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Theories of urban planning

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Theories of urban planning

Urban planning designs settlements, from the smallest towns to the largest cities. Shown here is Hong Kong from Western District overlooking Kowloon, across Victoria Harbour.

Urban planning (urban, merged urban regions, regional, city, and town planning) is a technical and political process concerned with the use of land and design of the urban environment, including air and water and infrastructure passing into and out of urban areas such as transportation and distribution networks.

Urban planning guides and ensures the orderly development of settlements and satellite communities which commute into and out of urban areas or share resources with it. It concerns itself with research and analysis, strategic thinking, architecture, urban design, public consultation, policy recommendations, implementation and management.[1]

A plan can take a variety of forms including strategic plans, comprehensive plans, neighborhood plans, regulatory and incentive strategies, or historic preservation plans. Planners are often also responsible for enforcing the chosen policies.

The modern origins of urban planning lie in the movement for urban reform that arose as a reaction against the disorder of the industrial city in the mid-19th century. Urban planning can include urban renewal, by adapting urban planning methods to existing cities suffering from decline. Alternatively, it can concern the massive challenges associated with urban growth, particularly in the Global South.[2]

In the late 20th century, the term sustainable development has come to represent an ideal outcome in the sum of all planning goals.[3]


  • History 1
    • Classical and Medieval Europe 1.1
    • Renaissance Europe 1.2
    • Enlightenment Europe 1.3
    • Modern urban planning 1.4
      • Garden city movement 1.4.1
      • Urban planning profession 1.4.2
      • Modernism 1.4.3
      • New Towns 1.4.4
      • Urban planning in Communist countries 1.4.5
    • Reaction 1.5
    • New Urbanism 1.6
    • Sustainable development and sustainability 1.7
  • Aspects 2
    • Aesthetics 2.1
    • Safety and security 2.2
    • Slums 2.3
    • Decay 2.4
    • Reconstruction and renewal 2.5
    • New master-planned cities 2.6
    • Transport 2.7
    • Suburbanization 2.8
    • Environmental factors 2.9
    • Scope 2.10
    • Light and sound 2.11
    • Water and Sanitation Infrastructure 2.12
      • Access & Health Impacts 2.12.1
      • Latrines 2.12.2
      • Waste-Water 2.12.3
  • Theories of planning 3
    • Rational planning 3.1
    • Synoptic planning 3.2
    • Participatory Planning 3.3
    • Incrementalism 3.4
    • Mixed scanning model 3.5
    • Transactive planning 3.6
    • Advocacy planning 3.7
    • Bargaining model 3.8
    • Communicative approach 3.9
  • Process 4
    • Changes to the planning process 4.1
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8
    • Library Guides for Urban Planning 8.1


In the Minoan, Mesopotamian, Harrapan, and Egyptian civilizations of the third millennium BC (see Urban planning in ancient Egypt). The first recorded description of urban planning is described in the Epic of Gilgamesh: "Go up on to the wall of Uruk and walk around. Inspect the foundation platform and scrutinize the brickwork. Testify that its bricks are baked bricks, And that the Seven Counsellors must have laid its foundations. One square mile is city, one square mile is orchards, one square mile is claypits, as well as the open ground of Ishtar's temple.Three square miles and the open ground comprise Uruk. Look for the copper tablet-box, Undo its bronze lock, Open the door to its secret, Lift out the lapis lazuli tablet and read." [4]

Distinct characteristics of urban planning from remains of the cities of Harappa, Lothal, and Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley Civilization (in modern-day northwestern India and Pakistan) lead archeologists to conclude that they are the earliest examples of deliberately planned and managed cities.[5][6] The streets of many of these early cities were paved and laid out at right angles in a grid pattern, with a hierarchy of streets from major boulevards to residential alleys. Archaeological evidence suggests that many Harrapan houses were laid out to protect from noise and enhance residential privacy; many also had their own water wells, probably for both sanitary and ritual purposes. These ancient cities were unique in that they often had drainage systems, seemingly tied to a well-developed ideal of urban sanitation.[5]

Many Central American civilizations also planned their cities, including sewage systems and running water. In Mexico, Tenochtitlan was the capital of the Aztec empire, built on an island in Lake Texcoco in what is now the Federal District in central Mexico. At its height, Tenochtitlan was one of the largest cities in the world, with over 200,000 inhabitants.[7]

Classical and Medieval Europe

Map of Piraeus, the port of Athens, showing the grid plan of the city

Traditionally, the Greek philosopher Hippodamus (5th century BC) is regarded as the first town planner and ‘inventor’ of the orthogonal urban layout. Aristotle called him ‘the father of city planning’,[8] and until well into the 20th century, he was indeed regarded as such. This is, however, only partly justified. The Hippodamian plan that was called after him, is an orthogonal urban layout with more or less square street blocks. Archaeological finds from ancient Egypt—among others—demonstrate that Hippodamus cannot truly have been the inventor of this layout.[9] Aristotle's critique and indeed ridicule of Hippodamus, which appears in Politics 2. 8, is perhaps the first known example of a criticism of urban planning.

From about the late 8th century on, Greek city-states started to found colonies along the coasts of the Mediterranean, which were centered on newly created towns and cities with more or less regular orthogonal plans. Gradually, the new layouts became more regular.[10] After the city of Miletus was destroyed by the Persians in 494 BC, it was rebuilt in a regular form that, according to tradition, was determined by the ideas of Hippodamus of Miletus.[11] Regular orthogonal plans particularly appear to have been laid out for new colonial cities and cities that were rebuilt in a short period of time after destruction.

Following in the tradition of Hippodamus about a century later, Alexander commissioned the architect Dinocrates to lay out his new city of Alexandria, the grandest example of idealized urban planning of the ancient Hellenistic world, where the city's regularity was facilitated by its level site near a mouth of the Nile.

The ancient Romans also employed regular orthogonal structures on which they molded their colonies.[12] They probably were inspired by Greek and Hellenic examples, as well as by regularly planned cities that were built by the Etruscans in Italy.[13] (see Marzabotto)

The Romans used a consolidated scheme for city planning, developed for military defense and civil convenience. The basic plan consisted of a central forum with city services, surrounded by a compact, rectilinear grid of streets, and wrapped in a wall for defense. To reduce travel times, two diagonal streets crossed the square grid, passing through the central square. A river usually flowed through the city, providing water, transport, and sewage disposal.[14] Hundreds of towns and cities were built by the Romans throughout their empire. Many European towns, such as Turin, preserve the remains of these schemes, which show the very logical way the Romans designed their cities. They would lay out the streets at right angles, in the form of a square grid. All roads were equal in width and length, except for two, which were slightly wider than the others. One of these ran east–west, the other, north–south, and intersected in the middle to form the center of the grid. All roads were made of carefully fitted flag stones and filled in with smaller, hard-packed rocks and pebbles. Bridges were constructed where needed. Each square marked by four roads was called an insula, the Roman equivalent of a modern city block.

Each insula was 80 yards (73 m) square, with the land within it divided. As the city developed, each insula would eventually be filled with buildings of various shapes and sizes and crisscrossed with back roads and alleys. Most insulae were given to the first settlers of a Roman city, but each person had to pay to construct his own house.

The city was surrounded by a wall to protect it from invaders and to mark the city limits. Areas outside city limits were left open as farmland. At the end of each main road was a large gateway with watchtowers. A portcullis covered the opening when the city was under siege, and additional watchtowers were constructed along the city walls. An aqueduct was built outside the city walls.

The development of Greek and Roman urbanization is relatively well-known, as there are relatively many written sources, and there has been much attention to the subject since the Romans and Greeks are generally regarded as the main ancestors of modern Western culture. It should not be forgotten, though, that there were also other cultures with more or less urban settlements in Europe, primarily of Celtic origin.[15] Among these, there are also cases that appear to have been newly planned, such as the Lusatian town of Biskupin in Poland.

After the gradual disintegration and fall of the West-Roman empire in the 5th century and the devastation by the invasions of Huns, Germanic peoples, Byzantines, Moors, Magyars, and Normans in the next five centuries, little remained of urban culture in western and central Europe. In the 10th and 11th centuries, though, there appears to have been a general improvement in the political stability and economy. This made it possible for trade and craft to grow and for the monetary economy and urban culture to revive. Initially, urban culture recovered particularly in existing settlements, often in remnants of Roman towns and cities, but later on, ever more towns were created anew. Meanwhile, the population of western Europe increased rapidly and the utilized agricultural area grew with it. The agricultural areas of existing villages were extended and new villages and towns were created in uncultivated areas as cores for new reclamations.[16]

Urban development in the early Middle Ages, characteristically focused on a fortress, a fortified abbey, or a (sometimes abandoned) Roman nucleus, occurred "like the annular rings of a tree",[17] whether in an extended village or the center of a larger city. Since the new center was often on high, defensible ground, the city plan took on an organic character, following the irregularities of elevation contours like the shapes that result from agricultural terracing.

