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Urban Planning

The explosive growth of urban areas has brought with it a host of negative effects. Population concentration in increasingly smaller land-masses has caused a drastic decline in the quality of living both in the residential and work fronts.  While the causes for these problems are many, focus has been maintained on the role and contribution of urban planning processes to this situation. The processes involved in urban planning and development vary considerably, and depend on a number of objective and subjective aspects in the physical, social, economic, and political spheres. In general, planning involves the cyclical processes of plan and policy-making, public debates and feedback, and its implementation and evaluation. A plurality of actors are involved in these processes, such as local governments, citizens groups, industry, governmental ministries, departments and other agencies, and the planners themselves. The interaction and intersections between these affect the overall development of the urban environment and the quality and attributes of the urban environment.

Urban Planning should be more than the preparation of master plans or blueprints for the future. Even when such master plans have involved substantial time and effort to prepare, they are not relevant to real developments on the ground if stakeholders do not adhere to them. In other words, the authority of a master plan can vary a great deal. Effective planning also depends upon the ability of planning authorities to enforce whatever has been agreed upon. The co-ordination and facilitation of all the individual decisions affecting urban land uses is as important as a master plan that is respected.

A city plan can be narrow or broad. It can be focused only on urban land uses and infrastructure, or it can incorporate environmental concerns and use of natural resources, such as water systems. The most ambitious urban plans reflect the interactions among all sectors in the urban area, including urban food systems and agricultural demands. A comprehensive plan also links with land use planning in periurban areas and the surrounding countryside.