Important Planning Concepts

1 Introduction

Urban planning is the application of theory to achieve a sustainable and well-organized urban environment. It entails a number of strategies, including land use planning, infrastructure planning, and environmental planning. In practice, a variety of urban planning approaches have emerged, including culture-based urban planning, approach-based urban planning, and mixed or hybrid urban planning, each with its own distinctive characteristics and considerations.


  1. Understand the different types of city and regional planning



Key Takeaway:

  • Urban planning is a broad field, encompassing a variety of different objectives and approaches. Land use planning, infrastructure planning, economic development, and environmental sustainability are all important components of a well-designed urban landscape.
  • Urban planners must take into account specific community needs and cultural factors, as well as broader theoretical concepts like the tower in the park or the garden city model, when designing urban environments. A mix of different planning strategies may be necessary to create a well-rounded urban landscape that meets the needs of all residents.
  • The future of urban planning is likely to be informed by new technologies, sustainable development practices, and a focus on creating more livable, pedestrian-friendly urban environments. By continuing to prioritize community engagement and collaboration between planners, policymakers, and residents, we can create healthier and more vibrant cities for all.


Urban planning is the process of designing and managing cities and their infrastructure. The strategic lens through which urban planning is done, the goals that drive progress, and the types of projects and conceptual areas that fall under urban planning are important to consider. This includes land use, buildings, roads, communal spaces, transportation, economic development, infrastructure, and environment. To develop a cohesive and mutually exclusive strategic plan, a core strategy, comprehensive plan, zoning, legislation, policy, and community consultation are necessary. Collaboration with landowners, consultants, and other resources is also important.

Types of City and Regional Planning Based on Broad Objectives

Urban planning is a field that seeks to manage and improve urban environments. Within this field, there are different types of urban planning strategies based on broad objectives. These strategies are aimed at achieving specific goals in urban areas. Here are six types of urban planning based on broad objectives:

  1. Physical Planning: This involves the management of land use and infrastructure development in urban areas.
  2. Development Planning: This refers to the planning of the economic growth and development of urban areas.
  3. Social Planning: This involves the provision of social services and facilities to meet the needs of urban residents.
  4. Environmental Planning: This refers to the management of natural and urban environments, including the protection of natural resources.
  5. Transportation Planning: This involves the planning and management of transportation infrastructure in urban areas, including roads, rail, and public transport.
  6. Economic Planning: This refers to the planning of economic development in urban areas, including job creation and investment.

Types of City and Regional Planning Based on Specific Needs

Urban planning strategies are essential in ensuring sustainable development of cities. The following table highlights the most common types of urban planning specializations [We’ll discuss all of these in depth throughout the course]:

Type of Urban Planning Description
Land-use Planning Designates the usage of land to achieve social, economic, and environmental objectives
Transportation Planning Plans the movement of goods and people by different modes of transport
Social Planning Addresses social issues in urban areas like housing, health, and education
Economic Planning With a focus on economic development, it aims at creating job opportunities and increasing the GDP
Environmental Planning Promotes ecological sustainability by preserving natural resources and combating pollution

It’s worth noting that urban planning strategies are not limited to these few, and specific needs must be addressed in different ways. For instance, urban revitalization requires different strategies than environmental sustainability.

Check out the full list of specializations listed by the American Planning Association (APA).  

Types of City and Regional Planning Based on Concepts

Urban planning involves various concepts that serve as the foundation for developing an effective plan. Understanding the types of urban planning based on concepts plays a pivotal role in crafting urban designs. Here are the different types of urban planning based on concepts:

Concept Description
Zoning Separates land based on its designated use, such as residential, commercial, and industrial.
New Urbanism Emphasizes the importance of walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods with a diversity of housing options.
Sustainability Focuses on reducing negative environmental impacts while creating long-term economic and social benefits.
Transit-Oriented Development Promotes compact, mixed-use development around transit stations to increase access to public transportation.

One unique aspect of urban planning is that it must cater to the specific needs and characteristics of the community it serves. Designs may also incorporate multiple concepts to achieve the desired outcome.

A well-thought-out urban plan can lead to improved quality of life, increased economic opportunities, and a stronger sense of community. It is essential to consider various urban planning concepts when creating a design to ensure these benefits are realized.



Types of City and Regional Planning

Urban Planning play a crucial role in designing the cities of the future. This is because urban areas are constantly evolving, with populations growing, technological advancements, and sustainability challenges. Effective urban planning needs to consider multiple factors such as environmental impact, infrastructure, public transport, and community needs to create sustainable, livable, and thriving cities.

Furthermore, urban planning is essential for promoting equitable access to urban resources and enhancing the quality of life for urban populations. The concept of smart growth, for example, emphasizes the efficient use of land and resources to create compact, walkable, and transit-oriented neighborhoods that promote sustainable lifestyles. These concepts are vital in ensuring the long-term viability of urban areas.

Sustainable urban planning involves a range of unique and complex issues, such as promoting social equity, transportation, and mobility, public health, and environmental protection. This demonstrates the importance of the multidisciplinary approach of urban planning’s technical, social, and administrative dimensions.

Five Facts About Urban Planning Concepts:

  • ✅ Urban planning is the process of designing and managing the physical environment of cities and towns. 
  • ✅ The concepts of zoning, land use, and transportation are central to urban planning. 
  • ✅ Sustainable development is an important goal in urban planning, with a focus on minimizing environmental impact and promoting social equity.


Quick Check

What specialization is NOT listed on the APA’s website?

Historic Preservation

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Food Systems Planning

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Town Planning

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