City Development Plan (CDP) and comparison with master plan

Introduction to City Development Plan

A City Development Plan (CDP) is both a perspective and a vision for the future development of a city. It presents the current stage of the city’s development – where are we now? It sets out the directions of change – where do we want to go? It identifies the thrust areas — what do we need to address on a priority basis It also suggests alternative routes, strategies, and interventions for bringing about the change – what interventions do we make in order to attain the vision? City Development Plan (CDP) is anchored in the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) with a focus on creating economically productive, efficient equitable and responsive cities.  Both perspective and vision document for the future development of a city; Developing a vision and selection of strategy is central to preparation; Wide range of consultations among key stakeholders; Defines potential of city, its attributes in terms of comparative and competitive advantage; Includes City Investment Plan: detailed analysis of finances; In depth analysis and review of existing situation.

City Development Plan

Working On Strategies: Develops one or more strategies guided by goals and objectives in consultation with various stakeholders.

A City Investment Plan: (CIP) provides an estimate of the level of investment that will be needed to implement the CDP.

Related: Concept, Basic Characteristics & Preparation of Master Plan

Process of Preparation of CDP

Preparation of a City Development Plan is a multi-stage exercise, involving: In-depth analysis of the existing situation, covering the demographic, economic, financial, infrastructure, physical, environmental and institutional aspects. The purpose of this stage is to review and analyse the current status of the city with regard to the state of its development, systems and procedures, as equally its institutional and financial context. Development of a perspective and a vision of the city: Using the results of the first stage of analysis combined with consultations with key stakeholders and civil society, this stage is meant to develop a vision for the future development. Formulating a strategy for bridging the gap between where the city is and where it wishes to go. It is in this stage that strategies and interventions are identified for attaining the vision and future development perspectives. Preparing a City Investment Plan (CIP) and a financing strategy: An investment plan and a financing strategy are an integral part of the CDP.

Process of Formulating a CDP

Related: Loss to community because of incompetent planners!

Strengths of City Development Plan

Some aspects which even though are emphasized in the master plan but always are down played. CDP highlights like preparation of financial profile of a city, investment plan and strategy plan and infrastructure profile in preparation of CDP, which will go a long way in realizing harmonious and sustainable development of towns and cities. In India, the projects envisaged under the first major urban renewal program (JNNURM) is implemented through CDP, which are essentially city level capital investment plans, prepared largely independently of the city’s Master Plan. This is because the city master plans do not have any financial plan attached to them and have very poor reflection of socio-economic concerns.

Master plan  aims to promote growth and regulate present and future development of towns and cities. It allocates land to various uses for harmonious and sustainable distribution of land.  Though CDP provides future development perspectives, its focus is more on development of economic and social infrastructure, financial accounting, strengthening of municipal governance.  It also gives zoning regulations for harmonizing the development in each zone.  CDP was meant to be implemented under the master plan but afterwards it went off path being isolated from master plan proposals.  Master plan is a statutory instrument for guiding and regulating development- So people have to listen and adopt it. Master plan takes the cognizance of the regional linkages. For CDP, the emphasis is city based. It is a comprehensive document, integrates all aspects of development.  CDP only identifies projects under JNNURM guidelines.

City Development Plan (CDP) vs Master Plan

Many times CDP is made in cities with no Master plan. This isolation amount to ignoring an existing legal instrument of city planning and leads to only project oriented development. City Development Plan is usually taken as a synonym to a Master Plan, which is a statutory document having gone through the process of `public opinions and objections’ and backing. CDP may not be even prepared by professional Planners. It fails to seek advantage of modern data sources as used in development plans and thus may contradict the statutory master plan. JNNURM gets more financials to prepare CDP than NUIS for development plans although CDP has to be prepared for less number of cities.

Comparision of Master Plan and City Development Plan


Master Plan is a tool to work out land and infrastructure requirements for various urban and rural uses and it promotes growth and regulates future development for a perspective year of 20 – 25 years. It is based on the concept of multidimensionality and comprehensive nature. The plan making process follows a systems view of planning involving instrumental rationality.  Although master Plan is an important legal document, it has many weaknesses like being rigid which call for alternatives to Master Plan.  City Development Plan is also a vision document but is more focussed on the financing and project implementation work with a perspective of 5 years.  Although CDP has many plus points, there are debates on CDP that it is often taken as a synonym of master plan with no statutory backing. Many a times it is made by people other than planners and works in isolation to Master Plan. There is a need to synchronise the implementation of CDP and Master Plan and and can be made as a single plan identifying financial proposals. Better synchronization between CDP and Master Plan is essential for an efficient planning. CDP shoulder in tune with the Master Plan policies. Bringing the CDPs prepared under the JNNURM into the planning framework suggested by the UDPFI Guidelines. Master plan can itself identify the project and priorities and also provides financial proposals so that it becomes important to prepare a master plan.

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