Site planning
Master Planning: A Step-by-Step Guide

Master Planning: A Step-by-Step Guide

The main steps that you should follow to create a great plan and enjoy the benefits.

August 13, 2021

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail." This quote of wisdom was given by one of the founding portraits of the United States, Benjamin Franklin, which was a great proponent of planning and development at the international level. Well, we want to add something here – a single plan is a good beginning, but a long strategic plan is even better. In building and design, master planning is more important because it acts as a roadmap defining how the entire project should proceed. This post takes a closer look at master planning to determine what it entails, the main tools for architects, and how you can create the best plans. 

What is Master Planning?

A master plan is a carefully crafted document that provides data and conceptual layout for guiding future growth and development. It is very important for successful building, site, and city designs. It is all about making the connections between surrounding environments, social settings, and buildings. Therefore, it includes data on recommendations, analysis, and proposals for the targeted site’s housing, economy, population, community facilities, transportation, and land use. 

Other aspects of master planning that you must factor in are the past, present and future practical, functional, and economic realities. Therefore, we must say it is a balancing act, which requires the ability to interpret the current policies and think about the future of the area under consideration. 

Benefits of Using Master Plans 

The biggest advantage of using good master plans is improved communication. Because master planning is the initial step in the design phase, it outlines the entire scope of the project under consideration. Therefore, the lead architect works with the rest of the team, which means one thing – it greatly improves communication skills and project development success as a whole. Other benefits include: 

  • It outlines the main goals of a project and makes it easy to achieve them. 
  • Helps to make coordination between teams more effective. 
  • Makes it easy for architects to focus on the main features of their projects. 
  • With a good plan, it becomes easy to address and avoid issues. 

How do I make a master plan?

One thing that you need to appreciate about master planning is that there is no formal process of doing it. Rather, every team might have its own approach to doing it. However, we have highlighted the main steps that you should follow to create a great plan and enjoy the benefits we have highlighted above: 

Step 1: Initial/ Defining Phase

This is a preparatory phase and it involves drawing the main goals and objectives of the project. At this stage, you need to clearly outline the business case by looking at the viability of the main project. So, be more analytical and ask the main questions about the project. What does the feasibility study of the project say? 

Step 2: Testing 

The second and equally crucial phase of master planning is getting the project tested. So, you need to check land use distribution and relationships between various concepts. For example, what are the strategic connections between various destinations, such as roads, public park sections, residential areas, and industrial regions? Move a step ahead and ask the question, are the open spaces ample? 

Step 3: Pick the Preferred Strategy

Which model of your project do you prefer? For example, what patterns of block and density areas do you prefer? You also need to outline the movement framework, including the street hierarchies and define the characteristics of every route. Other components to define at this stage include the characters of the main open space. For example, what components do you include in the open spaces? 

Step 4: Refine Your Design

Before you can conclude that your master plan is okay, it needs to be refined. One of the best ways of doing this is checking the main concepts and how effectively they are represented. So check the concept architecture, street design, park location suggestions and landscapes by asking the following questions: Are the city building typologies and characters okay? What about the streets and highways? Are the open spaces enough and able to cater to the public? 

Master planning is a crucial component in architectural designs because it allows building and construction professionals to work on their projects with utmost precision. Remember that you need to have the right skills and software, such as the SketchUp, for effective master planning.

Join our waiting list

Be the first to get exclusive access to early releases, valuable insights, and platform updates from DBF.

By submitting this form you agree to receive emails, text and promotional communications from DBF related to products and services in accordance with DBF privacy policy.

Thank you! You have joined the waiting list!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.