Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Assistant Professor
Department of Architecture and Planning
NED University of Engineering and Technology

LECTURE NO: 14 – 15

It is a grave reality that planning is a process of continuous efforts to address increasing number of problems over the period of time. A planner desires to address these problems with a vision for the future. This vision of a planner required a flexibility of ideas which could incorporate the changing needs of the society. However to begin from the beginning there involved some preconceived principles of panning which could help him in decision making and development of a hierarchy or phases though which planning is carried out in an appropriate manner.

A planner can be defined as “An artist of rationality with reference to human activity”. It means whatever a planner decides must be reasonable & logical.

• Thus the basic principle of planning is the logic and local explanation of all the actions taken & decisions made.
• Secondly the process of planning the human environment requires an ability to analyze and comprehend existing situation in the contact of physical, Social, Economic & Political realities. Therefore second basic principle of planning is the analysis & interpretation of current scenario with the acquired skills & intellect to plan for future.
• Thirdly by definition the concept of planning can be defined as “Pre thinking & pre arranging things before an event takes place so as a good result can be achieved.” Thus the principles of planning vary with each context and author who defines principles of planning.

• According to “G.K. Hiraskar”, the main principles of planning may be summarized in three words i.e. Health, convenience and beauty.
• From “Health” he meant promotion & creation of healthy environment for both rich & poor to live work or relax. This will be possible when use of land may be made appropriate or the division of land for various uses & zones may be made appropriate.
• From convenience he meant, fulfillment of various needs of the community such as, Social, Economic, Cultural, Public (Utilities).
• From beauty he meant, to pressure the individuality of town and aesthetics in the design of all physical elements in the city.
• Similarly, “Abir Bandy Opadhyay” defines that principles of planning may vary with each definition of planning established by an author. Every new book of planning offers at least one new variation in the definition of planning.
• Thus the principles of planning are fluid in nature & vary as per time & space and people who established them logically & rationally.
• In current time, “The planners established the principles of planning from four major directions” i.e. through quantitative techniques, aesthetic considerations, political behavioral imperatives and social welfare concerns. In each context the principles of planning differs & show its own rational.
• The quantitative techniques means, physical design at city scale and at many other scales by use of mathematical models, electronic days processing, systems analysis & more scientific under pining to formulate public policy.
• Aesthetic consideration means the principles of design applied to the physical open spaces, buildings & activities or more appropriately it can be descried that, aesthetic principles of planning includes.

i) Design by government of an entire city.
ii) Control of key facades of the city like the major arteries & boulevard.
iii) Design of publicly owned properties like public buildings parks & highways.
iv) Rebuilding of deteriorated areas through measure like urban renewal, beautification & acquisition of open space.

• Political / Behavioral imperatives means that planners are not aloof from policies and are attached with local government and planning commissions ^ they seek to implant their plans. Thus the principles of planning from this view point establish a link of “Power Structure” of community, professionals and public institutions to implant public proposals. Thus citizen participation is the basic principle of planning to develop workable program for physical development in any context.
• The social welfare concerns means establishing such principles of planning in which not only the physical improvement occurs but it should also address the issue of social inequality, economic inequality, poverty, discrimination, lack of education and physical deterioration of urban poor and low-income group.
• Conclusively if one summarize the principles of planning it would be evident that, different rational gives impetus to planning principles and it is problem specific, time specific location specific, community specific, institutions specific and based on the decision markers & sate holders of the society for which planning is to be carried out.

The phases of planning can also be defined as the planning process. The planning process requires a logical sequence of interrelated facts on which an argument or scheme is formulated, tested & proved.
• “In 1947 Town & Country Planning Act of UK defines an approach of planning which was based on three logical steps or phases i.e. Survey, Analysis and Plan” . It results in a static, inflexible “once & for all time” Master plan with provision of five yearly review. However its process was incapable of incorporating changing events.
• The basic reason behind which was the process of beginning till end. Where as planning is such discipline of knowledge which is never ending due to changing circumstances and dynamic contexts which required planning processes to be continuative in nature.
• It should not present a final definite panacea, however it should be able to for see, guide & influence the change.
• Planning is concerned about future. Therefore planning process must take, a long term perspective of short term occurrences and it should have an adaptability to review, modify and apply.
• The aim of planning is not specify the nature size & conditions to come in future but rather planning needs to establish a procedure or frame work which can manipulate the future events in desired direction.
• To achieve this objective it is necessary to clarify the major aims of the project or in other words, what are the desire social, economic political and physical directions.
• These aims & objective of plans will provide a standard through which the performance of a plan can be judged & alternative plans can be developed.
• As the planning process need a continuity, adaptability and revision therefore planning decisions shall be flexible ad requires a cyclic process.
• This cyclic process can be demonstrated by some interrelated steps which can be termed as planning process or phases of planning.

