Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Module 1 Introduction Site Planning

Module 1 Introduction

Definition of Site Planning

Site planning is the art and science of arranging the uses of portions of land.

Site planners designate these uses in detail by selecting and analyzing sites, forming land use plans, organizing vehicular and pedestrian circulation, developing visual form and materials concepts, readjusting the existing landforms by design grading, providing proper drainage, and finally developing the construction details to carry out their projects.

Site planners arrange for the accommodation of the program of activities clients have specified.

They must relate these components to each other, the sites, and structures and activities on adjacent sites – for whether sites are small or big, they must be viewed as part of the total environment.

Site planning is the organization of the external physical environment to accommodate human behavior.

It deals with the qualities and locations of structures, land, activities, and living things.

It creates a pattern of those elements in space and time, which will be subject to continuous future management and change.

The technical output – the grading plans, utility layout, survey locations, planting plans, sketches, diagrams, and specifications -–are simply a conventional way of specifying this complex organization.

Site Concepts and Principles (Kevin Lynch)

- Every site is a unique interconnected web of things and activities that imposes limitations and offers possibilities.

- A site or project/planning area varies in size, location and characteristics. (can be located anywhere on land or beside a body of water, or may concern a small cluster of houses, a single building and its grounds, or something as extensive as a small community built in a single operation).

-“A site in its own right is a living, changing community of plants and animals.” Such a community also has its own interests that should be conserved, preserved or protected.

-Knowledge of the site is vital in planning especially in mitigating competing or conflicting interests between potential users and existing occupants to avert natural disasters such as severe erosion, water intrusion, flooding, a drop in the water table, etc.

- The site and its intended purpose are closely interrelated

- Understanding the site to define or establish the essential character or nature of the site or “the spirit of the place” (genius loci) to maintain, to some degree, a continuity of the preexisting conditions within the locale. Every place has a character, which may include the wider landscape or may be local to a street or village.

- A sufficient knowledge and understanding of the nature of the site would make the planner much conscious and sensitive to the site’s distinct character and “closely knit” complexity “as to be worthy of his interest, concern and even his affection.”
- Understanding the site has two branches – one oriented to the users’ and the other to the site itself.

Objectives of Site Planning

Site planning is concerned with the environment around buildings, open spaces within the built environment and areas which are non-agricultural.
- It provides a means of identifying and understanding problems that arise from the relationship between man and the land.
- Decide the best location of each land use and each activity at site.
- Who are to use the land, what activities they are likely to want to do there and what sort of environment is required if the users have to get a high level of satisfaction out of participating in site planning
- How analysis of the site’s environment (physical/social/ environmental/ cultural/political) are required by each activity could be used to decide which part of the site can stay the same, which parts need to be changed and what these changes aim to achieve. (impacts)
- How to influence the appearance of the site by developing appropriate landscape types and using suitable landscape management methods. (methods/environmental quality)
- How to work out the details of what should happen on a given area of land; how it should happen & what it will cost to implement and manage the project on the area of land.
Essence of Site Planning

According to Beer, the essence of site planning allows all concerned stakeholders to think systematically through the whole range of issues that relate to deciding what should happen on an area of land (site planning is multi-dimensional / multi-stakeholder / multi-sectoral activity)

- no one particular viewpoint is considered
- “holistic viewpoint”
- “multi-dimensional” viewpoint
- “comprehensive” viewpoint

- Think through all the problem that are likely to be associated with developing the site or changing its use.

- Site planning attempts to consider the site in relation to the interest of society as a whole as well as those of the developer/client when determining what activities should or should not happen on land with the least possible adverse effect on the environment as a whole.

- Economic / social issues factored in to accommodate the interest of developer, politicians especially.
- ultimate decision-maker would be the developer guided by
a. policy – CLUP, laws, ordinances
b. systems and procedures / dev’t control
c. financial / economic constraints
d. market demand
- focus more on the analysis of the physical / natural environment to determine constraints to land development / building development.

- To ensure that necessary expansive solutions are not chosen

- Site planning can help to reduce long term management cost associated with operating on a site.

When to do Site Planning?

