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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Land use planning is the term used for a branch of public policy which encompasses various disciplines which seek to order and regulate the use of land in an efficient and ethical way, thus preventing land use conflicts.

Despite confusing nomenclature, the essential function of land use planning remains the same whatever term is applied. The Canadian Institute of Planners offers a definition that: "[Land use] planning means 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"[1]



In the English speaking world, the terms land use planning, town and country planning, regional planning, town planning, urban planning, and urban design are often used interchangeably, and will depend on the country in question but do not always have the same meaning. In Europe the preferred term is increasingly spatial planning or more recently territorial cohesion (for regional and trans-national planning).

In Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand, the term town planning is common, although regional planning, statutory planning and land use planning are also used.

In the United States and Canada, the terms current planning, urban planning and regional planning are more commonly used.


At its most basic level land use planning is likely to involve zoning and transport infrastructure planning. In most developed countries, land use planning is an important part of social policy, ensuring that land is used efficiently for the benefit of the wider economy and population as well as to protect the environment.

Land use planning encompasses the following disciplines:

Architecture, urban design, urban planning, landscape architecture and urban renewal usually address the selection of physical layout, scale of development, aesthetics, costs of alternatives and selection of building materials and impact upon landscape and species.

Environmental planning, will often address the implications of development and plans upon the environment, for example Strategic Environmental Assessment. At the very local level environmental planning may imply the use of tools to forecast impacts of development decisions, including roadway noise, and pollution, surface runoff and flooding assessments.

Because of the many disciplines and knowledge domains involved, land use planners are increasingly making use of Information Technology, such as Geographic Information Systems, and Spatial Decision Support Systems, to assist with analysis and decision-making.


  • Soil Surveys provide extensive land use planning information such as limitations for dwellings with and without basements, shallow excavations, small commercial buildings, and septic tank adsorptions. These can be obtained most easily with the Web Soil Survey. With the Use of a GIS, they can be viewed with the Soil Data Viewer

See also

Further reading


Academic journals

Other resources

Gillfillan, Abigail, "Using Geographic Information Systems to Develop and Analyze Land-Use Policies" (2008). Applied Research Projects. Texas State University. Paper 273.


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External links


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