Hierarchical Levels of Planning Regions


In multi level planning there is certain hierarchy of regions. WE can classify it in many ways depending on chosen criterion/criteria. One such classification on size criterion is here.

 Macro Regions

Macro region is naturally bigger. Macro region can be a state of even a group of states, if the states of a country are not big enough. A Macro-major region can be a zone in a country, which may comprise of a few States. For example, in India there are East, West, North, South and Central Zones and ‘Zonal Councils’ of which function is mutual Consultation, developing cooperation and mutual counseling.In a sense macro regions are second in hierarchy, next to the national level. It is also possible that a physical macro region may comprise parts of different states of a country or project planning purposes. (e.g., big river valley projects, an electric grid of different states, and, for the purpose of a particular activity (facility) planning) the macro region ill be parts of different states. State boundaries are not respected in the sense that the macro region may transcend or cut-across administrative boundaries of the states of a country. A macro region may not be uniform or homogeneous in all respects. It may ave homogeneity in one respect (physical complimentarity) and may have heterogeneity n other respect (administrative boundaries). A macro region should have a common resource base and specialization in that resource base, so that production activities can develop on the principle of comparative advantage based on territorial division of labor.(India has been divided into 11 to 20 macro regions-agro-climate or resource regions).The planning Commission of India would have just 5 zonal councils-Eastern, Northern,Central, Western and Southern comprising of certain states but beyond this there is no macro-regionalization in India.These so-called macro regions of India have to have inter state cooperation in the matter of utilization of river water and electricity grids etc.

 Meso Regions

Meso region can be identified with a ‘division’ of a state. Chattisgarh Region,Bundelkhand Region, Baghelkahand Region, Mahakoshal region is usually a sub-division of a state, comprising of several districts. There should be some identifiableaffinity in the area which may even facilitate planning. It can be cultural or administrative region and it will be even better if it is a homogeneous physical region

Micro Regions

In multi-level planning, district is the micro region. It becomes the lowest territorial unitof planning in the hierarchy of planning regions. The most important reason why districtis the most viable micro region for planning is the existence of database and compactadministration. This is the area, which is viable for plan formulation with administrationfor plan implementation and monitoring.A metropolitan area can be one micro region and the area of influence can be another micro region. A nodal point is also a micro region, though in many cases micro regionsare basically rural areas, which may have a number of minor nodes without anyorganizational hierarchy influencing the entire area. The basic characteristic of a microregion is its smallness. There can be some specific micro regions such as belts of extraction of mineral or a reclaimed area, or a not-so-big command area of an irrigational project.

Micro – Minor Region:

This is the region which is associated with, what is called, the grass-root planning. Amicro-minor region can be a block for which also data exists now and for which theremay be a plan. (So far as the quality of data is concerned, there is hardly any activity, or sector, or region or field for which data is not cooked by the vested interest groups: but,that is another story).The block level plan is integrated with the national plan, through the district and statelevel plans. A block level plan is not surgically cut portion of the district plan, which hasits own logic and linkage.At block level, most of the officers will be more concerned with the implementation of the plans than formulating the plans. At block level, the main exercise will be to take intoaccount of the physical and human resources and to find out the prime moving activitieswhich will enable the block people to make best use of the development potential of the block to meet the basic needs of the people.Minimum needs can be satisfied with the production of basic goods with the help of lowentropy local resources. Yet it cannot be said that ‘external help’ will not be necessary.Infrastructure support has to come from the developed regions. Infact, planning of thedevelopment of the transport, communication, banking, education, medical and manyservice facilities has got to be done at the national level.At the panchayat level, basic goods and services can be arranged through the efforts of the local people. Many activities can be so planned that they improve the socio-economicconditions of the people without being the part of the national plan. Several activities can be undertaken with the cooperation of the local people, with minimum of financial andreal resource support from outside e.g., development of dairying, animal husbandry, pisciculture, poultry, soil conservation measures, optimization of the cropping pattern,