There are various opinions regarding the nature and number of steps involved in planning process. However, according to “John RatCliffe” there are seven steps of planning process or the planning process can be outlined in seven phases.
PHASE – 1:
The first phase of planning process is surveying & mapping of the context & its appraisal. It means to identify the individuals, organizations, institutions, stake holders and activities of any context in which planning might function to redress any imbalance & anomaly of that context.
PHASE – 2:
The second phase of planning process is to formulate broad based community goals, which reflects over all demands and desires of the community at large. Or to test the political temperature and the criteria through which the plan shall be assessed. For example, “to provide better standard of housing throughout the local authority area” or “to ensure that adequate open spaces shall be provided to the community at the walking distance. Form these broad goals tactical decisions can be made.
PHASE – 3:
The third phase of planning process is the identification of objective which is more precise to achieve community goals. For example to achieve better standard of housing one requires a policy of rehabilitation or redevelopment or combination of both. This can be dome through public or private sector development or through joint venture. The establishment of community goals & objectives requires an extensive consultative process & public private partnership to develop priorities of the society i.e. to develop more schools or install new sewerage system.
PHASE – 4:
The phase fourth of planning process is to develop possible alternatives, which means the established goals & objective shall be examined and complied and course of action shall be developed. There are might be more than one course of actions which are constrained by financial, legal social and political ground realities. In this phase of planning all the components of solution to each objective which can fulfill a goal may be analyzed & tested. In this way the potential policies are formulated and alternative strategies are established.
PHASE – 5:
The phase five of planning process is evaluation of all the course of actions with a comparative analysis & measurement. In this phase some strategies will be eliminated immediately due to physical, social, economic or political reasons. Where as other strategies may require detailed analysis such as cost benefit analysis, financial appraisal and goal achievement matrix or SWOT analysis. This evaluation will assess & test the performance of each strategy or policy with respect to each objective & goal of plan.
PHASE – 6:
The sixth phase of planning process is implementation of chosen plan. This implementation phase has two major effects. One is the positive action on behalf of planning authority and other is stimulation of private sector enterprise through public sector efforts. In this phase a large amount of control and regulation over development takes place where private sector is supported and informal sector is restricted.
PHASE – 7:
Seventh phase of planning process is the Monitoring & review. Because once the plan is operational it is an abject need to scrutinize the plan with continuous surveillance regarding its working & impacts it generates. In this monitoring stage; the performance of policies is judged through its effectiveness and efficiency. However it may also address the changing circumstance and the adjustments in the plan accordingly. For example in original plan it was indicated that in first five years population growth shall be 100000 and the physical expansion shall take place accordingly. However after 2 years the growth of population has increase many fold than it requires adjustments to provide all the developments proportionately. Thus a careful and continuous monitoring becomes a regular feature of planning process and there shall be given permission in plan for additional planning. Especially it become a major issue in planning process that a change in political power occurs at local or national level which changes the whole scenario of the plan, because the over all goals & objective may have changed. Thus such kind of ever changing factors makes the planning process an endless cycle with dynamic and ever changing situations.

Conclusively the planning process can be summarized in a series of phases and steps such as:

• Preliminary Study (Contextual Appraisal).
• Formulation of Goals (Public Participation / Views of People).
• Identification of Objectives (Public Demand & Details of Policy & Plan).
• Preparation of Alternative Strategies (Various Courses of Actions).
• Evaluation (Strategy for enforcement by Considering the Physical, Social, Economic & Political Realities).
• Implementation (Public Private Partnerships, Regulation and Control over Development).
• Monitoring & Review (Redefining Goals & Objectives with Changing Socio-Political Situations).

• Apart from aforementioned process it must be remembered that planning is no more a traditional landuse planning or physical planning. The old paradigm has been shifted now and become more concerned with Physical, Social, Economic & Political ground realties. Especially a Sustainability dimension is further added in the planning process.

• Therefore no planning process is ultimate and no plan is final because no matter how much sophisticated techniques are applied in any planning process it will always be an issue of debate dialogue & discussion on goals & objectives of plan which are fluid in nature.

• Furthermore; one has to analyze the local context and the manner in which planning of city is carried out in the past because in some contexts the planning is not considered as a process of improving the city but merely an attempt to have personal gains for decision makers in terms of physical, social, economic and political prosperity.

• Thus; a planner needs to be clever enough to foresee, predict, interpret and address the changes and transformations that took place in his / her context and appropriately accommodate the changing scenario to implement his / her visions into reality.

1. Seeley. J., “What is Planning: Definition & Strategy”, Journal of the American Institute of Planners, May 1964.
2. G.K. Hiraskar is the author of the book, “Fundamentals of Town Planning,” 1993, Published by Dhanpat Rai & Sons, 1682, Nai Sarak, Delhi – 110006, India.
3. Abir Bandy Opadhyay is the author of Book, “Text Book of Town Planning”, January 2000, Published by Arunbha Sen, Books and Allied (P) Ltd. 8/1 Chintamoni Das Lane, Calcutta 700009 India.
4. William I. Goodman & Eric. C. Freund, “Principles & Practice of Urban Planning”, 1968; Published by the International City Managers’ Association, 1140 Connecticut Avenue, N. W. Washington D.C. 20036, USA.
5. John RatCliffe, “An Introduction to Town & Country Planning”, 1947, Published by Hutchinson & Co (Publishers) Ltd. 3 Fitzroy Square, London WI, United Kingdom.


  1. Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!

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  2. hi what does it mean by "private sector is supported and informal sector is restricted"

  3. Very best and informative lectures.
    Your Nedian student

  4. Very best and informative lectures.
    Your Nedian student