Wednesday, April 4, 2012

master planning and urban planning ,obviously different?

It does seem obvious for the professionals of the built environment that urban planning is one set of skills needed to get a master plan out , but do we really understand what it takes to transform a shape representing a tract of land into a living organism called communities.

Master planning has always been associated historically with either town planning or urban planning. Town planners work on the urban fabric qualities in order to enable legible and permeable urban structure to emerge- street layout, urban form , vistas , perspectives and other spatial elements become essential in bringing an overall vision into fruition. Urban planners are interested in the demographic analysis and the land use budget that will enable the developers to understand their implementation plans when it comes to infrastructure demand and public facilities.

But definitely, there is more to a master plan than the land use numbers it add to, the development controls of its urban form and the shape of its networks. There is an intangible that we all strive to bring about in a master plan - breath into its structure , a unique persona based on mixture that build on the existing resources and extend its cultural identity- Master planning is a transformation exercise not only of the natural, built and social dimension- it is a transformation program that adds, enrich and extend the existing cultural, human dimensions.

Such a holistic program will need skills beyond the technical expertise of  designing large scale environment- it needs skills and abilities that touches on cultural understanding, open-mindedness, negotiation and mos importantly perception .

Perceptive thinking instead of critical thinking is a major skill that will be more and more in demand in planning new communities .

Perceptive thinking sees connections, coherence and way forward in what seems separate, dismantled part and bring it into fruition - be it between different stakeholders, different consultants or working across different disciplines .

 It goes beyond logic to the deep value and belief systems that drives our value and expectations of what vibrant livable and sustainable communities are and build it on it a PLAN that takes us there..


  1. Yes, master planning and urban planning are different. Master planning looks at how each piece of land will be used in an area. Urban planning is the process of planning which lands in a city can be used for what purposes.
    urban planners

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