Spatial Planning

Spatial planning is generally regarded as a public-sector function aimed at influencing future spatial distribution of activities. It acts as a go-between for the state’s, the market’s, and the community’s respective claims on space. The goal is to achieve a more rational territorial organization of land use and the links between them, to balance development demands with the need to protect the environment, and to achieve social and economic goals. In doing so, three distinct mechanisms of involving stakeholders, integrating sectoral policies, and promoting development projects distinguish the three schools of transformative strategy formulation, innovation action, and spatial planning performance.

The task of spatial planning is to analyze various demands, conflicts, and opportunities at a specific spatial level, and then identify concepts, solutions, and strategies for planning and design implementation based on analytical findings. Current and future issues are addressed in a forward-thinking manner. The goal is to encourage and support sustainable and equitable development at all spatial scales.

Spatial planning systems are the methods and approaches used by the public and private sectors to influence the distribution of people and activities in various scales of space. It seeks to coordinate and improve the effects of other sectoral policies on land use in order to achieve a more even distribution of economic development within a given territory than would be created by market forces. It is the coordination of practices and policies that affect the spatial organization. As a result, it serves an important role in promoting sustainable development and improving the quality of life.

Spatial planning is synonymous with urban planning practices in the United States, but on a larger scale, and the term is frequently used in reference to planning efforts in European countries. Land use, urban, regional, transportation, and environmental planning are all discrete professional disciplines that involve spatial planning. Economic and community planning, as well as maritime spatial planning, are also important related areas. Spatial planning occurs at the local, regional, national, and international levels and frequently results in the development of a spatial plan.

Regional/spatial planning gives geographical expression to society’s economic, social, cultural, and environmental policies. It is a critical tool for promoting proactive, preventive adaptation of human settlements to hazards caused or exacerbated by changes in climate patterns and extreme events. It is a scientific discipline, an administrative technique, and a policy developed as an interdisciplinary and comprehensive approach to balanced regional development and physical space organization in accordance with an overall strategy.

There are numerous planning systems in use around the world. The form of planning varies and evolves in tandem with societies and their governance systems. Many national climate change adaptation strategies and urban development agendas identify urban and spatial development planning as important cross-cutting issues that can and should be addressed in the context of adaptation and resilience. Every country, and each state within a country, has a distinct planning system comprised of various actors, different planning perspectives, and a distinct institutional framework. Perspectives, actors, and institutions shift over time, influencing the shape and impact of spatial planning. Spatial planning can reduce risk by influencing people’s and structures’ (e.g., buildings and roads) exposure to extreme events, as well as their vulnerability to crisis and change.