Online Land Planning

Online Land Planning

Online Land Planning is a collaborative process in which the best sustainable development practices and design professionals from across the world are networked remotely using today’s technology to reach out to provide expert advice and affordable solutions on urban design and land planning issues to help property owners, communities, businesses and government agencies that have limited access, time, finances or personnel to make informed decisions about land use. In many cases, this approach provides electronic documents that become the catalyst to rebuild after natural or man-made disasters , spur community revitalization and stimulate a microeconomy in remote locations where speed, delivery, cost and efficiency are paramount to add immediate financial value and job creation based on optimum land solutions.

Major Classes of Ownership of Land in the United States in 2007

• According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the US land area totals nearly 2.3 billion acres.

- Over 60 percent (1,366 million acres) of the land in the United States is privately owned.

- The Federal Government owns nearly 29 percent (647 million acres), over one-third of which are in Alaska.

- State and local governments own about 9 percent (195 million acres).

- Over 2 percent (55 million acres) is held in trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

- There was minimal change in ownership from 1992 to 1997.

Relevant Statistics about Land Planners in the United States

• According to the United States Department of Labor, local government employed 68% of the 34,000 urban planners and regional planners in 2006.

This leaves 32%, or approximately 10,800 planners that are assumed to be employed in private practice near large metropolitan areas.

Internet Usage in the United States

• According to the June 2008 Internet World Statistics, the United States now has more than 220,000,000 internet users, or 72.5% of the US population.

In addition, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) notes that the number of subscribers to broadband high-speed Internet service is approximately 43 million lines as of June 2005. The FCC found that the majority of broadband connections in the U.S., 61 percent, were via cable modem and 37 percent of the connections were digital subscriber lines (DSL).

Importance of Technology

One goal of Online Land Planning is the effective use of the internet to support information sharing and decision making from remote locations such as the home. This online strategy is revolutionizing the land planning industry by creating a new platform that allows the process to be more democratic and offers property owners and the general public unequalled access to create a seamless progression for involvement with land planning projects. By relying on the internet and software technology such as geographic information systems (GIS), municipalities and other organizations can organize and provide salient base information and offer solutions to a wide variety of land planning issues that can be reviewed in from almost anywhere, including residential settings. The internet’s interactive features are now used by many planning departments to create an exchange of information and can also receive feedback through the same medium.

This online exchange between land planners and property owners allows a participatory process to take place in the privacy of each individual’s home where opinions can be voiced and any number of participants can help define and solve the issues at hand. As a result of the opportunity of effectively using the internet, the relationship between local government, professional planning consultants, property owners and the general public has been made easier through better direct communication, which has resulted in a collaborative partnership. See various studies prepared by The Royal Town Planning Institute Think Tank on Modernizing Local Government.

Land development companies and the real estate industry have already begun to derive benefits from easier access to efficient digital planning technologies that have replaced paper intensive processes. By allowing access to meaningful and relevant data, the opportunity for immediate participation and timely feedback has been a benefit to many developers working with cities throughout the world.

With proven internet technology in many homes today and the framework for a democratic and interactive planning process defined, online land planning has becomes a catalyst for creating affordable solutions that can be quickly tested and evaluated in partnership with local government on issues such as redevelopment, mixed use/ infill, new master planned communities, rural planning, environmental and infrastructure planning and urban design.

Public & Private Sector Online Land Planning Services

Throughout the world, many local and regional governments have created their own unique websites with access to map-centric and entreprise GIS databases that provide significant operational and public-service benefits.

In the United States, only one private business is found that provides online land planning services enabled by the wide range of technologies that are available today. Online Land Planning, LLC uses an online checklist to collect the basic information provided by the property owner via a secure network. Once received, a land planner and graphic designer are assigned and a SMART meeting or web conference is conducted to accomplish the necessary ground work using efficient, affordable layered technologies including the internet, email, .ftp sites, Google Earth, Zillow, GIS databases, Skype and mobile phone.


1. Climate Alarm: Oxfam Briefing Paper 108 (November 2007)

2. Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Kotka IV: “Sudan’s Experience in Forest Resources Assessment” (1995)

3. Prideaux, B. Building Visitor Attractions in Peripheral Areas - International Journal of Tourism Research, 4, 379-389. (2002)

4. Vesterby, M & Krupa, K, Resource Economics Division, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Statistical Bulletin No. 973.

5. US Department of Labor – Urban Planning Profession Statistics (2006)

6. Internet World Statistics (June 2008)

7. Shiode, N., Urban Planning, Information Technology and Cyberspace, Journal of Urban Technology (2000);

8. McGinn, M., Getting Involved in Planning – Edinburgh: Scottish Executive Development Department (2001)

9. Carver, S., The Future of Participatory Approaches Using Geographic Information (2003)

10. Yigitcanlar, Tan, Australian Local Governments Practice and Prospects with Online Planning (2005)

11. Huxol, J., A Participatory Model Using the Web (May 2004)

12. Hall, Carly & Heffernan, Maree: GIS and its Potential Use in Human Services (2006)

13. Abelson, R., Online Land Planning, LLC : Revolutionizing the Land Planning Industry (2008)

External links

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