Regional Planning – Need, Importance & Implementation

What is Regional Planning?

Region means a tract of land; any area; a portion of earth’s surface. Regional planning deals with the efficient placement of land use activities, infrastructure and settlement growth across a larger area of land than an individual city or town. Regional planning is a sub-field of urban planning as it relates land use practices on a broader scale. Regional planning deals with the planning of areas which constitutes both urban and rural areas. 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 number of urban areas.

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.

Regional planning is an important part of city planning. It focuses on how the various aspects of a city can work together to make it function in the best way possible. If you’re looking to build a career in tech, it’s crucial to be on top of what’s happening in Silicon Valley. In urban planning, regional planning is the coordination of land use and transportation planning throughout a region. Regional plans are generally created by Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) though some states have started to create statewide entities to coordinate government agencies and local governments.

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 planning also helps in reducing the conflicts and competition for resources between cities in a region. Developing small towns or satellite towns helps in relieving the stress from higher order town thus increasing efficiency. Regional plans takes into account the economic, spatial and environmental goals and tries to address national level issues. Integrated development and critical analysis of functional linkages is one of the key to achieve the desired growth.

Objectives of Regional Planning

  • Economic growth
  • Attaining economic equality and social justice
  • Achieving full employment
  • Attaining economic self-reliance
  • Modernization of various sectors
  • Redressing imbalances in the economy

Principles of Regional Planning

  • Resist development in flood plains or along earthquake faults. These areas may be utilized as parks or unimproved farmland.
  • Designate transportation corridors using hubs and spokes and considering major new infrastructure.
  • Some thought into the various settlements in the region may play, for example some may be administrative with others based upon manufacturing or transport.
    Consider designating essential nuisance land uses locations, including waste disposal.
  • Designate green belt land or similar to resist settlement amalgamation and protect the environment.
  • Set regional level policy and zoning which encourages a mix of housing values and communities.
  • Consider building codes, zoning laws and policies that encourage the best use of the land.

Regional planning is a way of dividing things up in a way that makes sense. For instance, if you live in a large city, you may want to break it up into districts: downtown, midtown, uptown, and so on. Regional planning is important for your career because it helps you to keep track of what’s going on around you. As the world is becoming increasingly urbanized, local governments need to think about how to plan their cities and towns. Regional planning in urban planning refers to the way in which a city’s growth is planned at the regional level.

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.

Unlike city planning where land use plans are prepared regional planning lays emphasis on policy for the region. Policies are them elaborated and objectives are formed which differ from area to area within the region. Regional plans are a must when cities start to influence development even in far places which might end up in under-utilization and wastage of resources without proper planning.

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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.

Regional planning is an urban planning strategy that focuses on the social, economic, and environmental development of a specific area. Regional plans address the needs of the entire region rather than just one municipality. Regional planning is something you should consider when doing urban planning. The benefits of regional planning include coordination of transportation, housing, and other public services such as police, fire departments, hospitals, and schools.

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.

Unified Settlement Planning

Unified Settlement Planning (USP) is a part of Regional Planning, commonly found in India. Under this planning is done by deciding which areas of the country are economically and socially important. The government will then invest in these regions for growth and development. Regional planning in India has been designed in such a way that it focuses on the overall development of the country. It is also known as integrated regional planning (being done by NCU India: Integration of Spatial and Economic Planning) and which refers to a plan that incorporates all development activities within a particular region. Regional planning in India is a way to have a voice and influence at the national level. Regional planning, when done right, can help build infrastructure and improve the lives of people throughout a region. Regional planning in India doesn’t have a long history. It has been in practice since the 1950s, when the concept was introduced by the Planning Commission of India. Regional planning in India is mainly handled by the National Land Use Policy. The policy, which was implemented in 2006, has been criticized for being inadequate and not doing enough to protect the country’s biodiversity.

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