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Regional Planning – Need, Importance & Implementation

What is Regional Planning?

Regional planning deals with the planning of areas which constitutes both urban and rural areas. The term regional planning is associated with Urban Planning, the difference remains in the area being discussed. Urban Planning, city planning or town planning concerns a city or a delimited urban area which covers a city or town, however a regional plan can have a number of urban areas.

It can cover from a single city or urban area to multiple cities under a region. This “region” might have undeveloped and inhabited areas too since the area covered under it is huge. Thus towns, villages, uninhabited areas, forests, wastelands, rivers and other natural features also form a part of regional planning. Regional plans may cut across the various state boundaries too. This requires government and municipalities to work together for mutual and overall benefit.

Regional plan is formed to govern and to regulate the growth of a region. It becomes of particular importance when the growth is surrounding a major city. In such cases the city or major urban area becomes the central point or the starting area of a regional plan. It caters to the growing needs of the city, as well as the requirement and future demands of the surrounding area. This helps in much more balanced growth for the whole reason and aids the growth of city. The city and surrounding region are in support of each other and gain their own importance and functional nature over the time.

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How does the regional plan govern growth?

Regional plans takes into account the existing condition of an area and all the surrounding areas. The urban area or the core area might have its own development plan in place for its growth and in such cases the existing plan is also taken into account. The existing plan helps in understanding the vision and growth of the existing urban areas and helps in formulating better policies for the surrounding area. Regional plans might help the existing urban area by decongesting it by catering to the need of satellite cities or developing nearby regions for industrial units.

Regional planning also aims at reducing the conflicts and wastage of resources in the area by eliminating the unnecessary competition of resources within the reason. Proper and planned distribution of resources helps in maximum utilization of resources. It takes into account the economic, environmental, spatial and socioeconomic aspects of the region. The functional linkages are also stronger and more efficient.

Regional planning not only helps in spatial and policy level aspects but also acts as a connecting link in policy implementations. Policies framed in a country are meant for urban areas, rural areas and various other unclassified areas too, all these are taken care of by means of regional plans.

Regional Plan - Need, Importance & Implementation

Difference Between City Planning & Regional Planning

City planning focuses on the land use plans, spatial growth and policies which are at local level (affecting that particular city or town), whereas in case of regional planning the emphasis on the policies is more. Those policies become the guidelines for the urban areas and their existing plans are modified accordingly. This helps in meeting the larger requirement of the whole region.

Additionally, regional plans cover more of national level policies and issues & strengthens integrated development. City planning looks as a limited area when compared to a regional plan. Regional plan covers rural areas and undeveloped areas too which are usually not covered in town plans.

The categories, chapters, topics and aspects covered in both plans also differs because of the different needs and the existing developments. Village area, forests, undeveloped land and waste land might be completely missing from a city plan whereas it forms an important part of  a regional plan.

Importance & Need of Regional Plan

A city or any area might grow in size and hamper the development of its surrounding area. Over the decades it starts competing with the surrounding areas and this results in imbalance. It creates economic as well as functional imbalance in areas. Increases migration, decreases efficiency, results in undue waste of resources and might also find it difficult to meet its needs. To prevent such imbalance regional plans are very much required.

It helps in reducing disparities, promoting growth, promoting sustainable development, economic growth of the collective region based on its potential. Also, issue of migration is also solved to an great extent because the required facilities are more evenly distributed rather than being concentrated in a specific urban area. These plans ensure a much better connectivity within the region and take care of future growth.

Implementation of Regional Plans

Since regional plans cover various types of settlements they require multiple agencies working together for its implementation. This can be done in various manner, either forming a new development authority/ regional board or giving this responsibility to an existing development authority. This newly formed body or the new department in existing development authority then works actively with various other departments. This is required because regional planners need to have a broad overview of the whole region. The plan formed needs to meet the requirement of the whole region and at same time should also cater to the existing requirements.

Allocation of funds is another important aspect of regional planning as the funds are collected and received from various sources. There are various sources since the area covered under a regional plan is a part of various states and different administrative areas. Thus funding might be collectively from state government, central government, special allocation of funds and partially by its own means.

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Tags: Regional Plan, Regional Planning, Development Plan, Urban Planning vs. Regional Planning, Urban & Regional Planning.