The scheme defines the future use of land, dividing it into broad zones and reservations. It requires local government town planning schemes to provide detailed plans for their part of the region. These schemes must be consistent with the MRS.
The MRS derived from Hepburn and Stephenson's 1955 Plan for the Metropolitan Region, Perth and Fremantle and has been in operation since 1963. Hepburn and Stephenson were commissioned by the Government of Western Australia to develop the plan in 1953. The overall structure was updated and extended in the Corridor Plan of 1970 and the Metroplan of 1990.