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EnP Reviewer: Key Concepts in Environmental Planning

Environmental Planning:
Key Concepts in Environmental Planning 

by: MLPaga

(For Educational Purposes Only)




Who are they?

demographic analysis

What do they do?

economic analysis

Where do these activities occur?

land use analysis

How are human activities connected spatially?"

transportation analysis


What is Planning?

It is the act or process of making or carrying out plansspecifically : the establishment of goals, policies, and procedures for a social or economic unit

A basic management function involving formulation of one or more detailed plans to achieve optimum balance of needs or demands with the available resources. The planning process

 (1) identifies the goals or objectives to be achieved, 

(2) formulates strategies to achieve them, 

(3) arranges or creates the means required, and 

(4) implements, directs, and monitors all steps in their proper sequence


Legal Definition of Environmental Planning


According to REPUBLIC ACT No. 10587, " Environmental Planning Act of 2013," 

Environmental planning is defined  as urban and regional planning, city planning, town and country planning, and/or human settlements planning, refers to the multi-disciplinary art and science of analyzing, specifying, clarifying, harmonizing, managing and regulating the use and development of land and water resources, in relation to their environs, for the development of sustainable communities and ecosystems. (Sec. 4 (a) of R.A. 10587)


Other definition:


“refers to activities connected with the management and development of land, as well as the preservation, conservation and management of the human environment”

-          Presidential Decree No. 1308, March 2, 1978


Objective is to liberate communities from urban blight and congestion and promote ecological balance

-          PD 933, series of 1976, Decree Creating the Human Settlements Commission, later HSRC, later HLURB

1.      A framework for growth - Thriving cities have a vision and follow it through with a framework to develop in an orderly manner. A framework is not about centralized command and control but a way to anticipate needs, coordinate efforts, and draw a path to a horizon that is collectively held. Major efforts to enhance livability, prosperity and equity have taken place in a number of well known cities. Such transformational impact is not a product of spontaneity, instead of constructive planning.

2.      A planned city is a well prepared city - Anticipating the future allows us to be better prepared today. By staying ahead of challenges, city leaders are ready to see opportunities and manage risks from a vantage point. With reliable information on the current situation, they will be able to make connections between the long-term vision and short term actions. On the other hand, cities that don’t actively plan for their future will likely be left behind.

3.      Planning improves impact . - Local leaders are elected and appointed to deliver improvement. Given the magnitude of the challenges cities face, it is unlikely that all desired improvements will happen at once. Successful cities build momentum by undertaking priority projects that are aligned with the vision. Planning identifies pressing issues and available resources and makes sure that initiatives are not redundant or going in different directions.

4.      An appropriate Urban form is very important - Housing, employment, accessibility and safety are key concerns for urban dwellers. These topics are strongly correlated to urban form. The right policies on density, land use, public space and the layout of infrastructure and services can make a difference in delivering quality of life at the right price point. Designing a spatial pattern that addresses citizens’ concerns is a means for delivering a better city.

5.      Urban planning positively impacts urban economy - Making sure there are plenty of jobs in a city is a priority for local leaders. Cities compete to attract investment with a view to generating economic activity. Planning coordinates the spatial location and distribution of economic activity and facilitates value capture from public investment and the transformation of rural to urban land.

6.      A collectively held plan allows cities to build lasting relationships - City leaders that are able to see opportunity in urbanization would need to engage all possible contributions toward capturing it. A collectively held framework gives local leaders a road map to reach out to citizens, energize departments and mobilize partners so that they become engaged in realizing the vision.

7.       A broader territorial perspective helps cities attain economies of scale - Cities do not operate in vacuums. Their footprint is associated with a surrounding region with which they share resources and opportunities. Rather than just looking within municipal boundaries, cities that plan together can make a competitive advantage out of cross-municipal coordination. In addition to spatial efficiencies, this would allow them to draw on economies of scale to boost their negotiation power.

8.      Continuity generates credibility - Successful cities have ensured continuity of plans through political cycles, realizing that a stable road map would make them more credible. Investment is a long term endeavour that benefits from predictable conditions. Spatial planning is an asset to reduce uncertainties and thus its continuity contributes to the creation of transparent opportunities for an engaged society.

