November 13

Why Land Use Planning Is Critical for Development

Blog, News & Events


The land is becoming limited in supply, which is why developers and construction companies must know how to effectively use the land in a manner that will support the environment and surrounding communities.  Land use planning ensures that resources are used efficiently so that the needs of the people are met while safeguarding future resources.

This planning process can be used to prevent land-use conflicts and reduce exposure to pollutants.  Land use planning is essential for any development project. When it is performed thoroughly and accurately, the environmental, social, physical, and economic conditions will all benefit the local community.

land use planning

What Is Land Use Planning?

Land use planning refers to the practice whereby landowners, developers, municipalities, and other professionals collectively work to approve a land-based project, following principles that promote an appropriate social and environmental effect, while also employing resources efficiently.

Historically, land use planning was motivated by a concern to promote the orderly development of the landscape, preserve some open spaces, and provide consistency among developments.

Land-use planning can occur at various levels, which can include everything from town and local to national and international. The majority of land use plans begin at the local level before connecting to higher levels.

The main goal of land use planning is to make sure that land resources are efficiently utilized for any kind of land use activity, which could include anything from residential uses to agricultural uses. The use of the land must adhere to the development goals or vision that the city has. Other goals of land use planning include:

  • Identifying potential alternatives for land use
  • Assessing local, social, and economic conditions
  • Assessing the potential of land and water on the site
  • Efficiency, sustainability, and equity during the planning

The process can also be used to identify the location and amount of land that’s needed to implement a wide variety of different economic and social policies, plans, projects, and programs. Land use planning analyzes the physical conditions of the land to make sure that the project can be adequately supported now and in the future.

If the development of a certain project is going to create issues with the surrounding environment, these problems should be caught and addressed during the land use planning process. The point of land use planning is to make sure that the land can continue to be used for generations to come even after development has occurred.

Advantages of Land Use Planning

The land becomes a scarce resource as populations increase. Land-use planning is important to mitigate the negative effects of land use and development. Many positives come with the process of land use planning. Benefits of land use planning include:

  • Provides a beneficial framework for the development of a project before development officially begins
  • Helps to anticipate the future of a particular area, which allows developers to implement an infrastructure that acts as risk mitigation
  • Effective land-use planning positively impacts the urban economy
  • Can assist in putting measures in place to combat climate change
  • Promotes better use and conservation of natural resources, along with protecting the environment
  • Prevents development in areas that have a high risk of natural hazards
  • Protects lands from negative impacts of transportation while reducing exposure to pollution and costs
  • Minimizes the public health and safety risks for the local community
  • Prevents land use conflicts

Types of Land Use

Land is required to support human and ecosystem needs.  With growing populations in urban and suburban areas, land use planning is important to optimize the combination of different types of development projects. These can include residential, commercial, transportation, recreational, retail, and public uses.

  • Urban areas promote economic growth and satisfy the housing, industrial, and commercial needs of growing human populations.
  • Agricultural land is critical to provide food and fiber to growing populations. Agricultural activities include row crops, rangelands, animal farms, and other agribusiness activities.
  • Transportation infrastructure like roads and airports is another type of land use that affects water resources through road runoff and alterations to the circulation of water.

Let Us Help You Plan Your Land Development

Making your vision a reality is what we specialize in. Pickett, Ray & Silver offers a full range of services for your land development projects. With over 50 years in business, our team of land use planning professionals has the experience needed to achieve your goals. From site planning to engineering and design, we will be your partner in ensuring the local community benefits from your project.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you decide to make the best use of your development project.


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