Little BIG glossary of urban planning

/ guide

On urban and spatial plans

The main instruments of planning are urban and spatial plans.

The plans may vary in terms of:

  • Adoptionrepublic, town or municipality (units of local government) levels which require (or not) consent from the republic authorities,
  • Rangeplan of a larger spatial unit or plan of a smaller spatial unit (often termed as higher and lower order plans),
  • Characterstrategic plan and regulation plan,
  • Manner of implementationplans with indirect or direct implementation of the building regulations.
Hierarchy of plans

Spatial and urban plans are coordinated „vertically“ and „horizontally“.

Vertical coordination of plans means that plans are organized hierarchically and that the lower-level plans must be harmonized with the higher-level plans.

Horizontal coordination of plans means that all plans of the same level must be interconnected and harmonized, if they have a direct relation (two bordering municipalities or towns).

Owing to their vertical and horizontal coordination, all plans are connected and adapted to the overall spatial development and the wider context which they affect.  

Participants in the planning, interests and responsibility

Recognition of the participants in the planning process and their respective interests answers the questions what the interventions and decision-making in urban planning are based on and justified with.

All interests are legitimate: individual /partial /community interests, interests of the capital / investors, or interests of the government – even when they are guided by personal and collective selfishness.

They are illegitimate if they are enforced through abuse of power, pressures, manipulations and other forms of corruptive, socially and legally unacceptable behavior.

The fundament of legitimacy in planning is public interest. Nevertheless, how a society establishes what public interest is, the collective and individual understanding of this notion, its definition, implementation through decision-making and how it is defended – these are today exceptionally complex issues which lack adequate attention, although they are essentially important for development and quality of life.

The four phases of preparation of a plan

The plan development process begins with the plan development initiative, on the basis of which the decision on plan development is made, and ends with the adoption of the plan and its publication in the official gazette.

In this process, the Law on Planning and Construction and the accompanying rulebook clearly define the procedure, participants, responsibilities, as well as the steps in which the public is informed and can be involved.