9.      Anticipating is more cost effective than reacting to problems - Local leaders have the opportunity of driving constructive change if they move away from laissez faire. Cities that plan in sufficient scale would be in a position of anticipating rather than reacting, hence being able to tackle the root of the problem. Unplanned spatial patterns are inefficient and require more resources to maintain, and the high cost of bad or no decisions is likely to make them irreversible.

10.  A framework gives consistency to messages -  Communication is a key asset for cities, but the opportunity to connect and convey a city’s advantages   can be undermined by empty or contradictory messages. Momentum and support are increased when the local leader can demonstrate substantive, even if incremental, progress that is consistent with the   collective vision and framework for action.




Definition of Town Planning 


What is planning? 


A range of views and definitions A fellow of the UK Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), Kelvin MacDonald (2005, p. 25).


MacDonald offered two definitions: [Informally, a planner is a] post-modernist, moderator, politician, rationalist, advocate, realist, economist, critic, risk-taker, developer, healer, geographer, sage, critical thinker, environmentalist, urbanist, manager, technocrat, strategist, statistician, negotiator, economist, ruralist, deconstructionist, internationalist, administrator… [More formally, planning concerns] the better use of land, shaping space, community and safety, improving the quality of the environment, sustainable development, encouraging growth in the economy, housing, improving the historic environment, the best use of resources and quality. (p. 25)


Planning is the act of researching, analysing, anticipating and influencing change in our society. In urban areas planners guide and manage the way suburbs and regions develop, making sure that they are good places in which to live, work and play. Planners are involved in making decisions about land use proposals and other types of developments. In making decisions, planners have to balance the needs of communities and the environment.

What is town (and country) planning?


  1. Town and country planning is the process of making decisions on the development and use of land. It is a tool for guiding and facilitating development and regeneration in a way that also preserves the best features of our environment
  2. “the determining and drawing up plans for the future physical arrangement and condition of a community or the comprehensive planning of the physical and social development of a town.”
  3.  “the physical, social and economic planning of an urban environment (such as a town)”


Some Shifts in Modern Planning


  1. Before, Product-Oriented; now Process-Oriented. Planning process is as important as planning output.
  2. Before, All-Inclusive; now Strategic
  3. Before, Compartmental due to administrative boundaries; now Integrated (Trans-border)
  4. Before, “Agency-led”; now “Community-Based”
  5. Before, “Top-Down”; now “Bottom-Up”
  6. Before, Open Participation; now Focused Participation


Attributes of Planning Process


  1. SCIENCE AND ART – requires quantifiable tools as well as subjective creativity
  2. MULTI-DISCIPLINARY   Requires the expertise of various discipline economics; engineering; sociology; architecture; law; geography etc.
  3. COMPREHENSIVE: Covers all aspects of man/women and his/her environment; physical, social, economics, political administration and the natural environment. Participatory
  4. DYNAMIC:  Changes overtime, technological change; cultural norms and traditions; not static; responsive to new demands and needs of people.
  5. CONTINUOUS / ITERATIVE:  Plan is prepared, approved, implemented; reviewed and evaluated; replan again based on new demands of the time.
  6. PARTICIPATORY: values the engagement of MULTI-SECTORAL stakeholders.
  7. CYCLIC / SPIRAL: Unending process; Always goes back to where it started; Were the problems solved? Goals and objectives attained? At what level of satisfaction?
  8. TIME BOUND: Plan must have a time perspective; short, medium, long range; Basis for plan review and assessment.:



ü  M. Pulido, " Enhancing Capacities of Environmental Planners, "

ü  https://www.planning.org.au/documents/item/2115

ü  http://www.urbangateway.org/content/news/top-ten-reasons-why-cities-need-urban-planning

ü  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/planning

ü  http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/planning.html

ü  https://www.productivity.govt.nz/sites/default/files/urban-planning-final-report-chapter-03.pdf

ü  http://townplanninglectures.blogspot.com/2009/01/definitions-of-town-planning.html




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