Caernarvon (Wales). Plan by John Speed, 1611. Caernarfon castle and town were re-founded by King Edward I of England in July 1283, during his second Welsh campaign to end the Second War of Independence.
Plan of Elburg in The Netherlands, based on the cadastral plan of 1830. Elburg was founded in 1392 by Arent toe Boecop, steward of the duke of Gelre. Arent seems to have acted as a private entrepreneur. He had bought a piece of land next to the existing town, and he obtained permission from his lord to extend and rebuild the town, and to resettle the population of the surrounding area, selling the house lots to the settlers. The highly symmetrical layout is centered on a canalized river and an intersecting street. The symmetry is disturbed, however, by the church in the eastern corner and by the pre-existing street (the only curved one in the whole town) on the northwest side. The corner bastions and the wide outer ditch were added in the late 16th century.

In the 9th to 14th centuries, many hundreds of new towns were built in Europe, and many others were enlarged with newly planned extensions. These new towns and town extensions have played a very important role in the shaping of Europe’s geographical structures as they in modern times. New towns were founded in different parts of Europe from about the 9th century on, but most of them were realized from the 12th to 14th centuries, with a peak-period at the end of the 13th. All kinds of landlords, from the highest to the lowest rank, tried to found new towns on their estates, in order to gain economical, political or military power. The settlers of the new towns generally were attracted by fiscal, economic, and juridical advantages granted by the founding lord, or were forced to move from elsewhere from his estates. Most of the new towns were to remain rather small (as for instance the bastides of southwestern France), but some of them became important cities, such as Cardiff, Leeds, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Montauban, Bilbao, Malmö, Lübeck, Munich, Berlin, Bern, Klagenfurt, Alessandria, Warsaw and Sarajevo.[18]

From the evidence of the preserved towns, it appears that the formal structure of many of these towns was willfully planned. The newly founded towns often show a marked regularity in their plan form, in the sense that the streets are often straight and laid out at right angles to one another, and that the house lots are rectangular, and originally largely of the same size.[19] One very clear and relatively extreme example is Elburg in the Netherlands, dating from the end of the 14th century. (see illustration) Looking at town plans such as the one of Elburg, it clearly appears that it is impossible to maintain that the straight street and the symmetrical, orthogonal town plan were new inventions from ‘the Renaissance,' and, therefore, typical of ‘modern times.'

The deep depression around the middle of the 14th century marked the end of the period of great urban expansion. Only in the parts of Europe where the process of urbanization had started relatively late, as in eastern Europe, was it still to go on for one or two more centuries. It would not be until the Industrial Revolution that the same level of expansion of urban population would be reached again, although the number of newly created settlements would remain much lower than in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Renaissance Europe

Florence was an early model of the new urban planning, which took on a star-shaped layout adapted from the new star fort, designed to resist cannon fire. This model was widely imitated, reflecting the enormous cultural power of Florence in this age; "[t]he Renaissance was hypnotized by one city type which for a century and a half— from Filarete to Scamozzi— was impressed upon utopian schemes: this is the star-shaped city".[20] Radial streets extend outward from a defined center of military, communal or spiritual power.

The Ideal City by Fra Carnevale, between 1480 and 1484. This extraordinary panel exemplifies Renaissance ideals of urban planning and offers a model of the architecture and sculpture that would be commissioned by a virtuous ruler who cares for the welfare of the citizenry.
The ideal centrally planned urban space: Sposalizio by Raphael Sanzio, 1504

Only in ideal cities did a centrally planned structure stand at the heart, as in Raphael's Sposalizio (Illustration) of 1504. As built, the unique example of a rationally planned quattrocento new city center, that of Vigevano (1493–95), resembles a closed space instead, surrounded by arcading.

Filarete's ideal city, building on Leon Battista Alberti's De re aedificatoria, was named "Sforzinda" in compliment to his patron; its twelve-pointed shape, circumscribable by a "perfect" Pythagorean figure, the circle, took no heed of its undulating terrain in Filarete's manuscript.[21] This process occurred in cities, but ordinarily not in the industrial suburbs characteristic of this era (see Braudel, The Structures of Everyday Life), which remained disorderly and characterized by crowding and organic growth.

Following the 1695 bombardment of Brussels by the French troops of King Louis XIV, in which a large part of the city center was destroyed, Governor Max Emanuel proposed using the reconstruction to completely change the layout and architectural style of the city. His plan was to transform the medieval city into a city of the new baroque style, modeled on Turin, with a logical street layout, with straight avenues offering long, uninterrupted views flanked by buildings of a uniform size. This plan was opposed by residents and municipal authorities, who wanted a rapid reconstruction, did not have the resources for grandiose proposals, and resented what they considered the imposition of a new, foreign, architectural style. In the actual reconstruction, the general layout of the city was conserved, but it was not identical to that before the cataclysm. Despite the necessity of rapid reconstruction and the lack of financial means, authorities did take several measures to improve traffic flow, sanitation, and the aesthetics of the city. Many streets were made as wide as possible to improve traffic flow.

Enlightenment Europe

During the Haussmann transformed the medieval city of Paris into a modern capital, with long, straight, wide boulevards. The planning was influenced by many factors, not the least of which was the city's history of street revolutions.

During this period, rulers often embarked on ambitious attempts at redesigning their capital cities as a showpiece for the grandeur of the nation. Disasters were often a major catalyst for planned reconstruction. An exception to this was in London after the Great Fire of 1666 when, despite many radical rebuilding schemes from architects such as John Evelyn and Christopher Wren, no large-scale redesigning was achieved due the complexities of rival ownership claims. However, improvements were made in hygiene and fire safety with wider streets, stone construction and access to the river.

Model of the seismically protective wooden structure, the "gaiola pombalina" (pombaline cage), developed for the reconstruction of Pombaline Lower Town

In contrast, after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, King Joseph I of Portugal and his ministers immediately launched efforts to rebuild the city. The architect Manuel da Maia boldly proposed razing entire sections of the city and "laying out new streets without restraint". This last option was chosen by the king and his minister.[22] Keen to have a new and perfectly ordered city, the king commissioned the construction of big squares, rectilinear, large avenues and widened streets – the new mottos of Lisbon. The Pombaline buildings were among the earliest seismically protected constructions in Europe.

An even more ambitious reconstruction was carried out in

  • Libraries. "Urban Planning Resources". Research Guides. USA:  
  • Library. "Urban Planning". Research Guides.  
  • Library. "Urban & Regional Policy". Research Guides. USA:  
  • Hunter College Libraries. "Urban Affairs & Planning". Topic Guides. New York City:  
  • University Library. "City Planning". LibGuides.  
  • MIT Libraries. "Urban Studies & Planning". Research Guides.  
  • "Urban & Regional Planning". Research Guides. USA: University of Michigan. 
  • Library. "Urban Studies & Planning". Research Guides. Oregon, USA:  
  • Reps, John W. (27 November 2002). "Urban Planning, 1794-1918: An International Anthology of Articles, Conference Papers, and Reports". Research Guides. 
  • Unplanned Urban Growth and its Effect on the Sustainability Discoli, Carlos; Martini, Irene. Scientific & Academic Publishing - Resources and Environment; vol. 2, no. 3. ISSN: 2163-2618.

Library Guides for Urban Planning

  • Urban and Regional Planning at DMOZ

External links

  • Urban Planning, 1794-1918: An International Anthology of Articles, Conference Papers, and Reports, Selected, Edited, and Provided with Headnotes by John W. Reps, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University.
  • City Planning According to Artistic Principles, Camillo Sitte, 1889
  • Kemp, Roger L. and Carl J. Stephani (2011). "Cities Going Green: A Handbook of Best Practices." McFarland and Co., Inc., Jefferson, NC, USA, and London, England, UK. (ISBN 978-0-7864-5968-1).
  • Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform, Ebenezer Howard, 1898
  • The Improvement of Towns and Cities, Charles Mulford Robinson, 1901
  • Town Planning in practice, Raymond Unwin, 1909
  • The Principles of Scientific Management, Frederick Winslow Taylor, 1911
  • Cities in Evolution, Patrick Geddes, 1915
  • The Image of the City, Kevin Lynch, 1960
  • The Concise Townscape, Gordon Cullen, 1961
  • The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs, 1961
  • The City in History, Lewis Mumford, 1961
  • The City is the Frontier, Charles Abrams, Harper & Row Publishing, New York, 1965.
  • A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa and Murray Silverstein, 1977
  • What Do Planners Do?: Power, Politics, and Persuasion, Charles Hoch, American Planning Association, 1994. ISBN 978-0-918286-91-8
  • Planning the Twentieth-Century American City, Christopher Silver and Mary Corbin Sies (Eds.), Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996
  • "The City Shaped: Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History", Spiro Kostof, 2nd Edition, Thames and Hudson Ltd, 1999 ISBN 978-0-500-28099-7
  • The American City: A Social and Cultural History, Daniel J. Monti, Jr., Oxford, England and Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers, 1999. 391 pp. ISBN 978-1-55786-918-0.
  • Urban Development: The Logic Of Making Plans, Lewis D. Hopkins, Island Press, 2001. ISBN 1-55963-853-2
  • Readings in Planning Theory, Susan Fainstein and Scott Campbell, Oxford, England and Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers, 2003.
  • Taylor, Nigel, (2007), Urban Planning Theory since 1945, London, Sage.
  • Planning for the Unplanned: Recovering from Crises in Megacities, by Aseem Inam (published by Routledge USA, 2005).