.The most important test of micro-minor planning is that the people need not look towards the centre for it. Now days, a lot of importance is given to ‘water harvesting’.Water is proxy for the use of modern inputs in agriculture. Much of the run-off water goes waste and the infiltration rate is also low. If this water can be harvested, not onlythe run-off water can be stored, but sub-soil water reserves can also become rich. Micro-minor watershed development program probably will be the most important program for a country like India. The optimum land use planning can start from the micro-minor area only

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Hierarchical Levels of Planning

The hierarchy of public activity planning and regional development planning is by and large based on a functional division of labor between the different levels. At any level types of plans physical planning shares more extensively similarities both in substantial contents and procedures. The practical implication is that there will be some kinds of overlapping between planning levels, at least when it comes to plans under local planning authority. However, some overlapping might occur in the division between planning at the central state tire as well as regional and local levels.

There are number of plans available to direct the development in an urban or rural areas. The levels at which they operate is different & similarly the nature and details provided in each type is different. Hierarchy and Types of Plans are explained below

Hierarchy of Plans

Master plan :

A coordinated act of planning proposals, for the physical development of a city, via the purposeful transformation of its socio-economic, natural and built environment, taking into consideration the existing requirements and the future needs , with population as the basic parameter.

 Contents of the master plan

  • extent of planning area
  • immediate surrounding area and its effects
  • broad delineation of the land use
  • major circulation pattern of the city
  • major work centers
  • delineation of high and low population density zones
  • zone and sub zone divisions
  • development codes and norms
  • allocation o land for various use zones
  • policies and proposals for development

 Main functions of the plan :

  • to develop the town or city as a combined unit and maintain a balance b/w the spatial allocations for the distribution of facilities
  • formulation of policies for the development of the town/city, aiming at the decentralisation of city centre
  • presenting broad circulation links, for inter-city & intra-city traffic and a multi modal mass transport system
  • Preservation of the natural features of the city
  • division of the city in sub-divisions or zones.

 Zonal development plans :

The master plan divides the city into sub-divisions or zones

Criteria followed are :

  1.          physical & historical growth
  2.          character of land
  3.          intensity of land – use
  4.          circulation pattern ( railways , major arteries etc. )
  5.          municipal boundaries , election & census wards

Contents of a zonal plan

  • land use plan confirming to the master plan
  • location and extent of land uses
  • more detailed circulation pattern
  • special objectives of the zone if any
  • allocation of use zones into further use premises

Functions of a zonal plan

  • A zonal development plan details out and elaborates the policies of the master plan
  • Acts as a link between the master plan and the layout plans
  • Contains a land-use plan for the development of the zone and show the approximate locations and extents of land-uses proposed in the zone
  • The schemes and layout plans indicating use premises should confirm to the master plan

Local area plan

A local area plan (lap) sets out a strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development of a specific area within a local authority and for a timescale as specified by the authority.

Contents of a local area plan

  1. Land use zoning & density
  2. Public open space
  3. Private open space
  4. Car parking
  5. Provision of infrastructure
  6. Conservation of built heritage
  7. Conservation of natural environment
  8. Provision of traveller accommodation
  9. Community facilities
  10.   Design & development standards.

Functions of a local area plan

  • a local area plans gives plot level detail
  • it is also used to check if the master plan is confirming with land.

