Introduction to the Different Types of Urban Planning

Urban planning is an organised process of land development. It includes consideration of elements like air, water, land, infrastructure, community needs, drainage and more. A specific spatial development vision with achievable goals must be in place and the urban design is done in line with the set vision and goals. To help you gain a clearer understanding of the role of urban design, we take a closer look at the different types and concepts relevant to it.

Strategic level

Right at the top of the spectrum of the town planning process, we get strategic planning. It creates the overall framework within which the urban design takes place. It is a strategic or long-term and overarching plan with goals for infrastructure development that include roads, stormwater drainage, areas for recreation, greening of the landscape, industrial and commercial development, housing, facilities, and more.

Land use

Land use must be managed effectively. To do so, policies are set in place. Legislation is created and codes are developed to manage land use. The land is reserved for specific usage purposes like industrial applications where warehouses and factories are built, commercial areas for offices and retail centres, and municipal for court buildings, driving test centres, police stations, etc. Areas are set aside for recreation, such as parks and sports centres, health facilities and places of religious worship. Other areas are zoned for recreation such as houses, townhouse complexes, apartments, and more. Mixed-use areas are allocated where offices, shops, sports facilities, hospitals, and homes are located in close proximity or even combined.

Consultation with stakeholders and affected parties, such as the immediate communities is essential. The plan should make provision for the needs of the communities. These needs may range from road infrastructure and transportation to recreation, sport, health, work and housing needs.

Creating the master plan

This type is especially relevant to developments where pieces of land that are currently undeveloped will be developed. It entails the creation of a master plan for the future development of the land. In many instances, land rezoning must first take place in alignment with the master plan. Community and stakeholder involvement is essential when creating the master plan. The amenity location, infrastructure and the like must be planned before the area is developed. The future appointed city council members must be able to adapt the master plan as needed and use it as a base for their development and land use plans.

Environmental factors

Sustainable development entails consideration for best uses of the available resources and the lowest impact on the environment. To achieve long-term sustainability goals, specific plans must be put in place to manage and lower pollution that can affect the quality of the air, wetland, habitat and endangered species. This also entails reducing littering, noises and any aspects that can affect the quality of life of residents or put pressure on resources. It’s crucial to strike the right balance between economic development, the well-being of residents and protection of the environment. The environmental plans must be done alongside revitalising, economic, land use management and strategic and master plans.

Urban planning for regeneration

Where the master plan is mainly concerned with currently undeveloped land, the regeneration or revitalising plan is concerned with already developed pieces of land. This type of planning focuses on using existing infrastructure and re-purposing, repairing and giving new life to old, worn-down or low-valued city areas. For instance, an area can be polluted, in need of road repair, or may need the removal of informal structures and replacing those with housing or commercial centres, etc. Public parks that have become havens for criminal activity or which may have fallen into disuse because of poor maintenance can get a facelift with the addition of sports equipment, security, shops, etc. Rezoning might be needed for the revitalisation of an area.

Infrastructure development

To support economic activity, a growing population, reduce environmental impact, and ensure the public services can be offered, sufficient infrastructure must be in place. To this end, urban planning must make provision for roads, stormwater systems, location and development of public services like hospitals, police stations, fire stations, schools, parks, electricity supply and water delivery.

Urban economic development planning

Urban planning is about designing the city or a part of the city’s economic prosperity. This is done by allocating land for commercial use or mixed-use, creating plans for infrastructure to support economic activity, and then encouraging companies to build the relevant office parks or blocks in the specific area. As with other types of city design, it is essential to consult with communities and the stakeholders to ensure that what is needed for such development will be in place.

Reach out to The Practice Group for professional help with any of the mentioned urban planning services.