Further reading

  • Allmendinger, Phil and Michael Gunder, 2005, "Applying Lacanian Insight and a Dash of Derridean Deconstruction to Planning's 'Dark Side'," Planning Theory, vol. 4, pp. 87–112.
  • Atmospheric Environment Volume 35, Issue 10, April 2001, Pages 1717–1727. "Traffic pollution in a downtown site of Buenos Aires City"
  • Garvin, Alexander (2002). The American City: What Works and What Doesn't. New York: McGraw Hill.   (A standard text for many college and graduate courses in city planning in America)
  • Dalley, Stephanie, 1989, Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others, Oxford World's Classics, London, pp. 39-136
  • Gunder, Michael, 2003, "Passionate Planning for the Others' Desire: An Agonistic Response to the Dark Side of Planning," Progress in Planning, Vol. 60, no. 3, October, pp. 235–319.
  • Hoch, Charles, Linda C. Dalton and Frank S. So, editors (2000). The Practice of Local Government Planning, Intl City County Management Assn; 3rd edition. ISBN 0-87326-171-2 (The "Green Book")
  • Kemp, Roger L. and Carl J. Stephani (2011). "Cities Going Green: A Handbook of Best Practices." McFarland and Co., Inc., Jefferson, NC, USA, and London, England, UK. ISBN 978-0-7864-5968-1.
  • Oke, T. R. (1982). "The energetic basis of the urban heat island". Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 108: 1–24.
  • Pløger, John, 2001, "Public Participation and the Art of Governance," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 219–241.
  • Roy, Ananya, 2008, "Post-Liberalism: On the Ethico-Politics of Planning," Planning Theory, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 92–102.
  • Santamouris, Matheos (2006). Environmental Design of Urban Buildings: An Integrated Approach.
  • Shrady, Nicholas, The Last Day: Wrath, Ruin & Reason in The Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, Penguin, 2008, ISBN 978-0-14-311460-4
  • Tang, Wing-Shing, 2000, "Chinese Urban Planning at Fifty: An Assessment of the Planning Theory Literature," Journal of Planning Literature, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 347–366.
  • Tunnard, Christopher and Boris Pushkarev (1963). Man-Made America: Chaos or Control?: An Inquiry into Selected Problems of Design in the Urbanized Landscape, New Haven: Yale University Press. (This book won the National Book Award, strictly America; a time capsule of photography and design approach.)
  • Wheeler, Stephen (2004). "Planning Sustainable and Livable Cities", Routledge; 3rd edition.
  • Yiftachel, Oren, 1995, "The Dark Side of Modernism: Planning as Control of an Ethnic Minority," in Sophie Watson and Katherine Gibson, eds., Postmodern Cities and Spaces (Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell), pp. 216–240.
  • Yiftachel, Oren, 1998, "Planning and Social Control: Exploring the Dark Side," Journal of Planning Literature, vol. 12, no. 4, May, pp. 395–406.
  • Yiftachel, Oren, 2006, "Re-engaging Planning Theory? Towards South-Eastern Perspectives," Planning Theory, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 211–222.


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  3. ^ Wheeler, Stephen (2004). "Planning Sustainable and Livable Cities", Routledge; 3rd edition.
  4. ^ Dalley 1989, p.120.
  5. ^ a b Davreu, Robert (1978). "Cities of Mystery: The Lost Empire of the Indus Valley". The World’s Last Mysteries. (second edition). Sydney: Readers’ Digest. pp. 121-129. ISBN 0-909486-61-1.
  6. ^ Kipfer, Barbara Ann (2000). Encyclopedic Dictionary of Archaeology. (Illustrated edition). New York: Springer. p. 229. ISBN 978-0-3064-6158-3.
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  8. ^ Aristotle, Politica II
  9. ^ Urban planning in ancient Egypt
  10. ^ Kolb, Frank (1984). Die Stadt im Altertum. München: Verlag C.H. Beck. pp. 51-141: Morris, A.E.J. (1972). History of Urban Form. Prehistory to the Renaissance. London. pp. 22-23.
  11. ^ Hippodamus is also reported to have played an important role in the (re-)planning of the city of Piraeus, and he is also associated to Thurii and Rhodes. It seems that the importance of Hippodamus’ ideas was not so much in the orthogonal plan, but rather in the distribution of functions and social classes across the city. (Kolb 1984, pp. 115-120; Cahill, Nicholas (2002). Household and City Organization at Olynthus. New Haven. par. 1.2)
  12. ^ Morris 1972, pp. 39-41, 51-60; Kolb 1984, pp. 169-238; Benevolo, Leonardo (1993). Die Geschichte der Stadt. Frankfurt am Main/New York. pp. 256-267.
  13. ^ Harris, W. (1989). "Invisible Cities: the Beginning of Etruscan Urbanization". Atti del Secondo Congresso Internazionale Etrusco. Roma, 1989. pp. 375-392. p. 85. The Etruscans were, in their turn, probably also influenced in this respect by Greek and Hellenic culture.
  14. ^ Vitrivius (1914). The Ten Books on Architecture, Bk I. Morris H. Morgan (translator). Harvard University Press. 
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  17. ^ Siegfried Giedion, Space, Time and Architecture (1941) 1962, in reference to an air view (fig.8) of the medieval Italian town of Bagnocavallo. Giedion's source was Luigi Piccinati, "Urbanistica Medioevale" in Urbanistica deal Antichità ad Oggi (Florence 1943).
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  21. ^ The undulating terrace of housing makes its appearance surprisingly late: Giedion's example is Lansdown Crescent, Bath, 1794; Giedion 1962, fig. 83.
  22. ^ Shrady, The Last Day pp. 152–155.
  23. ^ Girouard, Mark, Cities and People, 1985, London, p. 285.
  24. ^ Busquets, Joan Barcelona, the urban evolution of a compact city, 2005, ISBN 88-8447-204-0, Harvard University, p. 122.
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  27. ^ Goodall, B (1987), Dictionary of Human Geography, London: Penguin 
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  40. ^ Robert Fishman, Urban Utopias in the Twentieth Century: Ebenezer Howard, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Le Corbusier (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1982), 231.
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See also

In carrier-infill urban design or urban planning, the negative space of the city, including landscape, open space, and infrastructure is designed in detail. The positive space, typically building site for future construction, are only represented as unresolved volumes. The volumes are representative of the total possible building envelope, which can then be infilled by individual architects.

In the process of creating an urban plan or landscape architecture, open space, waterways, and other infrastructure. The infill structure may contain zoning, building codes, quality guidelines, and Solar Access based upon a solar envelope.[121][122] Carrier-Infill urban design is differentiated from complete urban design, such as in the monumental axis of Brasília, in which the urban design and architecture were created together.

Recent theories of urban planning, espoused, for example by Salingaros see the city as an adaptive system that grows according to process similar to those of plants. They say that urban planning should thus take its cues from such natural processes.[119] Such theories also advocate participation by inhabitants in the design of the urban environment, as opposed to simply leaving all development to large-scale construction firms.[120]

Developers have also played huge roles in development, particularly by planning projects. Many recent developments were results of large and small-scale developers who purchased land, designed the district and constructed the development from scratch. The Melbourne Docklands, for example, was largely an initiative pushed by private developers to redevelop the waterfront into a high-end residential and commercial district.

Ozawa and Seltzer (1999) advocate a communicative planning model in education to teach planners to work within the social and political context of the planning process. In their paper "Taking Our Bearings: Mapping a Relationship among Planning Practice, Theory, and Education," the authors demonstrate the importance of educating planners beyond the rational planning model in which planners make supposedly value-neutral recommendations based on science and reason. Through a survey of employers, it was found that the most highly rated skills in entry-level professional hiring are communication-based. The results suggest this view of planning as a communicative discourse as a possible bridge between theory and practice, and indicate that the education of planners needs to incorporate synthesis and communication across the curriculum.[118]

social workers are now very involved in planning from the grassroots level.[115] The term advocacy planning was coined by Paul Davidoff in his influential 1965 paper, "Advocacy and Pluralism in Planning" which acknowledged the political nature of planning and urged planners to acknowledge that their actions are not value-neutral and encouraged minority and under represented voices to be part of planning decisions.[116] Benveniste argued that planners had a political role to play and had to bend some truth to power if their plans were to be implemented.[117]

Changes to the planning process

Prior to 1950, Urban Planning was seldom considered a unique profession.[113] There were, and are, of course, differences from country to country. For example, the UK's urban planner created the plans. The planner would know architecture, surveying, or engineering, bringing to the town planning process ideals based on these disciplines. They typically worked for national or local governments. Urban planners were seen as generalists, capable of integrating the work of other disciplines into a coherent plan for whole cities or parts of cities. A good example of this kind of planner was Lewis Keeble and his standard textbook, Principles and Practice of Town and Country Planning, published in 1951.[114]

Blight may sometimes cause communities to consider redeveloping and urban planning.