A sector plan consists of a group of neighborhoods where it is possible to provide higher order facilities for larger population

Contents of a sector plan

  • it is a detailed site plan with broad identification of residential clusters
  • Allocation of commercial areas and other facilities based on access requirement
  • Formation of a boundary depending on circulation pattern  and administrative setup
  • Social and physical infrastructure to be allocated based on development control norms laid down in master plan
  • Traffic links to be identified between arterials and collector roads

Functions of a sector plan

  • Each sector plan has to identify the various neighborhoods with population ranging from 3500-15000
  • It is the lowest level plan for the implementation of the various levels of planning proposals extensively detailed out

hierarchy and types of plan


Source(s): Planning Tank

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Reading Weather Maps: Basics

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Planning History and Famous Planners

Evolution of Planning

The evolution of the Norwegian planning system can be divided in three different stages:

(1) Except for state infrastructure, public planning after the independence in 1814 consisted in general of detailed land use planning based on regulatory schemes confined to urban agglomerations. Just a smaller proportion of the population lived at that time in urban areas. Planning was therefore limited to the tiny urban settlements of the country. Supposedly, this planning was of lesser material relevance for most of the country’s population.

This does not mean that European urban architecture and planning were unknown to the authorities, not even to the people living in the small and scattered urbanities. Buildings exhibiting Romanesque, Renaissance or more commonly Baroque architectural elements are still witnessing of influences from earlier periods. And the Renaissance street grid was introduced in the Mid-1600 planning of fortified towns as well as in planning for the regeneration of towns after devastating fires. These new ideas of urban architecture and planning came relatively late to Norway. Nevertheless, the regulatory character of urban plans had seemingly an earlier origin. As early as in Late-1200 Norwegian urban regulations underlined the need for separating polluting activities from areas where people were living or gathering. This early stage of what more disputable could be labeled as a planning system exhibits characteristics that somehow reveal a rather long tradition. According to needs planning laws and regulations were adopted for prioritized areas.

During the 1840s a state planning law came into being for the biggest towns requiring town plans for these urbanized areas as urban municipalities. Outside these municipal areas, there was no fixed jurisdiction for public planning. The urban planning document was a kind of land use regulation scheme for the physical structures and for the implementation of constructions of certain magnitude, including urban infrastructure. Finally, officials, usually the managers of planning and infrastructure sectors, constituted the majority of planning committees for the execution of planning, including development control.

(2) 1924 marks a decisive move towards an extended unitary planning system when a new building act was adopted for all urban municipalities, and even rural municipalities who wanted to validate this law for their planning. The obligatory jurisdiction area for planning according to this law was still limited to the border of these municipalities. Since any rural municipality had the mandate to validate this law, it came successively into power in most of the municipalities. Still, planning was understood as a public device for the creation of orderly land use and infrastructure service provision based on one category of plans, the zoning plan, which could be regarded as a detailed development plan. In the local planning and building committees officials, in main directors of the different municipal sectors, were in majority.

The rather constrained territorial and functional scope of this law was quite soon challenged from two different positions. Firstly, urbanization and expansion of urban settlements came gradually to weaken the relevance of urban settlement delineations and municipality borders as demarcations for land use planning. Population growth and the evolution of transportation technologies extended gradually urban structures across municipal borders and engendered needs for overall land use planning covering urban settlements in continuity. The first (voluntary) attempts to plan regionally across municipal borders occurred around 1930. Initiated by state planning authorities, these attempts continued from the late 1940s, however without any unitary legal frame for this kind of planning. Secondly, WWII and the subsequent needs for urban regeneration together with political visions for a coherently planned welfare state gave new arguments for the widening of planning tasks, and the establishing of a new institutional order for urban and regional planning. In the beginning, these new tendencies concentrated on planning for regional economic development as a decentralized realization of state policies. Later on attempts to expand the content of planning branched into other tracks.

(3) In 1965 a new building act was adopted. For the first time planning was introduced to the whole main land of the national territory and divided into three distinct planning levels: the central state, regions consisting of two or more municipalities with separate regional planning bodies and the local municipalities representing the local tier. This law introduced elected political rule in planning matters as the planning- and building committees should reflect the political majority in power. Some of the ambitions behind this new system were to extend the mandate of planning in general and on both municipal levels in particular. In county as in municipal planning the intent was to integrate activity planning within different public sectors with land use planning.  In the beginning, infrastructure planning played a prominent role in these attempts to co-ordinate budget planning within public sectors with public land use planning. Particularly in local planning housing was included in this co-ordination.

