Local Planned Urban Development

Elements of comprehensive planning in managerial systems

Comprehensive planning is often related to the prosperity of many communities in the economic perspective since it is associated with the future growth of a local community (Archer, 1997). Comprehensive plans’ contents are usually authorized and determined by the local authorities in some states while in others it is normally up to the enabling legislation. However, even though the comprehensive plans are unique, there are various general elements that are addressed in comprehensive planning (Archer, 1997).Notably, the elements of comprehensive planning are: existing conditions, implementation strategies, the future land-use map and the goals and objectives of a community.

Existing Conditions


This element of comprehensive planning reveals the economic conditions of a community and outlines the most basic means by which the people in the area use to earn their living. In addition, it helps in the identification of the businesses and industries that are necessary in a particular community (Archer, 1997). The sources of this information is usually from features that include levels of education and people’s occupations, the rates of unemployment, the places of employment, the rates of community tax and their debts as well as their per capita income.


This element facilitates the process of identifying the population of a community using factors such as race, age, gender, and the total number of households among others. ( Baycan-Levent & Nijkamp, 2009). This element also contains the projections for the population in the future which is usually based on the trends in the current demographics. The analysis of demographics and the population projections are critical in planning as other elements of the plan are dependent on the projection of the population fond in this phase.

Existing land uses

The element uses maps to describe the patterns of current developments that include the locations of   the major land use classifications that include (commercial, residential, agricultural, public and industrial uses that are deemed to be of great concern.


This element reviews the usage of the roadways that are existent, the existence and the utilization of rail lines, airports, transit services and trails and facilitates the projection of the future volumes which will be based on the patterns of development (Margerum, 2002). The element also enhances assessment of the physical current condition of these transport systems.

Environmental conditions

This section describes the community’s primary environmental resources that include the climate conditions, the slopes, types of oils, water and mineral resources, wetlands, special geologic features and watersheds (Perry, 2004). This information is important in identifying the areas that are appropriate for projected development and those should be protected from development.

Public facilities

This element makes it possible for the analysis of public facilities that facilitate the easier connectivity of the community.


 The housing element is integral in identifying a variety of issues concerned with housing such as the current conditions and the numbers of the stock of the houses that are existing, the current home prices and the vacancy rates among others(Perry, 2004). It also enables the assessment of the future housing needs which are based on the demographic projections.

Goals and Objectives

The community goals and objectives are a critical consideration in comprehensive planning since they are express directly what the community desires (Forrester, Cambridge & Cinderby,1999). Notably, given that the citizens are the major beneficiaries of planning, they ought to be involved extensively in the identification of these goals and objectives. Additionally, these goals and objectives provide the direction in which the community wishes and as such they ought to be precise and direct to the point. 


This element acts as the plan of action in that its contents are explicit in regards to the steps that are necessary and those that will lead to the achievement of the goals and objectives of the local community. It includes the identification of who’s, when, what and how much is required in the accomplishment of the goals (Perry, 2004). The legislative function adopts it and uses it as a work plan which enables the policies and resolution adoption in addition to allocating resources that are necessary in the implementation of the goals and objectives of the plan.

Future Land –Use Map

This illustrates the future desired land use locations, classifications, designs and densities in both the areas that are already developed and those that are projected for growth (Forrester, Cambridge & Cinderby,1999).  The map is usually developed on based on the population projection of the community in addition to the housing and employment needs, the environmental considerations and the approximate costs of the provision of infrastructure to the community.

Role of Planning In Growth Management

Planning is integral in growth management given its ability to shape development in all the regions of the country in addition to enhancing that all developments do not pose threats to the populations, the economy and the environment (Forrester, Cambridge & Cinderby,1999). While planning for the processes that will lead to growth of a community, identification of the reasons that motivate planning for the communities is essential. The emphasis on the link between the economic development, the quality of life and the land use planning as a measure to enable the sustainability of the of the economy and the environment is an important  aspect in planning and requires the planners to be explicit in the values they are trying to drive in the whole process of planning.

In planning it is important to embrace and rely on collaborative approaches in order to engage all stakeholders in a rational way which will enhance a broader comprehension of the issues. Collaboration in planning will also enhance the best way to allow the accommodation of the interests and needs of people in the local community who are the beneficiaries of the projected development ( Baycan-Levent & Nijkamp, 2009). In addition, fostering regional connections in planning to that will enhance growth management is important since planning is a process as opposed to being a product that is going to be produced.  Therefore by involving techniques associated with visualization to link the present to the future is an integral part of planning. Moreover, by embracing strategies that enable monitoring and evaluation into implementing the plan contributes to greater efficiencies.

