The land we see today is one of nature’s gifts to mankind. But even though we currently have over 50 million square miles of land on the earth today, only 43% of that landmass is suitable for supporting human life! This limited nature of the land is what makes land-use planning so important in our society today, especially as it relates to city development.
What Is Land-Use?
In layman’s terms, land use simply refers to the various ways humans use the land they inhabit. It is the classification of land based on the type of structures that can be constructed on it as well as what purposes the land can be used to satisfy.
Land use is a term that encompasses the socioeconomic (and cultural) practices that are common to a specific area or locality. Some people define land use as “the processes involved in identifying and determining the kind of environment, community or settlement that can be established on a particular piece of land”.
How land is used, and for what purpose it is used, differs from place to place. You would rarely find malls and huge shopping complexes built on land considered to belong to the public such as parks, gardens and wilderness areas.
It is also important to note at this point that there is a subtle difference between “land use” and “land cover”. If you have a piece of land that was used to grow trees for the production of timber during harvesting before being left to fallow, and one that naturally has a lot of trees planted on it, it is easy to classify both land masses as “forest-covered” whereas they have different uses.
What Are The Different Uses Of Land?
We have several classifications when it comes to what land is used for and how. However, all of these classifications fall under five broad categories. Land can be used for either Commercial, Residential, Agricultural, Recreational or Transportation purposes.
Land used for establishing businesses, building warehouses, shops, malls, and any other commerce-related infrastructure is categorized as “Commercial” land. Although this type of land used for commercial purposes doesn’t occupy much space, its availability is key to the economic growth and stability of the immediate community.
Any land designed solely to accommodate residential buildings is said to have “Residential” use. The type of homes built on residential land varies from locality to locality but some common examples include apartment complexes, mobile homes, or even single homes built for families.
Factors such as the location you intend to reside, the housing market conditions, closeness to public and social amenities, relative ease of accessing the property as well as the type of residential building you want to build are all important considerations to make before categorizing a land as “residential”.
It is noteworthy to mention that residential land has certain restrictions on the kind of animals that are allowed on them. This is likely to reduce concerns about the health and safety of residents who have to share living quarters with the wildlife.
While cats and dogs are considered man’s best friends and can stay on residential land, other animals such as pigs and horses need special consideration. Other regulations include the individual size of the residential buildings, the distance between each home and the minimum plot size that can be allocated for a residential building.
Agricultural land refers to land used to specifically grow crops and raise animals. This is another important land use, as the availability of this type of land is pivotal to a community’s economic development. Examples of such land include those used for cattle and horse ranches, orchards, plantations, pastures, and farms.
Land classified as Recreational land refers to land used for the construction of facilities that allow us to relax and unwind. If you’re looking for amusement parks, gardens, recreational centres, cinemas, bowling centres, community playgrounds, zoos and museums, this is the type of land you’d typically find them on.
Although they aren’t exactly crucial contributors to a community’s development, they do provide a source of entertainment and enjoyment to both residents and visitors alike.
Any land that houses the structures, mechanisms and networks that help transport people, goods and services from one place to another is categorized as Transportation land. Your neighbourhood railway station, bus terminals, airports and subway stations are built on this type of land.
Why Is Land-Use Planning Important?
With global population figures rising by the minute, it becomes very important for town planners, community developers, traffic engineers and the government to take a much closer look at land-use planning to effectively maximize the available land’s ability to sustain the population explosion.
Land-use planning refers to the logical evaluation of the potential capacity of available land to sustainably meet socio-economic demands, as well as an assessment of the possible alternative uses the available land can be put to achieve effective and efficient community growth and development.
Land-use planning is a continuous process that goes on across several fronts, from the local to the state to the national to the regional, and even to the international setting.
Importance Of Land-Use Planning To The Community
Land-use planning is important for the following reasons:
- It provides a comprehensive framework for the government, investors and other concerned stakeholders to map out community development plans and strategies
2. A proper land-use plan makes it easy for environmental conservation initiatives to be deployed
3. Land-use planning helps in the creation of beautifully organized communities and can assist in reducing the incidence of traffic jams common to urban areas
Community development and town planning are multi-stakeholder ventures that require delicate and methodical planning and execution that can only be handled by seasoned professionals
This is why you should contact Transport and Traffic Planning Associates for your next community development project. Reach Out To Us Today To Speak With A Consultant!