The State’s involvement in housing was directed towards housing finance through the State Housing Bank and regulation of supply and demand as well. But as the public responsibilities relating to education, health, social security and culture expanded during the 1960s and 1970s, the overall plans for these levels as co-coordinated documents should cover all municipal activities for both levels including the overall land use or structure plans. In consequence, the regional level mandated for land use planning had to be connected to the main entity in charge of public regional services, i.e. the County Municipality. In 1973 the county municipal master plan replaced the former regional plan.

Later on these formal principles are partly maintained, partly consolidated through the existing Planning and Building Act adopted in 1985 and its later revisions. Throughout these reforming activities the principal formal instruments in urban detailed planning and development control are almost kept untouched since 1924, except for some noticeable changes. Regarding planning requirement for EIA was adopted in 1987 and in 2006 land development agreements was legalized as instruments for the exaction of developers’ contributions to infrastructure and community services. The intents to strengthen the democracy in planning are followed up through rules emphasizing public access to information and the rights to participate in planning and building matters. During the latest years certain principles of permitting have been changed giving extended responsibilities of the building control operations to the developer.

Who is A Planner?

 One who creates and recommends plans on land use and other planning fields o  An advisor and regulator to the government, private sector, and the communities o  An urban designer o  Someone who looks far into the future for the welfare of a place o  A capacity builder, facilitator, and educator o  An advocate of causes

Now Let’s Trace history with the Ancients

Planning started in Mesapotamia

 MESOPOTAMIA  10,000 BC – 7TH CENTURY AD •  “Fertile crescent” means land between rivers •  Scope of the Tigris and Euphrates river systems •  Water as a basis of urban development


MESOPOTAMIA 10,000 BC – 7TH CENTURY AD •  Sumer was one of the early civilizations •  15 city-states created •  Religion was power

ANCIENT EGYPT was also an important bastion of planning .3,000 – 300 BC •  Religion still powerful: Ancient Egyptians worshipped kings as gods •  Once buried, lives forever •  Pyramids constructed in capital cities •  Cities of dead people (necropolis)

HIPPODAMUS OF MILETUS 498-408 BC  is known as  “Inventor / father of formal city planning” •  Made the Hippodamian Plan or the grid city to maximise winds in the summer and minimise them in winter •  Has a geometric, arranged style in design •  Also worked on the Piraeus Port and Alexandria

PLATO 428 – 347 BC •  Established the Polluter Pays Principle “If any one internationally pollutes the water of another, whether the water of a spring, or collected in reservoirs, either by poisonous substances, or by digging, or by theft, let the injured party bring the cause before the wardens of the city, and claim in writing the value of the loss; if the accused be found guilty of injuring the water by deleterious substances, let him not only pay damages, but purify the stream or the cistern which contains the water, in such manner as the laws… order the purification to be made by the offender in each case.”

PLATO 428 – 347 BC •  Polluter Pays is in our Environmental Code (PD1152) It shall be the responsibility of the polluter to contain, remove, and clean-up water pollution incidents at his own expense. In case of his failure to do so, the government agencies concerned shall undertake containment, removal, and clean-up operations and expenses incurred in said operations shall be against the persons and/or entities responsible for such pollution.

ARISTOTLE(384 – 322 BC )  Provided the foundation for the concept of intergenerational equity •  For our children’s children Human well-being is realised only partly by satisfying whatever people’s preferences happen to be at a particular time; it is also necessary for successive generations to leave behind sufficient resources so that future generations are not constrained in their preferences.”