Planning enhances that resources are properly coordinated in all the regions according to their needs, a factor that will contribute to even growth and development that suits the people of the local communities (Perry, 2004). Planning ensures that any projected development that will ultimately contribute to the growth of the community is in the public interest and weighs up its environmental, social and economic advantages and disadvantages. In addition, it helps in making sure that the places that people live in and work are vibrant, attractive and properly designed.

The planning system facilitates the proposed development to support restructuring that responds to the local communities’ housing needs in that they will be affordable as well as suiting their varied (Zhu, 2009). It also aims to ensure that all the views of the relevant stakeholders in the community are considered and they are able to point out the types of the projected development that can potentially cause harm to the environment.

Application of the Strategic Planning to Public Issue Decision Making

Strategic planning involves the deliberations around the most essential issues of ends and means, decisions and actions. Given its ability to link the process of planning and implementation of plans, it has been widely adopted by many organizations that range from public to private (Baycan-Levent & Nijkamp, 2009).  Additionally, the process involves a myriad of approaches that enhance it to be more orderly and increase the chances of recognizing and addressing the most pertinent issues in the community and will also allow a more participatory approach in the entire process.

In applying strategic planning in any forum, it is vital for the groups involved or the task forces to be prepared and organized at all times to deal with the specific strategic issues as well as the implementation of these strategies while giving special focus and attention to the groups that seem underrepresented(Zhu, 2009). The process of strategic planning involves many people and groups and the implementation phase relies more on consent as opposed to authority thus making it a time consuming endeavor.

In the application of the process to issues concerning public decision making, it is vital to make sure that the end result of the plans comply with the community’s comprehensive plan and the strategies required to implement that plan (Baycan-Levent & Nijkamp, 2009). The individuals that take part in the processes of planning are integral in that they provide the much needed connection between the processes of strategic planning and the decision making mechanisms. In addition, there are a myriad of processes that are involved in public issue decision making that relate to strategic planning that include the determination of the elements that ought to be in the process and the stakeholder analysis that will enable the identification of the people that will be involved in the process.

In addition, in the process of strategic planning, it is essential to ensure that the goals and the objectives of the community are clarified as well as assessing both internal and external environments of the community (Zhu, 2009). The process will involve the identification and a comprehensive analysis of the issues that are affecting the community which is based on the potential effects of the projected developments and will enable the assessment of the possible strategies for addressing these challenges in an effective manner.

Furthermore, strategic management involves the assessment of the feasibility strategies that applies the use of a rational criterion in the development and the implementation of the plans that are related to the changes that the community desires (Zhu, 2009). Another phase that is involved in strategic planning is the evaluation, monitoring and making regular updates to the plan should there be any developing information in addition to reassessing the strategies and the whole process of strategic planning.

There are a myriad of factors that area associated with the success process of strategic planning in public decision making which include the involvement of different kinds of leadership such as the sponsors, champions and groups that will facilitate the yielding of positive results (Baycan-Levent & Nijkamp, 2009). Involving such kind of leadership enables the utilization of the authority and resources as well as enhancing the public motivation and energizes participants which are vital for strategic planning.

In addition, broad participation can improve the process in terms of giving some of the stakeholders a sense of ownership and commitment and can also include the different perspectives from various people which can improve the analysis and ultimately the implementation of the a plan. Knowledge and input from different professionals enriches the process leading to positive results of the local community’s plans (Baycan-Levent & Nijkamp, 2009). Integrating strategic planning with other strategic management practices have potential benefits in that it will improve decision making regarding planning in addition to improving the overall performance.

Other practices such as the effective management of the information technology, human resources and budgeting among others are associated with the successful implementation of the process and performance improvement (Forrester, Cambridge & Cinderby,1999). Strategic management has been lauded for the myriad of benefits that are associated with its application in a variety of settings. For instance, it has been associated with high performance outcomes, efficiency and effectiveness. It has also been associated with facilitating the achievement of public values such as transparency, accountability and social justice among others.