[112] Though some might argue that is too difficult to involve the public through transactive, advocacy, bargaining and communicative models because [103] Looking at each of these models it becomes clear that participation is not only shaped by the public in a given area or by the attitude of the planning organization or planners that work for it. In fact, public participation is largely influenced by how planning is defined, how planning problems are defined, the kinds of knowledge that planners choose to employ and how the planning context is set.

The communicative approach to planning is perhaps the most difficult to explain. It focuses on using communication to help different interests in the process understand each other. The idea is that each individual will approach a conversation with his or her own subjective experience in mind and that from that conservation shared goals and possibilities will emerge. Again, participation plays a central role under this model. The model seeks to include as a broad range of voice to enhance the debate and negotiation that is supposed to form the core of actual plan making. In this model, participation is actually fundamental to the planning process happening. Without the involvement of concerned interests there is no planning.[103]

Communicative approach

The bargaining model views planning as the result of give and take on the part of a number of interests who are all involved in the process. It argues that this bargaining is the best way to conduct planning within the bounds of legal and political institutions. Like the advocacy model, this model recognizes that there are inherent inequalities in society, but it asserts that each group or individual in our unequal society has a chance to influence planning decisions, even if they are unable to dominate it or win the benefits that they are seeking.[111] The most interesting part of this theory of planning is that makes public participation the central dynamic in the decision-making process. Decisions are made first and foremost by the public, and the planner plays a more minor role.[103]

Bargaining model

Advocacy planning is another radical departure from past theoretical models. This model takes the perspective that there are large inequalities in the political system and in the bargaining process between groups that result in large numbers of people unorganized and unrepresented in the process. It concerns itself with ensuring that all people are equally represented in the planning process by advocating for the interests of the underprivileged and seeking social change.[109][110] Again, public participation is a central tenet of this model. A plurality of public interests is assumed, and the role of planner is essentially the one as a facilitator who either advocates directly for underrepresented groups directly or encourages them to become part of the process.[103]

Advocacy planning

Transactive planning was a radical break from previous models. Instead of considering public participation as method that would be used in addition to the normal training planning process, participation was a central goal. For the first time, the public was encouraged to take on an active role in the policy setting process, while the planner took on the role of a distributor of information and a feedback source.[103] Transactive planning focuses on interpersonal dialogue that develops ideas, which will be turned into action. One of the central goals is mutual learning where the planner gets more information on the community and citizens become more educated about planning issues.[108]

Transactive planning

By the late 1960s and early 1970s, planners began to look for new approaches because as happened nearly a decade before, it was realized that the current models were not necessarily sufficient. As had happened before, a number of different models emerged. Lane (2005) notes that it is most useful to think of these model as emerging from a social transformation planning tradition as opposed to a social guidance one, so the emphasis is more bottom-up in nature than it is top-down.[103]

The mixed scanning model, developed by Etzioni, takes a similar, but slightly different approach. Etzioni (1968) suggested that organizations plan on two different levels: the tactical and the strategic. He posited that organizations could accomplish this by essentially scanning the environment on multiple levels and then choose different strategies and tactics to address what they found there. While Lindblom’s approach only operated on the functional level Etzioni argued, the mixed scanning approach would allow planning organizations to work on both the functional and more big-picture oriented levels.[107] Lane explains though, that this model does not do much more at improving public involvement since the planner or planning organization is still at its focus and since its goal is not necessarily to achieve consensus or reconcile differing points of view on a particular subject.

Mixed scanning model

Beginning in the late 1950s and early 1960s, critiques of the rational paradigm began to emerge and formed into several different schools of planning thought. The first of these schools is Lindblom’s incrementalism. Lindblom describes planning as “muddling through” and thought that practical planning required decisions to be made incrementally. This incremental approach meant choosing from small number of policy approaches that can only have a small number consequences and are firmly bounded by reality, constantly adjusting the objectives of the planning process and using multiple analyses and evaluations.[106] Lane (2005) explains the public involvement implications of this philosophy. Though this perspective of planning could be considered a large step forward in that it recognizes that there are number of “public interests” and because it provides room for the planning process to be less centralized and incorporate the voices other than those of planners, it in practice would only allow for the public to involved in a minimal, more reactive rather than proactive way.[103]


Participatory planning is an urban planning paradigm that emphasizes involving the entire community in the strategic and management processes of urban planning; or, community-level planning processes, urban or rural. It is often considered as part of community development.[104] Participatory planning aims to harmonize views among all of its participants as well as prevent conflict between opposing parties. In addition, marginalized groups have an opportunity to participate in the planning process.[105]

Participatory Planning

Blueprint and synoptic planning both employ what is called the rational paradigm of planning. The rational model is perhaps the most widely accepted model among planning practitioners and scholars, and is considered by many to be the orthodox view of planning. As its name clearly suggests, the goal of the rational model is to make planning as rational and systematic as possible. Proponents of this paradigm would generally come up with a list of steps that the planning process can be at least relatively neatly sorted out into and that planning practitioners should go through in order when setting out to plan in virtually any area. As noted above, this paradigm has clear implications for public involvement in planning decisions.[103]

Public participation was first introduced into this model and it was generally integrated into the system process described above. However, the problem was that the idea of a single public interest still dominated attitudes, effectively devaluing the importance of participation because it suggests the idea that the public interest is relatively easy to find and only requires the most minimal form of participation.[103]

"(1) an enhanced emphasis on the specification of goals and targets; (2) an emphasis on quantitative analysis and predication of the environment; (3) a concern to identify and evaluate alternative policy options; and (4) the evaluation of means against ends (page 289)."[103]

After, the “fall” of blueprint planning in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the synoptic model began to emerge as a dominant force in planning. Lane (2005) describes synoptic planning as having four central elements:

Synoptic planning

Throughout both the United States and Europe, the rational planning movement declined in the later half of the 20th century.[101] The reason for the movement's decline was also its strength. By focusing so much on design by technical elites, rational planning lost touch with the public it hoped to serve. Key events in this decline in the United States include the demolition of the Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis and the national backlash against urban renewal projects, particularly urban expressway projects.[102]

From Britain, the rational planning movement spread out across the world. In areas undergoing industrialization themselves, British influences combined with local movements to create unique reinterpretations of the rational planning process. In Paris, architect Le Corbusier adopted rational planning's centralized approach and added to it a dedication to quantitative assessment and a love for the automobile. Together, these two factors yielded the influential planning aesthetic known as "Tower in the Park". In the United States, Frank Lloyd Wright similarly identified vehicular mobility as a principal planning metric. However, where Le Corbusier emphasized design through quantitative assessment of spatial processes, Wright identified the insights of local public technicians as the key design criteria. Wright's Broadacre City provides a vivid expression of what this landscape might look like.

exemplify the elite, top-down approach associated with the rational planning movement by using the planning process to establish a uniform landscape and architectural style based on an idealized medieval village. Richard Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin in Greater London. In both communities, architects Hampstead Garden Suburb in Hertfordshire and Letchworth Two of the best examples of these communities are [100] During this period, advocates such as [99] Although it can be seen as an extension of the sort of civic pragmatism seen in Oglethorpe's plan for Savannah or William Penn's plan for Philadelphia, the roots of the rational planning movement lie in Britain's Sanitary Movement (1800-1890).

Following the rise of empiricism during the industrial revolution, the rational planning movement (1890–1960) emphasized the improvement of the built environment based on key spatial factors. Examples of these factors include: exposure to direct sunlight, movement of vehicular traffic, standardized housing units, and proximity to green-space.[98] To identify and design for these spatial factors, rational planning relied on a small group of highly specialized technicians, including architects, urban designers, and engineers. Other, less common, but nonetheless influential groups included governmental officials, private developers, and landscape architects. Through the strategies associated with these professions, the rational planning movement developed a collection of techniques for quantitative assessment, predictive modeling, and design. Due to the high level of training required to grasp these methods, however, rational planning fails to provide an avenue for public participation. In both theory and practice, this shortcoming opened rational planning to claims of elitism and social insensitivity.

Rational planning

Planning theory is generally called procedural because it generally concerns itself with the process through which planning occurs and whether or not that process is valid. Lane (2005) traces the intellectual history through its different procedural approaches, especially as they relate to public participation.