THE ROMAN EMPIRE 29 BC – 393 AD •  Excelled in military science and engineering •  Designs and inventions looked at improving transport and military strategies

THE ROMAN EMPIRE 29 BC – 393 AD •  Heavily dependent on water •  Engineered sewerage, canals, hydraulics roman aqueducts.info

 Socio-political events resulted to religious divisions, absence of military discipline, murder, and citizen unrest •  Moral decay led to the fall of Rome •  Vikings destroyed the Aqueduct roman aqueducts


5TH – 15TH CENTURY AD •  The church and monasticism •  Rise of Islam •  Byzantine empire •  State power •  The Crusades •  Carolingian dynasty roman

CATHEDRAL CITIES •  Cathedral or monument as a focal point of the city •  Radial growth •  Retained the walled city from Roman practice •  Enclosure caused problems such as epidemics and limited resources


14TH TO 17TH CENTURY AD •  Commerce as a driving factor •  Called for accessibility and mobility •  Like the Medieval Period, had a radial growth pattern •  Plans began to follow the topography of an area

LEON BATTISTA ALBERTI 1404-1472 •  Wrote the De Re Aedificatoria: Ten books of planning and design principles Growth is characterized by a star-shaped form




1800s – 1900s •  Emphasized beauty and aesthetics •  Think monuments, grand buildings, parks, perfect landscapes, lakes, and circular road systems roman aqueducts.

DANIEL HUDSON BURNHAM 1846-1912 •  Father of American City Planning •  Together with Frederick Law Olmstead and John Wellborn Root, designed the World’s Columbian Exposition, the first comprehensive planning document in the US

 “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever- growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty.”

 Greatest feat was the Plan of Chicago (called Paris on a Prairie); other plans include Manila, Baguio, Cleveland, and San Francisco

SIR EBENEZER HOWARD 1850 – 1928 •  Wrote the book Garden Cities of Tomorrow •  Addressed population and pollution that came about by the industrial revolution by creating garden cities

SIR RAYMOND UNWIN Architect – city planner for Letchworth  Wrote Nothing Gained by Overcrowding SIR FREDERIC JAMES OSBORN
 Championed garden cities LOUIS DE SOISSONS Architect of Welwyn

CORBUSIER (CHARLES EDOUARD JEANNERET) 1887-1965 •  Created the Radiant City •  Modernist, futuristic, and orderly •  But socially disadvantageous and unrealistic for settlements •  Criticized because he tried to solve congestion with more congestion •  Wrote the books Urbanisme and The City of Tomorrow and Its Planning


FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT 1867-1959 •  Champion and proponent of urban decentralisation •  Involved communities •  Designed the 1,000-hectare Broadacre City •  included social services in the forms of schools, trains, and museums, as well as employment in the forms of markets, offices, nearby farms, and industrial areas •  Plan included a helicopter, which was criticized



CLARENCE STEIN 1882-1975 •  Initiated plans to produce greenbelt resettlements all over the US •  Wrote the book Toward New Towns for America

HENRY WRIGHT1878-1936 •  Created the superblock

CLARENCE PERRY  1872-1944 •  Conceptualized the neighborhood unit •  Similar to the superblock •  Bounded by major streets •  Has a church, school, and shops •  200 sqm to 2 sqkm

SIR PATRICK GEDDES 1954-1932 •  Introduced the notion of a region •  Became the Father of Regional Planning •  Biologist, sociologist, and geographer •  Dissected the planning environment by analysing occupational activities •  Used observation and rational methods •  Instead of gridiron planning, used conservative surgery

  Introduced the term conurbation, which means “an aggregation of continuous network of urban communities.” •  Emphasized the relationships of people and cities, thus the city- region term. •  Used the rational planning method of Survey Analysis •  Wrote the book Cities in Evolution Israel.travel

SIR LESLIE PATRICK ABERCROMBIE 1954-1932 •  Created the post-war plans for London, and combatted sprawling by resettlement •  Made the London Country Plan (1944) and the Greater London Plan (1943)

LEWIS MUMFORD 1895-1990 •  A historian-sociologist who studied cities and architecture •  From his 23 books, the most prominent in city planning is The City in History, which pointed out how technology and nature could be harmonious •  Gave the concept of an organic city •  Rationalised how planning has various disciplines Wikipedia