Local Planning Decision Analysis

 Planning decisions are usually made on the basis of the national and local policy and the local policies are set out in the local plan which lays the ground of the rules which are used to judge the planning applications ( Baycan-Levent & Nijkamp, 2009). In most cities, the local plan is an integral element in assisting the development, in that it gives a guide and direction of the projected development and it provides a written statement and policy that enables the fulfilling of comprehensive planning. The local plan also shows the explicit contents of development in that the local authority can guide the urban area effectively.

In most cities, the local planning decisions are dependent on aspects such as the local plan, the development control and the local authorities (Forrester, Cambridge & Cinderby,1999).For instance, the city of Arlington in Texas has effectively applied the local plan as an essential instrument in the control of development and as a tool that assesses the development of the local area. In this case, the contents and form of the local plan includes the maps, diagram and illustrations that are prepared to scale and clearly show in maps the land use implications of the policies and the number of facilities projections that are in accordance to the capacity of the population among other factors.

 In addition, it contains the proposed map that indicates the areas that area concerned with the improvement of the existing conditions and the potential areas of development. Additionally, the written statement is part of the local plan which conforms to the structures plan and contains the rationale behind the formulated proposals(Forrester, Cambridge & Cinderby,1999). The hierarchy development plans in the city of Arlington consists of the state structure plan that includes the policy and proposed use of the land that is in accordance with the state’s planning authority, the local plan and the special area plan that contains the details of the planning in the local area.

Planning Issues in the local Planning Decision Analysis

            There are a myriad of planning issues that arise and inhibit the effective implementation of the proposed local plan some with some being not within the jurisdiction of the state ( Baycan-Levent & Nijkamp, 2009).Some of theissues include;

  1. Lack of effective coordination of plans among neighboring jurisdictions

The initial planning system did not ensure that the local plans between and among adjacent cities and county borders were not compatible (Margerum, 2002). In particular instances where the patterns of land use change over time and become incompatible, adjacent cities tend to crop up in closeness to each other. To address such a problem, the regional councils ought to be more active in facilitating the coordination of the decisions pertaining planning in the neighboring communities.

  1. The effects of the national planning laws

Despite the requirements by the state for reach local government to conduct an evaluation report for the purposes of reviewing, it does not require the local plans to be amended in order to capture the alterations to suit the rising infrastructural and service needs for the local community (Zhu, 2009). There is need for the state plans laws to provide a provision for the regular amendment of the local plans to enhance the evolvement of the planning processes as well as making better local plans.

  1. Approval of the private utilities

The process of approving the private utilities fails to consider the provisions of the local plan since it is not regulated by the local authorities and thus they serve beyond the areas that are covered in the local plan.

  1. Lack of plan compliance incentives

Incentives that would facilitate plan compliances are effective and cheaper as opposed to costs of the legal procedures for lack of compliance (Hanke, 2005). Therefore, it would be prudent for the local authorities to make plans and come up with ways to motivate people to comply with the local plan for an effective city transformation.

  • Lack of oversight to ensure effective implementation of the local plan

Notably, unless the process of reviewing regulations that are related to land use and development are initiated by a civilian, the relevant authorities do not conduct regular reviews. In addition, the process of issuing the permits of development that enhance compliance with the local plan is not thorough and as such the civilians are burdened with the task of enforcing these crucial duties (Hanke, 2005). Given that the process of challenging the local authorities on the failure to enhance adherence to comprehensive planning is costly and time consuming, they are not always in a position to initiate such noble tasks.

  • Pre-platted homes

The exemption of the already platted and sold homes from the rules that applied to development prior to the growth management legislation has in a significant way affected the planning process in the city (Zhu, 2009). Therefore, during planning the requirements of planning did not consider those parts of the state which comprised of large tracts of land. In case the present planning laws are applied, such areas would serve as perfect place for new development due to the increased population that has come with new demands for development.

  • Plans for pace of growth

According to the local authorities, the pace for growth in the cities could not match that of the rural areas and as such the plans to develop the rural areas were not required to reach a higher level of precision (Perry, 2004). However, the increased in population coupled with the demands and pressures to grow, such places have been faced with challenges of accommodating the new community demands for new developments.

In addition to the planning issues that concern the local authorities, there are other planning issues that arise during the process of planning application by individual citizens or groups. For instance, in the process of compiling a planning application, the issue of obtaining an environmental statement consumes most of the time for an applicant and they may opt for the intervention of third parties who may render the application inconsistent (Hanke, 2005). Most of the challenges arise in describing the development as well as the development parameter which may prompt an applicant to engage a variety of experts who in offering varying input that ultimately lead to delays and rewriting of the reports.