Theories of planning

However, more recently, decentralized waste water management has made a resurgence among planners and researchers. While centralized water-carriage systems have more potential for scalability, decentralized systems are simply more efficient because the waste-water is managed closer to where it is generated, thus allowing for each management system to be adapted to the local community/household needs.[97]

In the US, prior to the 19th century, cities often used a decentralized privy vault-cesspool model for waste management. Urban households had vaults or tubs beneath their latrines, which would collect waste-water until the vaults needed to be emptied into a nearby cesspool. This model worked at the time due to relatively low urban populations. However, industrialization, urbanization, and population growth during the 19th century led to a dramatic increase in America’s city-dwelling population and thus increased the need for a centralized waste-water collection and processing system.[96] With the introduction of piped water, such a centralized system became possible as larger quantities of water were necessary for water-carriage waste removal. Since the 19th century, water-carriage sewage management has been preferred by planners due to its scalability.

Waste-water collection and treatment has always been an important consideration in urban planning, but it is becoming increasingly critical as urban population levels rise and water conservation becomes a growing concern. Many planners are now considering how to properly incorporate waste-water treatment into urban environments in effective, and equitable ways.

See main article: Sewage treatment


One solution to the infrastructural issues posed by sewage and wastewater management in urban areas is the development of community toilet blocks. In India, the Alliance (consisting the three NGOs: Mahila Milan, SPARC, and the National Slum Dwellers Federation) has implemented a multi-city community toilet block program in more than eight different cities.[95] The goal of this program is to elicit community participation in designing, building, and maintaining toilet blocks for communities. Traditionally, community toilet blocks have been problematic: municipal corporations often fail to upkeep the toilets, the toilets often become very dirty and unsanitary areas of open defecation, and with these toilets rendered unusable, women often abstain from excreting waste until nightfall to preserve modesty, which can often lead to gastric issues and other disorders.[95] To address these issues, the Alliance has worked with women’s groups to spearhead efforts to pressure municipal service providers into making “big pipe infrastructure” available to communities so that community groups can build their own “little pipe infrastructure” and community toilet blocks to connect to this infrastructure. In addition, these community groups create management plans for maintaining the toilets, which are designed according to common-usage practices. The improved designs used by community groups often take into account often overlooked factors such as separating male and female entrances and not having them face each other to avoid sexual harassment.[95] In the case of the Alliance, involving the community groups helped determine the relevant areas of focus for the project.

In slum areas, unlined pit latrines constructed in areas with a high water table are a very common option. Other methods include flying toilets (in which individuals will excrete waste into polythene bags, tie them up, then throw them into the surrounding environment) and open defecation, both of which have significant environmental health risks associated with them. Only a small percentage of slum residents have access to amenities like ventilated improved pit latrines and pour flush toilets.[94] Flying toilets and open defecation are significant environmental health risks because they expose communities to many of the pathogens and illnesses carried by sewage. Unlined pit latrines are problematic due to their contamination of groundwater.[94]

One aspect of sanitation infrastructure that is a major determinant of environmental health in slums is the latrine. There are a number of variables surrounding latrines and sewage which can play a critical role in determining health outcomes for urban families, including latrine location (in house versus out of house), latrine usage (family vs community), and latrine type (for example pit latrine versus toilet). Furthermore, the latrine is a critical aspect of urban household-level layouts and designs.


In Uganda, in order to address some of these access issues, NGOs and community- based-organizations (CBOs) have stepped in. The government in Uganda has acknowledged the role of sanitation in improving public health among the poor, but as NGOs and CBOs have pointed out, the government has been unable to adequately address the need for these services in urban environments or the high cost of procuring these services from private service providers.[93] However, NGOs and CBOs are inherently limited in their ability to provide sanitation services, however, due to the need to obtain permissions for undertaking infrastructure projects and due to the high costs of implementing them.

Water and sanitation issues relate directly to health outcomes due to the susceptibility to disease experienced by populations that lack adequate access. In the 19th and 20th centuries, diseases like cholera were particularly feared due to their devastating effects and due to their proliferation in areas with poor waste management practices.[91] Today diseases such as dengue fever, Hepatitis A, and intestinal parasites, are all examples of water-borne illnesses that affect the urban poor. Diarrheal illnesses are perhaps today the leading type of waterborne disease with cities like Jakarta experiencing disease rates as high as 50 cases per 1000 people.[92] In India, waterborne disease accounts for the loss of roughly 180 million person-workdays annually, the economic equivalent of approximately 12 billion rupees.[88] Thus inadequate access to water and sanitation among the urban poor and socially disadvantaged leads to systematic vulnerability to disease, which has both public health and economic consequences.

Economic status is highly correlated to water and sanitation service access in urban environments. But economic status is often tied to other demographic characteristics such as caste, ethnicity, and race. Therefore access to water and sanitation services is an equity issue that faces urban planners working for urban governments. In the absence of policy to address these infrastructural disparities, the urban poor and minorities suffer disproportionately. A study of the social determinants of children’s health in urban settings in India looked at data from India’s National Family Health Survey and found that even within poor urban areas, caste status, religion, and sex are major factors which determine family employment and education level, factors which in turn affect access to sanitation and water.[90]

Within urban environments, there are a number of disparities with regards to access to these services. For example, as of 2006, among the poorest quartile of the urban population in India, over 80% lacked access to piped water at home and over half did not have sanitary flushes or pit toilets.[87] Data collected in 2005–2006 revealed that under half of the urban poor could access adequate sanitation compared to about 95% of the urban non-poor.[88] In India, slums compose a major part of the urban environment – one of the largest barriers to improving slum conditions is that many slums go undocumented. Because most slums are informal settlements with no tenure rights, their illegal status excludes them from official listings and thus excludes them from access to municipal water and sanitation services.[89]

Water and sanitation services are key considerations in the planning of cities. This encompasses water provision, waste-water treatment, and sewage infrastructure. These services are crucial for public health – thus, one aspect of urban planning is to consider how to best provide these services to urban residents in effective and cost-sensitive ways.

Access & Health Impacts

Water and Sanitation Infrastructure

Light pollution has become a problem in urban residential areas, not only as it relates to its effects on the night sky, but as some lighting is so intrusive as to cause conflict in the residential areas and paradoxically intense improperly installed security lighting may pose a danger to the public, producing excessive glare. The development of the full cutoff fixture, properly installed, has reduced this problem considerably.

In urban planning, sound is usually measured as a source of pollution. Another perspective on urban sounds is developed in Soundscape studies emphasising that sound aesthetics involves more than noise abatement and decibel measurements. Hedfors[86] coined 'Sonotope' as a useful concept in urban planning to relate typical sounds to a specific place.

The urban canyon effect is a colloquial, non-scientific term referring to street space bordered by very high buildings. This type of environment may shade the sidewalk level from direct sunlight during most daylight hours. While an oft-decried phenomenon, it is rare except in very dense, hyper-tall urban environments, such as those found in Lower and Midtown Manhattan, Chicago's Loop and Hong Kong's Kowloon and Central.

Light and sound

Tall buildings in particular can have a substantial effect in channeling winds and shading large areas. The microclimate around the building will typically be assessed as part of the environmental impact assessment for the building. The placement and design of buildings may also be affected by the land on which they are placed. Soil and rock considerations such as depth to bedrock may influence the height of very tall structures, as in Manhattan, though there is less impact than previously supposed,[85] and geological conditions such as fault lines may affect building requirements. See: Geotechnical engineering.

An urban planner can use a number of quantitative tools to forecast impacts of development on the environmental, including roadway air dispersion models to predict air quality impacts of urban highways and roadway noise models to predict noise pollution effects of urban highways. As early as the 1960s, noise pollution was addressed in the design of urban highways as well as noise barriers.[80] The Phase I Environmental Site Assessment can be an important tool to the urban planner by identifying early in the planning process any geographic areas or parcels which have toxic constraints. In addition, automated tools have been developed to enable planners to design renewable energy systems at the city scale such as the distribution of roof-mounted photovoltaic systems.[81][82][83][84]

In most advanced urban or village planning models, local context is critical. In many, gardening and other outdoor activities assumes a central role in the daily life of citizens. Environmental planners focus now on smaller and larger systems of resource extraction and consumption, energy production, and waste disposal. A practice known as Arcology seeks to unify the fields of ecology and architecture, using principles of landscape architecture to achieve a harmonious environment for all living things. On a small scale, the eco-village theory has become popular, as it emphasizes a traditional 100–140 person scale for communities.

Zoning may include regulation of the kinds of activities which will be acceptable on particular lots (such as open space, residential, agricultural, commercial or industrial), the densities at which those activities can be performed (from low-density housing such as single family homes to high-density such as high-rise apartment buildings), the height of buildi process is known as a Sustainability Appraisal.

Theoretically, the primary purpose of zoning is to segregate uses that are thought to be incompatible. In practice, zoning is used to prevent new development from interfering with existing residents or businesses and to preserve the "character" of a community. Zoning is commonly controlled by local governments such as counties or municipalities, though the nature of the zoning regime may be determined or limited by state or national planning authorities or through enabling legislation.[79] In Australia, land under the control of the Commonwealth (federal) government is not subject to state planning controls. The United States and other federal countries are similar. Zoning and urban planning in France and Germany are regulated by national or federal codes. In the case of Germany this code includes contents of zoning plans as well as the legal procedure.