- A client has an intended use in mind (the project has been identified) and has identified a site (site is available). The site planner proceeds with the planning process.

- A client has an intended use in mind (the project has been identified) but does not know where to build the project (site is not yet available). In this case, a site planner is commissioned to identify an appropriate site based on the needs of the client and plan the property.

- A client has a piece of property (the site is available) but does not know what to do with it (the project has not been identified). In this case, a site planner is commissioned to determine the best use for the property and plan it.

Site Planning Process

- A thorough assessment of the natural environment and the associated physical characteristics of the site and its surroundings.

- A detailed analysis of the users and their requirements in terms of facilities for each activity and the sort of environment needed to enable the activity to take place (environmental setting) with the maximum possible user satisfaction.

- An assessment of the potential of the site, based on the relationship between the physical characteristics of the site and the user requirements.

- An assessment of possibilities for changing the physical characteristics of the site to make a better match between the users and the site.

- Assessing the impact on the natural and visual environments of any changes to the physical aspects of the site.

- Proposing a plan for the site which is a balance between man’s requirements and the need to ensure the conservation and enhancement of the natural environment.

Stages in the Production of a Site Plan

(As a cycle of events, site planning generally involves a sequence of stages that begins when a developer or client of the site planner decides to develop a site to the production of design briefs. The flow chart below summarizes the general process taken in the production of a site plan - Beer, 1990) 1. Client wants to develop a site

2. Technical Team assembled

3. Key Issues Identified

4. Alternative Site Examined

5. Discussions with local planners/stakeholders


7. Present and Future Needs

8. Site Potential Assessed

9. Environmental Policies

10. Alternative Development Concepts Examined


12. Planning Approval sought by client

13. Design and Management Briefs developed

Site Inventory and Assessment

- Involves a thorough assessment of the natural environment and the associated physical characteristics of the site and its surroundings.

- Such factors are found above, below, and on the ground; make up the nature of the site;

- Knowing these factors and their interrelationships enables one to determine site constraints (threats) and potentials (opportunities).

- Knowledge of constraints and threats can mitigate or minimize potential damage or adverse effects that site development may cause on the ecological (i.e., physical/biological) and social fabric within the site or within the general vicinity of the site.

- Knowledge of the potentials and opportunities of the site can clarify, reveal or enhance the nature of the site as well as the plan or design.

Data/Information Required in Preparing a Site Profile

- Site Inventory and Assessment require the collection of comprehensive and structured sets of data descriptive of the geo-physical, biological and social environment in the site and around the site. A site profile is the outcome of this activity.

Why Prepare a Site Profile?

- For planners, it provides information on the status and characteristics of the various aspects of the environment which are indicative of the potentials and weaknesses of a particular area.

- For decision makers, the site profile provides information on the environment needed in the formulation of policies, strategies or business decisions pertaining specifically to the area or to the environment in general.

- For those concerned with the assessment and monitoring of the environment, the site profile provides benchmark information on the environment with which various scenarios can be drawn up with the introduction of particular development project(s).

In general, the Site Profile is a valuable tool:

- In making better decisions and trade-offs for more rational or sustainable development.

- In taking stock of or assessing the status of the environment of an area as of a given time.

- In providing information on the environment for consideration in project planning and development as well as for monitoring and evaluation of a project’s impact on the environment;

- In preparing and evaluating the Initial Environmental Examination or the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA); and

- In providing information for the purposes of management and conservation of the environment

Description and Basis of Site Layout

Given the project’s general location, it is often desirable to draw up a site master plan to indicate the spatial arrangement of the various facilities and show the allocation of spaces to the different activities involved.
- Such plan will help ensure that the most functionally efficient layout, compatible with an acceptable standard of environmental quality is obtained.
- Site and land use planning involves, firstly, a consideration of various developmental purposes.
- A sieve map which grades the various sections of the area according to the degree of physical difficulty in developing them, is helpful in allocating the land for different uses.
- From this map can be noted the areas with steep slopes, low-lying sections liable to flooding, areas with weak subsoil, etc. and other sections that restrict development except at high cost.
- At the same time, areas easily suitable for various developmental uses can be shown.

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