Strategic development planning, forms an integral part of modern urban planning. With sustainability being the focus of the United Nation’s Agenda 21 programme, which is now widely applied throughout the world, it is essential for modern urban planners to create strategic development plans that support the development of sustainable growth patterns.

Modern strategic development planning has to include the creation of a framework for the delivery of housing, transport, energy and facilities that will support sustainable growth. It must support secure economic development with consideration of the immediate and future needs of the affected communities and should ensure that the full economic and sustainability potential of the planned area can be reached. With such, the spatial strategy provides the framework within which to reach goals of the strategic development plan.

Moreover, with such a plan, the modern urban planning teams work towards a design that supports optimal economic growth of the critical economic sectors within the affected area. Part of the process involves the creation of a strategy to address the housing and transportation needs of the communities. A key feature of sustainable urban development is to ensure that people don’t have to travel long distances to get to their places of work.

An example of a modern sustainable hub is where the housing is within walking distance of work opportunities with rapid transport systems available to transport commuters to the area. In such a hub, traffic congestion is directly addressed by limiting the need to travel by vehicle to get to the place of work. An integration approach is followed where sustainable transport modes are offered to reduce the need for one or two persons per vehicle.

With the above approach it is possible to address the issue of excessive carbon emission from passenger vehicles, while also minimising traffic congestion.

A key feature of sustainability focussed strategic development planning is to conserve the natural environment as far as possible and to promote the inclusion of green features such as parks, biodiversity, rooftop gardens, walkways and even woodlands within the urban concept. To ensure that the above is possible, the urban planner must also address the need for infrastructure improvements to ensure that areas can be connected. With this approach, the idea is to minimise the human economic footprint on the environment, while also ensuring maximum well-being of the inhabitants of the planned area.