Land use planning should start with an assessment of the needs of the local people and the local authorities. Planners must exactly define the area of the land they plan to manage before drawing up a schedule of activities. Another step in land-use planning is isolating constraints to change.
To identify and minimize obstacles to change, planners should consult all parties affected by a land use plan, along with everyone asked to contribute to the fulfillment of the plan’s objectives. The plan must match land with physically appropriate land uses. Planners must also consider the environmental, financial and social impacts of each land use assignment.
To forestall land use conflicts, governments use ordinances and regulations to enforce land use plans.
Zoning laws are important tools for executing these plans. Without fair and balanced land use planning, land degradation occurs, which can ultimately lead to the destruction of crucial ecosystems. With proper execution, even-handed land use planning minimizes social conflicts while maintaining ecological biodiversity.
The establishment of urban growth boundaries is an example of land use planning in action. For example, Portland, Oregon has a mandate to maintain an urban growth boundary with at least 20,000 square acres of unoccupied land.