Tag Archives: City Planning

What is Urban Planning?

This question comes up all the time… How do you measure the effectiveness of planning.

City planning has been with us for millennia. One can find examples of planned cities from the Roman era and even before.

Systematically measuring planning effectiveness in a quantitative way can be challenging as planning is meant to respond to very localized needs and demands. I am not suggesting that measuring the effectiveness of planning is hard, but that coming up with steadfast metrics on what makes effective planning can be challenging, and furthermore, can be meaningless. For example, what does the significance of knowing that the City of New York has X planners per 1000 people mean to a city like Beijing or Mumbai?

Over the course of several entries, I hope to illustrate what are the important aspects of physical planning that need to be taken into account to have an effective planning organization.

But let’s start with a “simple” exercise. What is city planning?

For my purposes, the definition of urban planning that I will use moving forward is:
“The set of activities tied to the holistic organization of an urban environment to support the improvement of the health and welfare of the urban environment.”

So what falls under the set of activities?
– Urban Design: Construction, Zoning, Architecture, Landscape Architecture
– Transportation Planning: Engineers, Construction
– Economic Development: Creating the catalyst for the highest and best use of the land.
– Land Use Planning: The sets of decisions for how land should be utilized (basically the root of all planning)

Next Article: How do these activities relate to one another.