Planning Techniques

Land Use Planning

What is Land Use Planning?

Land use planning is a planning technique to improve the quality of life in urban areas. This widely adopted technique is one of the most successful technique followed today. According to this various socio-economic activities are allocated space in a particular area or in other words areas are assigned particular activities based on various parameters which will help in increasing overall efficiency of the urban area. The major categories on basis of activities include residential, commercial, transportation, public and semi public use, government offices etc. This categorisation is considered essential to keep a balance of different activities taking place in an area.

Application of land use planning in planned development

Planned development is essential for sustainable development and thus optimal use of available resources. Since resources are limited it becomes necessary to use the resources wisely. Urban areas which are characterised by high population density are required to develop as per proper plans which are known as development plans or master plans. These plans provide both theoretical and spatial information which will govern the growth of the towns and cities. Land use planning forms most important part in these plans and is shown in the land use map of such plans. It is done by means of colour coding i.e. by assigning specific colour for a particular activity on map. On maps which cover large area the predominant land use is shown and colours are given as per single level hierarchy, no further details of activity is shown under the given land use. For example only residential area will be shown and the possible additional information about the government housing, embassy areas, plotted hosing etc. will not be shown.

Land Use Planning

Importance of land use planning

Land use planning is important to govern the growth of the different activities. Certain percentage of land is reserved for different activities. This helps in balancing all the activities and avoiding excess of a particular activity. It also helps in keeping a check on conflicting activities such as residential and industrial as the pollution from industries will have negative effect on the people living nearby. It also helps in pollution management by segregating different activities by means of certain restrictions and regulations called as zoning, categorisation of permissible and non permissible activities, conforming and non conforming land uses etc.

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Further, land use planning in master plan is binding for all the activities and no development should take place which do not conform to the assigned land use. For example a person can not carry-out commercial activity in place marked for residential/ industrial purpose. In case someone is found to be violating the rules then he/she is entitled for legal action against them. The complete information about the permitted activities is provided in different plans which must be followed.

Benefits of land use planning

As discussed above the main benefits include better quality of life. This is achieved because of the reduced need of travelling, reduced travel distance and time, better utilization of resources, planned development, proper distribution of resources, optimal utilization of land, helps in reducing pollution and thus improving the environmental conditions. This helps in improving the overall management of different facilities and services being provided in the cities.

Benefits and importance of land use planning

Problems faced & criticism of land use planning

There are various instances where land use planning was not successful and is often criticized. One of the major drawback is keeping the land use maps confidential and keeping a check on land speculation after they are published. This is so as it assigns various activities which will take place in a particular area which has a direct relation with the land value and impacts it significantly. It is obvious that person with land under commercial area will get much better prices as compared to residential land. To prevent this in many development acts it is required that government should acquire all land and then develop but this is not possible in existing situation. Another drawback is the large number of applications for change of land use and the actual development does not take place as per the plan prepared because of improper implementation.

Drawbacks and criticism of land use planning

It is often criticised as it takes away the right of the land owner to do the desired activity on his/her land, the activity must be carried out in accordance to the assigned land use. Since the land use change requests are often not entertained people feel cheated as it restricts them from using the land as per their will. Also the team which is involved in preparation of the plan is blamed for assigning the land uses for their own benefit. Since land use plans are legally binding and mostly rigid they cannot be changed easily as a long procedure needs to be adopted.

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Read about: Land Use Planning in IndiaTypes of Development Plans in India, Delhi Master Plan 2021


  1. This is very thoughtful of you especially as our profession receives relatively less attention globally.

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