Stages and Concepts of the Planning Process in Urban and Regional Planning

Planning is an approach to problem-solving which provides a systematic way of viewing problems and developing short- and long-term solutions. This can also be viewed as a decision-making process used to help guide decisions concerning future needs. Planning process in urban and regional planning plays an important role in bridging the gap between design and manufacturing of a part.

This involves the creation and maintenance of a plan, such as psychological aspects that require conceptual skills. Planning in an organization become a management process, concerned with defining goals for a future direction and determining on the missions and resources to achieve those targets.

To meet the goals, managers may develop plans such as a business plan or a marketing plan. Planning always has a purpose. The purpose may involve the achievement of certain goals or targets.

Stages in the Planning Process

Plan Decision

This has to do with the need to plan. Usually when a problem has been identified and then there would be a need to address such problems which would further stimulate the need to plan and look at various strategies in other to address the identified issue.

Establishment of a framework for management functions: this is the body that would be in charge of the management and implementation of the said plan.

Formulation of Goals and Objectives

This aspect is very important as it shows the desired end, that is, what the planner seeks to achieve to satisfy the expectations of the future. Goals are often widely defined and span over physical, social and economic matters. This requires the planner to have a good knowledge of the system, the organisation, and the environment in which he/she operates.

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Objectives are more specific than goals

Planning Process

They form the base for the formulation of the alternative course of action and plan even the yardstick for evaluation of the plan. Objectives are prioritized and the time frame determined the essence of prioritising objectives to ensure that resources are allocated in a rational manner.

Data Collection

data to be collected and the method for doing so depends on the type of information required. Data can be obtained from both primary and secondary sources. Primary data are obtained through surveys (observation, questionnaires and interviews) and secondary data are from existing literature and documents.

Data Analysis

Data analysis involves organizing and summarizing data in order to answer questions and show relationships. Most planning tasks require the knowledge of relationships and the establishment of trends as well as replications of such relationships. The analysis may require varying statistical methods which also depends on the task, the type of data collected and type of information needed.

Refinement of Goals and Objectives

With more information available at this stage for the planner, he can now redefine the goals stated earlier and re-establish the objectives. Objectives must be understandable and acceptable. They must be stated clearly.

Generation of alternative courses of action it is a planner’s belief that he widens choice and options available to the society. From the results of the previous stages, the planner perceives some of the alternatives course of action to achieve the desired goals.

The solution may involve an already existing approach with modification to specific problems or an entirely new solution may be developed. The course of action and objective are related in other words; the objectives are caused to occur by the course of action.

Evaluation of Alternatives and Adoption of Plan

The intellectual efforts required in planning is not only knowing the alternative course of action that will accomplish the objectives but also which one will be most efficient. Evaluation can be quantitative or qualitative.

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Techniques such as goal achievement matrix, cost-benefit analysis are used in the evaluation. In assessing alternatives, there is the need to anticipate their possible outcomes even though one cannot be certain of the results.

Adoption of Plan

This is a very crucial step for implementation of the plan. The planner, therefore, needs to possess good communication skills, both in writing, graphics and oral presentation. The politics in planning in also evident at the point where the plan is presented for adoption.

The planner should understand the power structure of the socio-economic and the subtle reasons why some individuals or groups may not accept his plan and look for a way to get them to adopt his plan.


A plan does not serve its purpose if it is not put into action. The basic activities of implementation include the following

  • Keeping a work plan with schedule of activities, duration and milestones at various phases of the plan
  • Establishing the formal structure of authority through which work subdivisions are arranged, defined and coordinated.
  • Inter-relating the various parts of the work and the various aspects of the implementation programme especially budget and work plan.
  • Keeping the relevant people and organisation informed as to what is taking place, keeping subordinates informed through records, inspection, research and reports.

Fiscal planning, accounting and control of the budget


The success or failure implementation is assessed through monitoring, in other words, the planner periodically assesses the extent to which the desired goals are being achieved. Information gathered from this stage help him to review the whole plan.

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It is important to check the development that is on track. This is done to check the progress of a plan in achieving the strategic aims and objectives that it was set out to achieve. Review is being done periodically after the plan has been implemented.

This can be very effective if detailed reports are being kept of all the processes that were carried out. In the cause of reviewing if a plan is found to be defective then that said plan is being revisited. Hence the planning process starts all over again

Culled from Peter Hall Mark Tewdwr-Jones (2010) | Urban And Regional Planning.

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About the author

I am Adegboyega Tunde Temitayo. A registered Town Planner with the 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. You can subscribe to my YouTube Channel

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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