What is planning?


Information in this topic is worded in a general way to suit the circumstances in all Australian states and territories.

You will find an explanation of words in italics in 1.2 Planning language.


Town planning is the process by which the use and development of land is managed for the benefit of the whole community.

Town planning decisions affect us all in many ways:
  • Where and how we live and the pleasantness of our environment;
  • How close we live to jobs, schools, shops and other facilities; and
  • How easy it is to get around the city or town in which we live.

Town planning is both a forward-looking activity and a decision making process, and is important in managing the growth of cities and towns by allocating land for future uses and by controlling the pace and type of development.

The planning system can significantly impact on the rights, investments, lifestyle and general well-being of individuals and communities.

The aim of town planning is to achieve a balance between enabling development to take place and conserving and protecting the environment. It tries to ensure that activities associated with urban settlement happen in the right place, at the right time, and in the right relationship with one another and with the environment.

Strategic land use plans at state, territory and local levels identify long term goals and objectives and the best approach for achieving those objectives through zoning and land use controls.

The work town planners do is becoming more important as society places greater emphasis on ecological sustainability, livability, high quality urban design and managing urban growth effectively.

Related topics:
More on-line resources:

General town planning information:

Ecological sustainability:

We will build this list over time and invite you to contact us with suggested links you are aware of that can be added to this page.

Want to know more?
Is there something more you want to know about this topic? Contact us with your ideas for future inclusion in TOWN PLANNING FOR EVERYONE resources.

© The Planning Academy 2011
Last updated: 9 Dec 2013

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