Environmental protection and conservation are of utmost importance to many planning systems across the world. Not only are the specific effects of development to be mitigated, but attempts are made to minimize the overall effect of development on the local and global environment. This is commonly done through the assessment of Sustainable urban infrastructure and microclimate.

Environmental factors

In some countries, declining satisfaction with the urban environment is held to blame for continuing migration to smaller towns and rural areas (so-called urban exodus). Successful urban planning supported Regional planning can bring benefits to a much larger hinterland or city region and help to reduce both congestion along transport routes and the wastage of energy implied by excessive commuting.

Low-density (auto-oriented) suburban development near Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States


The Lewis–Mogridge Position claims that increasing road space is not an effective way of relieving traffic jams as latent or induced demand invariably emerges to restore a socially tolerable level of congestion.

Problems can often occur at residential densities between about two and five.[77] These densities can cause traffic jams for automobiles, yet are too low to be commercially served by trains or light rail systems. The conventional solution is to use buses, but these and light rail systems may fail where automobiles and excess road network capacity are both available, achieving less than 2% ridership.[78]

City authorities may try to encourage higher densities to reduce per-capita infrastructure costs. In the UK, recent years have seen a concerted effort to increase the density of residential development in order to better achieve sustainable development. Increasing development density has the advantage of making mass transport systems, district heating and other community facilities (schools, health centres, etc.) more viable. However critics of this approach dub the densification of development as 'town cramming' and claim that it lowers quality of life and restricts market-led choice.

Floor area ratio is often used to measure density. This is the floor area of buildings divided by the land area. Ratios below 1.5 are low density. Ratios above five constitute very high density. Most exurbs are below two, while most city centres are well above five. Walk-up apartments with basement garages can easily achieve a density of three. Skyscrapers easily achieve densities of thirty or more.

Good planning uses transit oriented development, which attempts to place higher densities of jobs or residents near high-volume transportation. For example, some cities permit commerce and multi-story apartment buildings only within one block of train stations and multilane boulevards, and accept single-family dwellings and parks farther away.

Transport within urbanized areas presents unique problems. The density of an urban environment increases traffic, which can harm businesses and increase pollution unless properly managed. Parking space for private vehicles requires the construction of large parking garages in high density areas. This space could often be more valuable for other development.

Although an important factor, there is a complex relationship between urban densities and car use.
Very densely built-up areas require high capacity urban transit, and urban planners must consider these factors in long term plans (Canary Wharf tube station).


Saudi Arabia is building 5 new cities to control congestion and sprawl in existing cities.[68] While India is building 7 new cities to provide space and facilities that are missing in existing cities, such as cycling paths, parks and public transport within a 10 minute walk to every office and home.[76]

Many of these new cities are built to use new technologies such as District cooling and automatic waste collection[72] in GIFT City[73][74] or Personal Rapid Transit in Masdar City.[75]

One expert has said building a brand new city for 1 million people would be regarded as a "terrifying concept" in the United Kingdom[71] while in Asia brand new large cities are being built.[71]

In the 21st Century, countries in Asia and the Middle-East have embarked on plans to build brand new large cities.[68][69][70] Masdar City, a new city in UAE, cost $18 billion.[69]

New master-planned cities

Urban reconstruction development plans must also work with government agencies as well as private interests to develop workable designs.

Areas devastated by war or invasion challenge urban planners. Resources are scarce. The existing population has needs. Buildings, roads, services and basic infrastructure like power, water and sewerage are often damaged, but with salvageable parts. Historic, religious or social centers also need to be preserved and re-integrated into the new city plan. A prime example of this is the capital city of Kabul, Afghanistan, which, after decades of civil war and occupation, has regions of rubble and desolation. Despite this, the indigenous population continues to live in the area, constructing makeshift homes and shops out of salvaged materials. Any reconstruction plan, such as Hisham Ashkouri's City of Light Development, needs to be sensitive to the needs of this community and its existing culture and businesses.

The overall area plan for the reconstruction of Kabul's Old City area, the proposed Kabul - City of Light Development

Reconstruction and renewal

Starting in the 1990s, many of the central urban areas in North America have been experiencing a reversal of the urban decay, with rising real estate values, smarter development, demolition of obsolete social housing and a wider variety of housing choices.[67] However, reversal of urban decay (gentrification) often causes housing affordability in the inner city to decrease, with the consequence that poorer residents are pushed out, often to older inner and middle ring suburbs. This "suburbanization of poverty" has important implications for siting affordable housing, and transportation and social services planning.

During the 1970s and 1980s, urban decay was often associated with central areas of cities in North America and Europe. During this time, changes in global economies, demographics, transportation, and policies fostered urban decay.[66] Many planners spoke of "white flight" during this time. This pattern was different from the pattern of "outlying slums" and "suburban ghettos" found in many cities outside of North America and Western Europe, where central urban areas actually had higher real estate values.

Urban decay is a process by which a city, or a part of a city, falls into a state of disrepair and neglect. It is characterized by depopulation, economic restructuring, property abandonment, high unemployment, fragmented families, political disenfranchisement, crime, and desolate urban landscapes.


Slums were often "fixed" by clearance. However, more creative solutions are beginning to emerge such as Nairobi's "Camp of Fire" program, where established slum-dwellers promise to build proper houses, schools, and community centers without government money, in return for land on which they have been illegally squatting on for 30 years. The "Camp of Fire" program is one of many similar projects initiated by Slum Dwellers International, which has programs in Africa, Asia, and South America.[65]

The rapid urbanization of the last century caused more slums in the major cities of the world, particularly in developing countries. Planning resources and strategies are needed to address the problems of slum development. Many planners are calling for slum improvement, particularly the Commonwealth Association of Planners.[64] When urban planners work on slums, they must cope with racial and cultural differences to ensure that racial steering does not occur.


Other social theories point out that in Britain and most countries since the 18th century, the transformation of societies from rural agriculture to industry caused a difficult adaptation to urban living. These theories emphasize that many planning policies ignore personal tensions, forcing individuals to live in a condition of perpetual extraneity to their cities. Many people therefore lack the comfort of feeling "at home" when at home. Often these theorists seek a reconsideration of commonly used "standards" that rationalize the outcomes of a free (relatively unregulated) market.

Some planning methods might help an elite group to control ordinary citizens. Haussmann's renovation of Paris created a system of wide boulevards which prevented the construction of barricades in the streets and eased the movement of military troops. In Rome, the Fascists in the 1930s created ex novo many new suburbs in order to concentrate criminals and poorer classes away from the elegant town.

The "broken-windows" theory argues that small indicators of neglect, such as broken windows and unkempt lawns, promote a feeling that an area is in a state of decay. Anticipating decay, people likewise fail to maintain their own properties. The theory suggests that abandonment causes crime, rather than crime causing abandonment.[63]

Jacobs went further, though, in emphasizing the details in how to achieve this 'natural surveillance', in stressing the necessity of multiple uses on city streets, so that different people co-mingle with different stores and parks in a condensed part of city space.[62] By doing this, as well as by making city streets interesting, she theorized a continuous animation of social actions during an average city day, which would keep city streets interesting and well occupied throughout a 24 hour period. She presented the North End in Boston, Massachusetts, as an idealization of this persistent occupation and tasking in a condensed city space, as a model for criminal control.

Jane Jacobs is another notable environmental determinist and is associated with the "eyes on the street" concept. By improving ‘natural surveillance’ of shared land and facilities of nearby residents by literally increasing the number of people who can see it, and increasing the familiarity of residents, as a collective, residents can more easily detect undesirable or criminal behavior. "However, this is not a new concept. This was prevalent throughout the middle eastern world during the time of Mohamad. It was not only reflected in the general structure of the outside of the home but also the inside. (refer to various religious texts and archaeological sites)"

Oscar Newman’s defensible space theory cites the modernist housing projects of the 1960s as an example of environmental determinism, where large blocks of flats are surrounded by shared and disassociated public areas, which are hard for residents to identify with. As those on lower incomes cannot hire others to maintain public space such as security guards or grounds keepers, and because no individual feels personally responsible, there was a general deterioration of public space leading to a sense of alienation and social disorder.

Some city planners try to control criminality with structures designed from theories such as socio-architecture or architectural determinism a subset of environmental determinism. These theories say that an urban environment can influence individuals' obedience to social rules and level of power. Refer to Foucault and the Encyclopedia of the Prison System for more details. The theories often say that psychological pressure develops in more densely developed, unadorned areas. This stress causes some crimes and some use of illegal drugs. The antidote is believed to be more individual space and better, more beautiful design in place of functionalism.

In recent years, practitioners have also been expected to maximize the accessibility of an area to people with different abilities, practicing the notion of "inclusive design," to anticipate criminal behaviour and consequently to "design-out crime" and to consider "traffic calming" or "pedestrianisation" as ways of making urban life more pleasant.

