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Urban Planning: Why it is So Important

If you look at well-planned cities, from Copenhagen, Denmark to San Francisco, USA, and Curitiba, Brazil, one cannot but wonder, "Why can't all urban areas be like them?"

Lakshan Pinto
July 13, 2021
Site planning

Urban Planning: Why it is So Important

If you look at well-planned cities, from Copenhagen, Denmark to San Francisco, USA, and Curitiba, Brazil, one cannot but wonder, "Why can't all urban areas be like them?" From their design to the organization, everything appears to tick right. This is one of the primary benefits of good urban planning. In this post, we dig deeper into the concept of urban planning to answer two main questions, “What is urban planning?” and “What benefits does it bring?”

What is Urban Planning?

Before looking at the main benefits of urban planning, let us go back to the beginning and understand what it is. Urban planning, also referred to as city planning, town planning, or regional planning, is the process that focuses on a number of things, including development and design of land use as well as the built environment and infrastructure in/or passing in the respective area. Therefore, it looks at all aspects of an urban area, including communications, transportation, property development, population, public facilities, and waste management. 

Traditionally, urban planning used a top-down model when panning for human settlements. However, concerns about public welfare, especially safety and sanitation, emerged, prompting planners to shift to environmental and social bottom lines. The new approach is mainly focused on helping to improve the well-being of the people and sustainability. This is why sustainability has become an important component in urban planning today.

Urban planning is a concept that pools together varying disciplines, including human geography, civil engineering, architecture, social science, politics, and design sciences. It is also important to mention that it is closely related to urban design

What is the Importance of Urban Planning?

  • Serves as a Framework for Growth 

When you think of the best-planned cities, one fact about them is that they are guided by a vision, which is achieved through the adoption of a well-developed framework. The framework is a carefully thought-of plan, helping the city management to anticipate the needs of the city and create structures that all can associate with. With good urban planning, people living in the cities enjoy enhanced prosperity, livability, and equity. Although achieving these goals can take time, the effort is a worthwhile course. 

  • Good Urban Planning Means Better Preparedness 

When people are living in a city, there are many challenges that face them. Today, most cities are faced with the problems of waste management, the development of informal settlements, and disturbing traffic, to mention a few. If a disaster, be it natural or originating from businesses happens, poorly planned cities find it pretty challenging to address them. However, carefully thought of urban plans anticipate these challenges and prepare for them. For example, good planning is used to create building codes to ensure that residential and commercial entities get the support they need to thrive. 

  • Helps Cities to Create Lasting Relationships

When developing master plans, one of the important components is involving all stakeholders. Therefore, the local community, which includes investors and residents, develops special connections with the city. It becomes their home, like a family, and they feel they can do anything to protect it. This is what gives well-developed urban areas special cultures that are envied by many. 

  • Good Planning Makes Continuity Easy 

One of the challenges that affect cities today is continuity. When the leadership changes, maybe a new mayor gets into office, he/she might focus on an area that might not necessarily crucial in address the challenges of residents. However, this problem is addressed through urban planning because it identifies the challenges and outlines the best way to address them. This is why top cities have enjoyed high ratings and new leaders easily fit into the path of making them better. 

  • Carefully Planned Cities Greatly Impact the Urban Economy 

One notable attribute about cities is that they are always in competition for investment with others across the globe. If a city is poorly planned, staff will find it challenging to get to work, and it can also be a security risk. Therefore, investors opt out and look for better cities. 

On the other hand, top cities are a magnet to international organization, because they help to boost their image. When tens or hundreds of multinationals come to a city, it is a major boost to the local economy. For example, they pay taxes to the local government, employ the local population, and help to spur growth. 

  • A Sure Way to Build Credibility 

Good urban planning involves a lot of future projections. Particularly, planners put their efforts into designing signature infrastructure. The long-term focus helps to make the cities predictable and creating new opportunities for a well-engaged society. Take the example of London. For decades, the city's infrastructure, especially the road and rail systems, has made it easy for visitors to plan travels. With this predictability, hospitality, tourism, transport, and other niches have continued to thrive. 

  • Well-Planned Cities Help to Optimize Impact 

The process of urban planning requires inherent studies and long-term forecasts, especially with respect to major projects. If it is a water supply network, it is designed with the expectation of population changes in the coming years. This reduces the need to plan for the same infrastructure every other year, allowing the management to direct funds to other areas. 

With good urban planning, one can only expect a progressive city with happy residents. City planners try to look ahead and help anticipate the challenges that can impact it negatively. If you are an aspiring city planner or city designer, it is important to appreciate that the process can be lengthy and also demands the use of appropriate software for city planning, such as SketchUp. You also need to develop good interpersonal skills that can help you to work with teams because urban planning is all about the community. 

What is urban planning? The benefits we have listed in this post are only a few of what to expect from good city planning. Others include reduced carbon footprint, better health, happy residents, and longer lifespan. So, if you are a new planner and want to help with the noble course, do not hesitate. Remember to download the right software for city planning and hone your skills using it. 


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