Planning and Land Use

Land-use planning is the process of regulating the use of land in an effort to promote more desirable social and environmental outcomes as well as a more efficient use of resources. Goals of land-use planning may include environmental conservation, restraint of urban sprawl, minimization of transport costs, prevention of land-use conflicts, and a reduction in exposure to pollutants. By and large, the uses of land determine the diverse socioeconomic activities that occur in a specific area, the patterns of human behavior they produce, and their impact on the environment.

In urban planning, land-use planning seeks to order and regulate land use in an efficient and ethical way, thus preventing land-use conflicts. Governments use land-use planning to manage the development of land within their jurisdictions. In doing so, the governmental unit can plan for the needs of the community while safeguarding natural resources. To this end, it is the systematic assessment of land and water potential, alternatives for land use, and economic and social conditions in order to select and adopt the best land-use options. Often one element of a comprehensive plan, a land-use plan provides a vision for the future possibilities of development in neighborhoods, districts, cities, or any defined planning area.

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