Extreme weather, flood, or other emergencies can often be greatly mitigated with secure emergency evacuation routes and emergency operations centres. These are relatively inexpensive and unintrusive, and many consider them a reasonable precaution for any urban space. Many cities will also have planned, built safety features, such as levees, retaining walls, and shelters.

Historically within the Middle East, Europe and the rest of the Old World, settlements were located on higher ground (for defense) and close to fresh water sources. Cities have often grown onto coastal and flood plains at risk of floods and storm surges. Urban planners must consider these threats. If the dangers can be localised then the affected regions can be made into parkland or green belt, often with the added benefit of open space provision.

The medieval walled city of Carcassonne in France is built upon high ground to provide maximum protection from attackers.

Safety and security

The 20th and 21st century trend for New Classical Architecture seeks to develop aesthetically pleasing smart growth in urban areas and to continue architectural tradition and classical design.[46][47]

There are some cities that have been planned from conception, and while the results often do not turn out quite as planned, evidence of the initial plan often remains. (See List of planned cities)

Planners can help manage the growth of cities, applying tools like zoning and growth management to manage the uses of land. Historically, many of the cities now thought the most beautiful are the result of dense, long lasting systems of prohibitions and guidance about building sizes, uses and features.[61] These allowed substantial freedoms, yet enforce styles, safety, and often materials in practical ways. Many conventional planning techniques are being repackaged using the contemporary term smart growth.

In developed countries, there has been a backlash against excessive human-made clutter in the visual environment, such as signposts, signs, and hoardings.[60] Other issues that generate strong debate among urban designers are tensions between peripheral growth, housing density and new settlements. There are also debates about the mixing tenures and land uses, versus distinguishing geographic zones where different uses dominate. Regardless, all successful urban planning considers urban character, local identity, respects heritage, pedestrians, traffic, utilities and natural hazards.

Towns and cities have been planned with aesthetics in mind. Here in Bath, England, 18th-century private sector development was designed to appear attractive.



[59][58] Experiences in

Collaborative planning arose in the US in response to the inadequacy of traditional public participation techniques to provide real opportunities for the public to make decisions affecting their communities. Collaborative planning is a method designed to empower stakeholders by elevating them to the level of decision-makers through direct engagement and dialogue between stakeholders and public agencies, to solicit ideas, active involvement, and participation in the community planning process. Active public involvement can help planners achieve better outcomes by making them aware of the public’s needs and preferences and by using local knowledge to inform projects. When properly administered, collaboration can result in more meaningful participation and better, more creative outcomes to persistent problems than can traditional participation methods. It enables planners to make decisions that reflect community needs and values, it fosters faith in the wisdom and utility of the resulting project, and the community is given a personal stake in its success.[57]

Collaborative planning in the United States


CoSGOP has been applied in European cross-border policy programming, as well in local and regional development programming. In 2004, the CoSGOP model was applied in the LUDA Project, starting with an analysis of the European experience of urban regeneration projects.


The graphical scheme of the Detailed Urbanist Plan for a settlement within the Municipality of Aerodrom within the City of Skopje, Republic of Macedonia.

CoSGOP is not a planning method but a process model. It provides a framework for communication and joint decision-making, in a structured process characterized by feedback loops. It also facilitates stakeholder learning. The essential elements of CoSGOP are analysis of stakeholders (identifying stakeholders’ perceptions of problems, interests, and expectations); analysis of problems and potentials (including objective problems and problems and potentials perceived by stakeholders); development of goals, improvement priorities, and alternatives (requiring intensive communication and active stakeholder participation); specification of an improvement program and its main activities (based on priorities defined with the stakeholders); assessment of possible impacts of the improvement program; definition and detailed specification of key projects and their implementation; continuous monitoring of improvement activities, feedback, and adjustment of the programme (including technical and economic information and perceptions of stakeholders).

Elements of CoSGOP

CoSGOP is derived from goal-oriented planning (Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit – GTZ 1988), which was oriented towards the elaboration and implementation of projects based on a logical framework, which was useful for embedding a specific project in a wider development frame and defining its major elements. This approach had weaknesses: its logical rules were strictly applied and the expert language did not encourage participation. CoSGOP introduced a new approach characterized by communication with and active involvement of stakeholders and those to be affected by the program; strategic planning based on the identification of strengths and weakness, opportunities and threats, as well as on scenario-building and visioning; the definition of goals as the basis for action; and long-term, flexible programming of interventions by stakeholders.

Background of CoSGOP'

Collaborative Strategic Goal Oriented Programming (CoSGOP) is a collaborative and communicative way of strategic programming, decision-making, implementation, and monitoring oriented towards defined and specific goals. It is based on sound analysis of available information, emphasizes stakeholder participation, works to create awareness among actors, and is oriented towards managing development processes. It was adopted as a theoretical framework for analyzing redevelopment processes in large urban distressed areas in European cities (see “LUDA : Improving quality of life in Large Urban Distressed Areas” project – Research funded by the European Commission, EVK4-CT2002-00081).

Car free sustainability in city planning can include large pedestrian zones or be a totally Car free.

Nature in cities Often an integral party of sustainable cities is the Incorporation of nature within a city.

Because of political and governance structures in most jurisdictions, sustainable planning measures must be widely supported before they can affect institutions and regions. Actual implementation is often a complex compromise.[53]

However, sustainable development is a recent, controversial concept.[52] Wheeler, in his 2004 book, defines sustainable urban development as "development that improves the long-term social and ecological health of cities and towns." He sketches a 'sustainable' city's features: compact, efficient land use; less automobile use, yet better access; efficient resource use; less pollution and waste; the restoration of natural systems; good housing and living environments; a healthy social ecology; a sustainable economy; community participation and involvement; and preservation of local culture and wisdom.[52] Urban planners are now promoting a sustainable city model, which consists of cities that designed with consideration of environmental impacts, such as minimizing the uses of energy, water, and the outputs of waste and pollution.[49]

Sustainable development and sustainability influence today's urban planners. Some planners argue that modern lifestyles use too many natural resources, polluting or destroying ecosystems, increasing social inequality, creating urban heat islands, and causing climate change. Many urban planners, therefore, advocate sustainable cities.[52][49]

Robert Hoddle's survey of Melbourne in 1837. The layout of the city is referred to as the "Hoddle Grid".

Sustainable development and sustainability

Critics of New Urbanism have argued that its environmental aspect is too focused on transport and excessive individual mobility. The real problem with the unsustainable nature of modern cities is not just about cars and too much driving - it is about the entire urban metabolism of the city (of which auto-mobility is less than half of the overall ecological footprint and accounts for about half of the GHG emissions/carbon footprint). They have also argued that land-use planning can do little to achieve sustainability without regulating the design and associated technology of the actual development within a zoned area. Distances and density are relatively unimportant; it is the total metabolism of the development that determines the environmental impact. Also, the emphasis needs to shift from sustainability to resilience, and the spatial scope from the city to the whole urban region[50] A further criticism is that the New Urbanist project of compacting urban form is a difficult and slow process. In the new global situation, with the horizontal, low-density growth irreversibly dominant, and climate change already happening, it would be wiser to focus efforts on the resilience of whole city-regions, retrofitting the existing sprawl for sustainability and self-sufficiency, and investing heavily in 'green infrastructure'. [51]

In sustainable construction, the recent movement of New Classical Architecture promotes a sustainable approach towards urban construction that appreciates and develops smart growth, walkability, architectural tradition, and classical design.[46][47] This is in contrast to modernist and short-lived globally uniform architecture, as well as opposing solitary housing estates and suburban sprawl.[48] Both trends started in the 1980s.[49]

Various current movements in urban design seek to create sustainable urban environments with long-lasting structures, buildings and a great liveability for its inhabitants. The most clearly defined form of walkable urbanism is known as the Charter of New Urbanism. It is an approach for successfully reducing environmental impacts by altering the built environment to create and preserve smart cities that support sustainable transport. Residents in compact urban neighborhoods drive fewer miles and have significantly lower environmental impacts across a range of measures compared with those living in sprawling suburbs.[45] The concept of Circular flow land use management has also been introduced in Europe to promote sustainable land use patterns that strive for compact cities and a reduction of greenfield land taken by urban sprawl.

new urbanist eco-friendly new town near Malmö

New Urbanism

Minimally planned cities still exist. Houston is a large city (with a metropolitan population of 5.5 million) in a developed country without a comprehensive zoning ordinance. Houston does, however, restrict development densities and mandate parking, even though specific land uses are not regulated. Also, private-sector developers in Houston use subdivision covenants and deed restrictions to effect land-use restrictions resembling zoning laws. Houston voters have rejected comprehensive zoning ordinances three times since 1948.

