The basis for integrating energy aspects in planning processes is a thorough understanding of the existing urban planning process in a given city. Such a process should include all phases , steps, stakeholders and their related activities/responsibilities as well as instruments and tools used in planning urban development projects.
In most cases the main planning instrument of a city such as the zoning plan or land use plan needs to be adapted when new projects are being developed. However, it is important to not only show the final, official steps when adapting the zoning plan. The process map should depict all phases including the early planning steps, feasibility and master plans, the permitting process, and final implementation. It should also show some decision points or paths during this process for instance criteria for special procedural steps or competitions. It might also be helpful to develop two process maps: one for the procedure of new development areas and one for transformation areas.
The principal phases of an urban planning process are:
- Preparatory / exploration phase
- Feasibility/planning phase
- Formal planning/zoning phase
- Design and implementation phase
- Operational phase