Principles of Planning

Q. What are the principles of local planning, both streamlined and comprehensive?

A. Local Planning:

  • Leadership building – Catalyzes community building and involvement, as evidenced by an entrepreneurial spirit, leadership development and local investment in the future.
  • Diverse and participatory – Brings diverse citizens, generations and community organizations into the early phases of developing a vision and evaluating feasible alternatives and keeps them involved in decision making, action and assessment of progress.
  • Transparent – Makes it clear for the participants, encouraging a full discussion of assumed values toward land, water and development and full understanding of technical information.
  • Strategic – Builds on local assets, focusing on realities of change, root causes of problems and feasible options for dealing with change, within the framework of available resources.
  • Comprehensive – Views the implications on all aspects of community and life, rather than focusing on a particular economic, environmental social or cultural issue.
  • Sustainable – Results in policy and a strong institutional framework for continued decision making and conflict resolution, so that citizens can hold government accountable, versus a static blueprint for development.
  •  Implemented – Uses a variety of local powers and programs, through carefully negotiated roles for human and financial resources from local, regional, state and national levels and from the public and private sectors.
  • Continual – Establishes a management structure for continual improvement, with indicators for assessing progress and revising plans.

Q. Wow, that’s quite a list. Are there any planning principles that apply regionally, among a group of towns and counties?

A. Regional Planning:

  • Local capacity – Enhances technical, human and financial resources and efficiencies.
  • Development strategies – Involves affected governments and citizens with the regional and long term social, economic and environmental implications of local, state and federal plans.
  • Decision making – resolves conflicts and builds collaboration among jurisdictions, levels of government and public/private actors.
  • Mechanisms – builds shared goals and services among jurisdictions and stakeholders.
  • Gap bridging – connects local priorities and federal and state policy and bridges access to technical and other regional resources.

Q. What about the state and feds? Are they left off the hook or do they also play a role?

A. State and Federal Planning:

  • Policy – provides broad policy framework and supports locally determined solutions within those policies.
  • Conformity – abides by certified or approved local or regional plans.
  • Comprehensive systems approach – responds to local and regional plans with timely and appropriate assistance.
  • Capacity – builds local and regional development capacity.
  • Flexible program design – coordinated, responsive, flexible and decentralized – program design and delivery systems.