Modern Principles of City and Town Planning

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          “A city should be built to give its inhabitants security and happiness.”- Aristotle

Cities are known to be the most innovative and complex creations of human beings. They have existed in the past and will continue to exist in the future, showcasing human growth and development. Cities are economic and social systems, that are dominating the global canvas in terms of concentration of population. They are also the principle centers of economy, consumer markets and also have a highly trained workforce. As engines of economic growth, cities are known to be creators of wealth, generators of employment and promoters of the economy. “Urban planning or city planning is a technical or political process which deals with the development and use of land, planning permission, protection, and use of the environment, public welfare and the design of the urban environment. These are also responsible for the planning and development of water use and resources, rural and agricultural land, parks and conserving areas of natural environment significance.”

As per World Urbanization Prospects –the 2014 Revision Report of Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations:  India by 2030 will have 7 Mega cities with population exceeding 10 million and 2 cities of a population above 5 million. It is also estimated that by 2050 there will be over a 100 Metro cities around India.  This calls for critically and objectively looking at the urban centers in terms of their pattern of growth, development and evolving strategies which make them more productive, smart, efficient, healthy and sustainable.

Some of the basic principles of building a city, considered from technical, economical and the administration point of view are as follows:

  1. The city planning principally consists of fixing the baselines of all traffic movements and transit facilities, including streets, railroads, and canals. These transit facilities should be treated liberally and systematically.
  2. The street network should be planned in such a way that the main streets with the existing streets should be given greater consideration. The secondary streets should be fixed based on local conditions.
  3. The building departments should adhere by some rights and privileges related to fire protection, aesthetic condition, health and safety of the buildings.
  4. The town or city municipal authorities should facilitate for legal measures in cases of expropriation and impropriation and should also create a law providing for the regulation of the contour of new or reconstructed blocks to be built upon.
  5. Efficient use of land and infrastructure: land is essential for making improvements and should only be built upon under reservations for its subsequent use by the city. High-density development, infill development, and the adaptive re-use of the existing buildings result in efficient utilization of land resources and compact urban areas.
  6. Cities are homes to complex webs of systems, and sectors, with their primary aim that ties into how a city functions. With this mind, collaboration is critical to identify innovative solutions.
  7. Good urban planning addresses immediate needs while striving to achieve a city’s unique vision of the future. Long-term visions are rarely achieved through an uncoordinated application of projects.
  8. The municipality should constantly supervise the activities of interested property owners associations, regarding the improvement of certain section.

 urban planning imageStructural model of a Town or city

What is town planning?

Town planning is an art of shaping and guiding the physical growth of the town creating buildings and environments to meet the various needs of the public such as social, cultural, economic and recreational etc. and to provide healthy conditions for both rich and poor to live, to work and to play or relax, thus bringing:

  • Physical and social planning of an urban environment.
  • Encompassing many different disciplines and bringing them all under a single roof.


town planning block diagram image 1

  The objective of town planning:

  • To create and promote healthy conditions and environments for the public.
  • To make right use of the land for the right purpose of zoning.
  • To ensure orderly development.
  • To avoid encroachment of one zone over the other.
  • To build social, economic and recreational amenities such as open spaces, parks, gardens, and playgrounds, town hall stadiums, community centers, cinema houses.
  • To preserve the individuality of the town
  • To preserve the aesthetics in the design of all the elements of a town or a city plan.

  Principles of Town Planning :

The basic intention of town planning is to satisfy the needs of our future generations and to prevent the disorganized growth of the town or a city. Some of the principles of the town planning are as follows:

  1. Zoning: the towns are divided are into suitable zones such as commercial zone, industrial zone, residential zone, and certain rules and regulations should be implemented for each zone.
  2. Green-belt: is a non-developmental zone which is located on the periphery of the town. It usually prevents the chaotic spread of the town, confining its size. A green belt is an invisible line designating a border around a certain area, preventing development of the area and allowing wildlife to return and be established.
  3. Housing: should be carefully designed to suit the local population and care should be taken to make sure that all the facilities are there inside the housing complex.
  4. Public buildings: should be well organized and distributed throughout the town. Unnecessary concentration of public buildings should be avoided. Factors such as parking facilities, road widths should be taken into consideration while allocating the space for public buildings.
  5. Recreation centers: are essential while designing a town. They are necessary for the recreational activities of the public. They include parks, for walking, cycling, amusement parks etc.
  6. Road systems: road network hierarchy is very important while building a town or a city. The efficiency of any town is measured by the layout of its roads. The provision of a faulty road system in the initial stages of town formation proves to be too difficult and costly to repair to rearrange in future.
  7. Transport facilities: the town should be provided with suitable transport facilities so that there is minimum loss of time for commuting between the work place and the residence. Efficiency in transport facilities includes both public and private networks. Public transportation network includes access to buses, trains, trams and trolleybuses.

Town planning has gained a lot of importance today. New towns and cities are being developed on a regular basis and it has become very essential for the town planners to concentrate on old development as well as the new development. Energy efficiency in planning should be the goal of every town planner and urban designer for a sustainable living and development.


Ctlachu Follow. (2012, March 18). Introduction to town planning. Retrieved June 23, 2017, from

8 Basic Principles of City Planning (445 Words). (2013, December 11). Retrieved June 23, 2017, from

Ten urban planning principles every humanitarian should know. (2015, December 03). Retrieved June 23, 2017, from

Fainstein, S. S. (2016, May 12). Urban planning. Retrieved June 23, 2017, from

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