Mumford was friends with City Beautiful advocates Frank Lloyd Wright, Clarence Stein, and Frederic Osborn. Mumford and Wright exchanged transatlantic letters on professional and personal matters

BENTON MCKAYE 1879-1975 •  Originator of the 3,500 km Appalachian Trail in the eastern United States (Georgia to Maine) •  Was a forester and conservationist, and co-founded the Wilderness Society •  Championed regional conservationism

EDWARD BASSETT 1863-1948 •  Urban planner and lawyer who was the Father of American Zoning. He was the first to use zoning as a means of implementing land use in New York. He wrote books about zoning. •  Also coined the term freeway and parkway

 1844-1920 •  Made the concept Linear City, which has many parallel and specialized functions

TONY GARNIER 1869-1948 •  Made the concept Linear Industrial City, which has many parallel and specialized functions •  Used the concept of zoning and labeled space into leisure, industry, work, and transport Wikipedia

THOMAS ADAMS 1871-1940 •  Worked primarily on low-density residences or garden suburbs •  Founded the British Town Planning Institute •  Wrote the book Rural Planning and Development •  Pushed for planning legislation by mandate, local plans, zoning, building regulations, and recognized the responsibility of a licensed or professional planner

CONSTANTINOS APOSTOLOS DOXIADIS 1914-1975 •  Studied the science of human settlements, called ekistics •  Looks into the culture, economics, and society in varying scales

FRANCIS STUART CHAPIN 1888-1974 •  As a sociologist and educator, he stressed the importance of quantifying social activities in an evolving city through statistics. •  He was the first to write the textbooks on urban and regional planning Amazon

IRA LOWRY •  Published A Model of Metropolis, a computer model for spatial organization of anthropogenic activities in a metropolitan area •  This generates an assessment that can be the basis for urban policy decisions •  Worked with Robert Garin on a model that looks at the relationship and logic to the spatial arrangement of human activities •  Expands to gravity modeling, or trip distribution in transport planning, or distance decay in physics Amazon

WILLIAM LEVITT 1907-1994 •  Father of American Suburbia / The King of Suburbia / The Inventor of the Suburb •  Mass produced houses that were affordable

CATHERINE BAUER WURSTER 1905-1964 •  An advocate of social and public housing. She authored the American Housing Act of 1937 and was an adviser to five presidents. •  Wrote the book Modern Housing •  She also worked with Lewis Mumford

ROBERT MOSES 1888-1981 •  The Master Builder of New York •  His plans had parkways, expressways, and housing development •  One of the most controversial figures in the history of urban planning

SAUL DAVID ALINSKY 1909-1972 •  Founder of modern community organizing •  Wrote the book Rules for Radicals  •  Worked with the poorer communities, and influenced neighbourhood organisations

SHERRY ARNSTEIN 1909-1972 •  Social and health worker •  Published an article on the ladder of citizen participation, which gave not only a voice  but power to the citizens. This addressed how citizens were being victimised, and led the way to participatory planning.

 1916-2006 •  An urban activist who was strong and vocal against urban renewal; she fought for new urbanism •  Wrote the powerful book The Death and Life of American Cities Her book and activism led to the eventual fall of urban renewal towards city diversity, mixed-use, dense neighborhoods, and vibrant communities. •  Also wrote the book The Economy of Cities

 1907-1964 •  A marine biologist •  Wrote the powerful book Silent Spring, a haunting compilation and narrative of research about the detrimental and even lethal effects of pesticides and fertilisers on the living environment •  This book launched a global environmental movement

IAN MCHARG 1920-2001 •  Was called an “architect who valued a site’s natural features” •  Transformed efforts of traditional planning into environmental planning by using the technique of sieve mapping or overlay, which took into account the varied features of the environment.

  Wrote the book Design with Nature, which triggered responsible planning of landscapes, respecting natural features •  Laid the foundation for Geographic Information Systems


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