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Planning Process for Urban, Rural, and Regional Contexts

The Urban areas planning process tends to be more complex and prone to conflict and process of disputing or arguing. The land values are higher, property ownership is more complex, and flexibility to change land uses is often more limited. It is important to acknowledge that land use planning is going through a paradigm shift across the world.

From an earlier, purist approach of exclusive zones for specific uses (e.g., residential, commercial), there is a shift toward right mixes of compatible uses (e.g., residential with small businesses, institutional with offices). From an earlier approach of flat, low-density urban development, there is a shift toward more compact cities with variable density correlated with urban transport systems.

Other distinctive characteristics of the urban planning process include the following

– Developed or built-up areas predominate. Therefore, the land use plan needs to show and plan for diverse land uses.
– The demand for infrastructure will be higher (in both quantitative and qualitative terms) and the provision of infrastructure more complex and costly. Therefore, housing reconstruction must be closely coördinated with the development of infrastructure.
– Urban land use planning has an immediate and highly visible impact on urban land values. Therefore, a transparent approach to the planning process is essential.
– Urban areas are more likely to have agencies that undertake planning and regulation as well as professionals for design and supervision. Therefore, the approach to DRR is usually based on planning and regulation.

DRR full meaning is disaster risk reduction, which is the systematic approach to identifying, assessing and reducing the risks of disaster. It aims to reduce socio-economic vulnerabilities to disaster as well as dealing with the environmental and other hazards that trigger them.

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Planning Process

– Investments in urban settlements and infrastructure during reconstruction should contribute to already-established urban development goals.
– Development control and regulation systems are usually present in urban areas but tend to be flawed and complicated, creating high incentives for noncompliance. DRR initiatives, therefore, need to focus on simple and effective regulatory systems. The case study on the 1985 Mexico City earthquake shows how the deterioration of apartment buildings caused by the lack of building code enforcement may have contributed to the disaster impact and the cost of reconstruction.

– Stakeholder participation in urban areas is relatively difficult due to such factors as the diversity of interests resulting in more conflict, higher sensitivity of residents to delays, and the volatility of public opinion in post-disaster situations. People are also more mobile and their free time is more limited. Urban residents often care more about their own space than about common space, since geography is only one basis for identity in an urban context.

The rural areas settlements and the associated built-up areas form a relatively small part of the larger landscape. Land values are lower, and, while ownership and titling issues exist, they can often be resolved relatively easily through participation. The sense of ownership is higher in rural areas, and the social structure plays a major role in the dynamics of reconstruction. However, community participation is fully achievable in a rural context.

Other features of rural planning process include the following

– Land use plans need to respond more definitely to natural features, such as geology, topography, hydrology, and ecology. The classification of uses within a settlement will assume less significance while in the larger landscape will show the diversity of uses in agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry, and other related activities.
– Institutional arrangements for regulating development are nonexistent in rural areas of most developing nations; there may be no designated planning agency whatsoever. The approach to DRR should be based on building awareness and training construction workers.

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– A land use plan in a rural area may not dramatically change land values, but can still have a significant impact on the sustainability of development.
– Physical planning may be limited to a basic road network and essential services within the settlement. However, there may be planning required to support agriculture and other rural livelihoods.
– Housing is usually designed and built by owners themselves or by local masons. It is important that building regulations are responsive to the local cultural context.

The regional contexts planning process becomes relevant if there are reconstruction requirements or vulnerability mitigation issues that are spread over large, geographically integrated areas. For example, if the road network in a large area has been damaged or if an entire floodplain has attracted high-risk land uses, a regional plan may be the right vehicle. Coastal zones also may have special planning or regulatory regimes that govern set-backs and land uses across multiple jurisdictions.

Other considerations with regional planning process include the following

– A regional land use plan will deal with macro-level issues, like locations of settlements, protection of forests, and management of coastal zones, river basins, and floodplains. However, such plans by themselves will not be enough to guide the post-disaster reconstruction process.
– Physical planning at the regional scale will primarily look at the facilities for regional infrastructures, such as regional roads, structures for watershed management, and bulk water pipelines.

– The institutional arrangements for regional planning can vary from state or provincial governments to special agencies set up to coördinate development in a particular zone. Their planning capability will vary.
– Regional plans are often developed with an economic focus. Their utility in a post-disaster context may be to connect disaster recovery to the economic goals set out in the plan.
– Regional plans have to be complemented by plans for the rural and urban areas within the region. Source

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The Author

TPL. Adegboyega Tunde

I am Adegboyega Tunde Temitayo. A registered Town Planner with Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) and Town Planners Registration Council (TOPREC). I love to think differently and possibly on various Urban and Regional Planning issues to proffer solutions to Urban and Rural Environmental Problems. As the Chief Editor of Town Planners Diary, I humbly welcome you to this platform which is about enhancing Planning Education through research on various Town Planning and Environmental issues.

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