What is Planning?

Planning today is a diverse, multi-disciplinary professional field that includes traditional land-use and municipal planning, but also encompasses many other areas of practice, which include:

  • General land-use & development
  • Long term land-use planning
  • Regional planning
  • Residential & commercial planning & development
  • Urban design
  • Facilities & infrastructure planning
  • Transportation planning
  • Social & policy planning
  • Housing planning & policy
  • Heritage planning & policy
  • Environmental planning
  • Parks & recreation planning
  • Resource management planning
  • Economic development
  • And others

Definition of Planning:

The profession's traditional, technical definition of ‘planning’ is as follows:

'Planning' means the planning of the scientific, aesthetic and orderly disposition of land, resources, facilities and services with a view to securing the physical, economic and social efficiency, health and well-being of urban and rural communities.

Elements of Planning:

Good professional planning is forward thinking, comprehensive, informed, collaborative and inclusive. Contemporary planning is very much a process, which involves many elements and stages, considering and bringing together people, communities and the environment – leading to desired results. Sustainability – the balancing of long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability – has been integrated as a key principle in contemporary planning practice.

Professional planners rely on many diverse skills and abilities in the undertaking of their work. These include: 

Taking a holistic approach – the ability to look at the ‘big picture’ and consider the whole.

Research – the ability to gather and analyse all relevant information.

Process – the ability to employ communication, consultation & good planning process.

Implementation – the ability to facilitate moving forward with the implementation of plans.

Monitoring Results – the ability to monitor and review the results and outcomes of the implementation of plans.

Innovation – the ability to learn, understand, and evolve.