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Factors Affecting Urban Development

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Urban planning, which is also known as urban development, incorporates planning for transportation systems and land use to improve the structure of a town or city. Urban development includes urban renewal, which addresses issues like decay and lack of investment in specific regions. Factors like land use, aesthetics, safety, unkempt buildings and transportation all affect how cities are planned.

Use of Land

City planners try to manage the growth of a city by making zoning laws to manage how land in a city is used, but this also affects the growth of a city. Planners try to regulate aspects of building, such as the size of newly constructed buildings, the uses of the building and what features it will have. Although some planners try to provide substantial freedom to the architect, they also need to enforce safety and consider how to develop the city intelligently by avoiding overcrowding and considering issues like water consumption.


In many cities, aesthetics or the nature of beauty and its expression, is taken into consideration in urban development. Cities often try to reduce the clutter or have a mainstream architectural style. This is evident especially in the historic parts of many towns. Cities attempt to maintain control over new construction in these areas and may regulate paint colors of the exteriors of homes, as well as ornamentation outside of the home. Successful urban development factors in the culture or heritage of the region, as well as aspects like natural hazards.


Urban planners must consider the safety of residents and visitors when developing a town or city. Extreme weather conditions, such as flooding or hurricanes, necessitate planning for emergency routes and safety features, such as retaining walls and shelters.

Unkempt Buildings

Many cities struggle with what to do regarding abandoned, unkempt buildings, as well as lawn control and debris. This deeply affects urban development because avoiding neglect is believed central to preventing the decay of the entire city, particularly in areas of crime, drugs and other social issues. Urban development must address how to address neglect, slums and decay.


Transportation is a key problem in many urban areas and presents a unique problem for an urban planner. Urban development needs to address increasing or decreasing traffic, traffic patterns, parking areas and alternative methods of transportation, such as buses, trolleys or trains.

Reconstruction or Renewal

Another factor involved in urban development is that of reconstruction and renewal, which is made evident in areas that have been devastated by natural or man-made disaster. A construction plan for a community experiencing renewal needs to consider existing resources, such as the culture and businesses, as well as consider the long-term goals of the city when creating the design.


Andrea Helaine has a Bachelor of Philosophy in theology and is currently finishing her thesis course for a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. Helaine has been writing professionally for over 10 years and has been published in several anthologies and is currently breaking into the screenwriting market.

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