December 14, 2017

Cities over the world are facing challenges due to the serious growth of the population inhabiting and migrating to urban areas. Only 2% of people worldwide were actual citizens back in 1800. Times have changed, so nowadays more than a half of the world population lives in the cities, which seems to be a trend that will remain for next few decades. Urban population growth demands well-planned urban designs, especially in developing countries where growth seems to be the fastest. European cities are building residential areas and have already reached milestones in urban plan implementation. Urban planning needs to improve cities regarding the environmental, social, economic and mobile issues as well as the city health outcome.

Environment factors

When making plans for developing a particular region, the physical environment is what comes into consideration first. Urban planners pay attention to location, its geological features, and climate conditions. Proximity to land in use, water, and food resources are important for future planning, to ensure basic functionality of urban area, as well as to maintain efficiency. A step further in the planning is to create an environmentally friendly area that will ensure sustainability and lower the carbon footprint in the specific community.

Social factors

A region demography is a vital component of any city or town, so urban planning must take care of social aspect in the area. Throughout history, cities were always a place of meeting, doing business and connecting. Urban planning includes consideration of public needs, preferences, and resources like public transportation or providing public spaces. The life of the district depends on their residents and their quality of life. Mindful urban planning brings design solution that allows citizens to connect and to create a community. Community life goes on in community centers, halls, or other venues, which is what urban plans should include.

Economic factors

The main reason for recent and future migrations toward cities is the economic development that goes hand in hand with urban growth. Urban plans must include an understanding of economic changes in the region as well as what economic factors will help further development of the city. Employment trends, type of business and socioeconomic level of residents directly impacts on urban development plans. Urban planning provides such layout of the area that will allow business growth and improve business conditions.

Health issues

When it comes to health outcome in the cities, there is a term of ‘’urban advantage’’ that sums up the advantage of living in the urban area opposed to a rural area. However, not every growing city can claim this health advantage, especially in lower-income countries. On average, health conditions are better in high-income areas since rich and poor belong to different epidemiological groups. Lots of green spaces and services that will do 24 hour rubbish removal improve the health conditions of the area. Good urban planning ensures proper sanitation and wastewater management. Plus, building standards and indoor air quality play a big role in the population health of the area.

Urban planning and private capital

In many countries, urban development is heavily dependent on private capital investments in property. Property-led development means that the decisions regarding the urban planning of areas that are private property move from public to private sector. The partnership of public authorities and private enterprise built many cities. Private capital and investments in property are shaping the city landscapes which is why is important to create a channel of communication between city mayors, urban planners, investors, property managers, and to include the public opinion.

Consider urban residents

Improving a city area doesn’t work unless it includes city residents. Urban residents need to be introduced to city plans and to have a say on further planning. This form of teamwork is participatory planning. Examples of such planning and public interventions are usually related to changes in the historical parts of the city, where citizens stand against big shopping malls. On the other hand, residents of the suburbs may ask for such kind of development. Participatory planning is the process that should bring together city residents, politicians and investors and property managers in a productive discussion that will lead to better urban development solutions.

Urban planning is about the future

Although there are urban planning interventions that are solving current problems, especially in the rapidly growing cities in the developing countries, urban planning is mostly thinking about the future. Taking care of current residents and taxpayers is what is in the process already, but forward thinking and planning for the upcoming decades is the biggest challenge. Urban planning is monitoring population trends and assuming the size of the space needed for future construction.  Increases in population, business or tourism directly influence urban planning, whether in building high-rises, business buildings or hotels.


Urban planning is as old as cities are. Clever planning in the ancient cities have saved thousands of lives and improved a life of all the citizens. Same is nowadays since it is a profession that ensures order in the chaotic megalopolises. Without the proper urban planning, cities in developing countries are facing environmental and health disasters not to mention city residents deprivation of basic rights. On the other hand, developing countries are constantly improving the way of life in the cities through urban planning policies and provide their citizens all the advantages of being an urban resident.

Author Bio: Nina Simons is a digital nomad, yoga aficionado and a travel enthusiast with a distinctive taste for home decor. She's passionate about learning new things and sharing meaningful ideas. If you wanna see what she's up to you can find her on Twitter.

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