishing policies, criteria, tools and procedures of the most appropriate efficient and sustainable territorial order in coordination with any other relevant corresponding entities such as construction companies and the public.[9]

Application of Land Use Planning