Modernist planning fell into decline in the 1970s when the construction of cheap, uniform tower blocks ended in most countries, such as Britain and France. Since then many have been demolished and replaced by other housing types. Rather than attempting to eliminate all disorder, planning now concentrates on individualism and diversity in society and the economy; this is the post-modernist era.[44]

By the late 1960s and early 1970s, many planners felt that modernism's clean lines and lack of human scale sapped vitality from the community, blaming them for high crime rates and social problems.[44]


Urban planning was popular in the Soviet Union and other socialist countries in the period of 1929-1989. It was seen as one method of the "scientific management" of society and as a tool for a social engineering. Many new Soviet cities and cities and suburbs in other socialist countries were established in accordance with the prevailing trends of urban planning. The pioneer of urban planning in former Czechoslovakia was a Czech entrepreneur Tomáš Baťa (1876-1932). He and his followers significantly reconstructed or founded several industrial cities (Zlín in Czech Republic, Svit and Partizánske in Slovakia). Later Czechoslovak school of city planning continued in this tradition.

Russian Magnitogorsk founded as a planned industrial city in 1929.

Urban planning in Communist countries

New towns were built in the United States from the 1960s – examples include Reston, Virginia; Columbia, Maryland; Jonathan, Minnesota and Riverside Plaza. This construction effort was combined with extensive federal government grants for slum clearance, improved and increased housing and road construction and comprehensive urban renewal projects. Other European countries such as France, Germany, Italy and Sweden also had some successes with new towns, especially as part of post-war reconstruction efforts.

Ebenezer Howard's urban planning concepts were only adopted on a large scale after World War II. The damage brought on by the war provoked significant public interest in what post-war Britain would be like, which was encouraged by the government, who facilitated talk about a ‘Better Britain’ to boost morale. Post-war rebuilding initiatives saw new plans drafted for London, which, for the first time, addressed the issue of decentralization. Firstly, the County of London Plan 1943 recognized that displacement of population and employment was necessary if the city was to be rebuilt at a desirable density. Moreover, the Greater London Plan of 1944 went further by suggesting that over one million people would need to be displaced into a mixture of satellite suburbs, existing rural towns, and new towns.[41] The New Towns Act 1946 resulted many New Towns being constructed in Britain over the following decades.[42][43]

New Towns

Another important theorist was Sir Patrick Geddes who understood the importance of taking the regional environment into account and the relationship between social issues and town planning, and foresaw the emergence of huge urban conurbations. In 1927, he was commissioned to plan the city of Tel Aviv, then in the British mandate for Palestine. It consisted of about 40 blocks, sized around 150 meters square. The block contained an inner small public garden, disposed into a windmill configuration of inner access roads, making it awkward for car traffic. The big blocks form a gently undulating street pattern, north-south commercial, east-west arranged to catch the sea breeze. This was a simple and efficient manner to modernize the historical fixed grid patterns. A series of shaded boulevards short cuts the system, with some public squares, accessing the sea front. The plan of the new town became a success.

Many of his disciples became notable in their own right, including painter-architect Nadir Afonso, who absorbed Le Corbusier's ideas into his own aesthetics theory. Lúcio Costa's city plan of Brasília and the industrial city of Zlín planned by František Lydie Gahura in the Czech Republic are notable plans based on his ideas, while the architect himself produced the plan for Chandigarh in India. Le Corbusier's thinking also had profound effects on the philosophy of city planning and architecture in the Soviet Union, particularly in the Constructivist era.

In 1925, he exhibited his "Plan Voisin", in which he proposed to bulldoze most of central Paris north of the Seine and replace it with his sixty-story cruciform towers from the Contemporary City, placed within an orthogonal street grid and park-like green space. In the 1930s, Le Corbusier expanded and reformulated his ideas on urbanism, eventually publishing them in La Ville radieuse (The Radiant City) in 1935. Perhaps the most significant difference between the Contemporary City and the Radiant City is that the latter abandoned the class-based stratification of the former; housing was now assigned according to family size, not economic position.[40] Le Corbusier's theories were sporadically adopted by the builders of public housing in Europe and the United States.

[39] In the 1920s, the ideas of

Partizánske in Slovakia – an example of a typical planned industrial city founded in 1938 together with a shoemaking factory in which practically all adult inhabitants of the city were employed.


The Tudor Walters Committee that recommended the building of housing estates after World War One incorporated the ideas of Howard's disciple Raymond Unwin, who demonstrated that homes could be built rapidly and economically whilst maintaining satisfactory standards for gardens, family privacy and internal spaces. Unwin diverged from Howard by proposing that the new developments should be peripheral 'satellites' rather than fully-fledged garden cities.[38]

Following this Act, surveyors, civil engineers, architects, lawyers and others began working together within local government in the UK to draw up schemes for the development of land and the idea of town planning as a new and distinctive area of expertise began to be formed. In 1910, Thomas Adams was appointed as the first Town Planning Inspector at the Local Government Board, and began meeting with practitioners. The Town Planning Institute was established in 1914 with a mandate to advance the study of town-planning and civic design.[37] The first university course in America was established at Harvard University in 1924.

The first official consideration of these new trends was embodied in the Housing and Town Planning Act of 1909 that compelled local authorities to introduce coherent systems of town planning across the country using the new principles of the 'garden city', and to ensure that all housing construction conformed to specific building standards.[36]

Urban planning became professionalized at this period, with input from utopian visionaries as well as from the practical minded infrastructure engineers and local councilors combining to produce new design templates for political consideration. The Town and Country Planning Association was founded in 1899 and the first academic course on urban planning was offered by the University of Liverpool in 1909.[35]

Urban planning profession

In North America, the Garden City movement was also popular, and evolved into the "Neighborhood Unit" form of development. In the early 1900s, as cars were introduced to city streets for the first time, residents became increasingly concerned with the number of pedestrians being injured by car traffic. The response, seen first in Radburn, New Jersey, was the Neighborhood Unit-style development, which oriented houses toward a common public path instead of the street. The neighborhood is distinctively organized around a school, with the intention of providing children a safe way to walk to school.

The principles of the garden city were soon applied to the planning of city suburbs. The first such project was the Hampstead Garden Suburb founded by Henrietta Barnett[34] and planned by Parker and Unwin. The scheme's utopian ideals were that it should be open to all classes of people with free access to woods and gardens and that the housing should be of low density with wide, tree-lined roads.

Welwyn Garden City, also in Hertfordshire was also built on Howard's principles. His successor as chairman of the Garden City Association was Sir Frederic Osborn, who extended the movement to regional planning.[33]

[32] He founded

Howard's ideas, although utopian, were also highly practical and were adopted around the world in the ensuing decades. His garden cities were intended to be planned, self-contained communities surrounded by parks, containing proportionate and separate areas of residences, industry, and agriculture. Inspired by the Progress and Poverty, Howard published his book Garden Cities of To-morrow in 1898, commonly regarded as the most important book in the history of urban planning.[26] His idealized garden city would house 32,000 people on a site of 6,000 acres (2,428 ha), planned on a concentric pattern with open spaces, public parks and six radial boulevards, 120 ft (37 m) wide, extending from the centre. The garden city would be self-sufficient and when it reached full population, another garden city would be developed nearby. Howard envisaged a cluster of several garden cities as satellites of a central city of 50,000 people, linked by road and rail.[27]

The first major urban planning theorist was Sir Pullman in Chicago. All these settlements decentralized the working environment from the centre of the cities, and provided a healthy living space for the factory workers. Howard generalized this achievement into a planned movement for the country as a whole. He was also influenced by the work of economist Alfred Marshall who argued in 1884 that industry needed a supply of labour that could in theory be supplied anywhere, and that companies have an incentive to improve workers living standards as the company bears much of the cost inflicted by the unhealthy urban conditions in the big cities.[25]

Ebenezer Howard's influential 1902 diagram, illustrating urban growth through garden city "off-shoots"

Garden city movement

Planning and architecture went through a paradigm shift at the turn of the 20th century. The industrialized cities of the 19th century had grown at a tremendous rate, with the pace and style of building largely dictated by private business concerns. The evils of urban life for the working poor were becoming increasingly evident as a matter for public concern. The laissez-faire style of government management of the economy, in fashion for most of the Victorian era, was starting to give way to a New Liberalism that championed intervention on the part of the poor and disadvantaged. Around 1900, theorists began developing urban planning models to mitigate the consequences of the industrial age, by providing citizens, especially factory workers, with healthier environments.

Modern urban planning

A concurrent plan to extend Barcelona was based on a scientific analysis of the city and its modern requirements. It was drawn up by the Catalan engineer Ildefons Cerdà to fill the space beyond the city walls after they were demolished from 1854. He is credited with inventing the term ‘urbanization’ and his approach was codified in his General Theory of Urbanization (1867). Cerdà's Eixample (Catalan for 'extension') consisted of 550 regular blocks with chamfered corners to facilitate the movement of trams, crossed by three wider avenues. His objectives were to improve the health of the inhabitants, towards which the blocks were built around central gardens and orientated NW-SE to maximize the sunlight they received, and assist social integration.[24]


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