What is Zoning?
The local governments in developed countries designated permitted uses of land based on mapped zones. The mapped zones help in separating one set of land uses from another. This device of land use planning is called zoning.(1) Zoning is one of the principles of town planning.
Zoning is used to specify the use of land and is called functional zoning. It is also used to regulate the height of the buildings and density (ground coverage specifications).
A town/city is divided into different zones such as:
- Residential zone (housing)
- Commercial zone (retail/wholesales shops/malls – anything related to commerce)
- Industrial zone (Industries/factories)
- Recreational zone (Parks/Playgrounds/spaces for recreational activities)
- Mixed use zone (Commercial + Residential)
All of the above mentioned zones cater to their specify type of usage.
Why is Town planning important?
It is evident that a small house if well arranged and planned, looks far more better than a disordered big palace. In a similar way, a town which is properly planned provide people with more comfort and convenience.
The necessity of town planning can very well be appreciated by mentioning the evil situations which a town has to face in the absence of town planning. They are as follows:
1. Defective road system resulting in the formation of narrow streets and lanes;
Defective road system is a problem in most countries. It is due to the fact that towns and cities were never planned. They gradually grew with the help of the developers which resulted in bad road network giving rise to bad transportation network.
2. Development of slums and squatter settlements;
If land use is not regulated efficiently, it will result in the formation of slums and squatter settlements which will eventually degrade the quality of the life of the citizens.
3. Haphazard location of industries;
Industries are generally located away from towns and cities. Hence, industrial zones have to be allotted so that haphazard springing up of industries on unsuitable locations can be avoided.
4. Heavy traffic congestion during the working hours of the day;
If the road network is not efficient, it will lead to heavy traffic congestion. Traffic congestion is linked to a lot of other problems.
Please see: Cars and Sustainability Issues
5. Inadequate open spaces for parks and playgrounds resulting in unhealthy living conditions;
This is one big problem in cities. It is very hard to find open spaces in cities. If there are open spaces, they are later on used up for designing more houses and constructing more buildings. This is more common in metropolitan cities and mega cities across the world.
6. Lack of essential amenities like electricity, water supply and drainage;
If planning is not done and towns and cities are left to grow on their own, it results in lack of efficient network of amenities like electricity, water supply, sewerage and drainage systems. This results into degraded quality of life.
7. Noisy atmosphere disturbing the peace of city dwellers;
When designing towns and cities, population density is taken into consideration. If the population increases beyond the city’s catering capacity, it becomes impossible to maintain good lifestyle standards. Too population gives rise to too much traffic and noise making the city dwellers uncomfortable.
8. Uncontrolled development of the town;
Development of town can be controlled if it is zoned efficiently. Uncontrolled town development is bad news for all of us. For a important and obvious reason that we are all aware of; population is growing whereas we have limited land supply. If we don’t make optimum use of land, the resources are bound to get exhausted and we would reach a stage of no return.
9. Unhealthy living conditions; etc
All the above factors mentioned lead to unhealthy living conditions which can be avoided if we give enough emphasis to planning.
2. Town Planning – Rangwala