Breaking it down

We start off by breaking down the terms Urban planning and Town planning and defining each component term. The term ‘planning’ is common to both and so we will define it first.


Planning has no one definition. It can be generally defined as one or a collection of the following:

  • A future-oriented problem-solving process
  • A way of thinking about socio-economic problems that relates goals to collective decision
  • A link between technical knowledge and action within the public domain
  • The art or science of pre-arranging or pre-thinking things
  • An orderly sequence of actions that will lead to the achievement of certain stated goals

The definition of ‘planning’ is subjective.


From an architectural, environmental engineering or civil engineering perspective, the word ‘Urban’ is used to describe an environment in which man-made surroundings dominate the natural surroundings.


A town is a place of urban living. A human settlement can be classified as a town based on certain characteristics such as population density, physical size or spread, economic prosperity, infrastructure development level etcetera.

What is Urban Planning and Town Planning?

Now that we know the definitions of the words ‘Planning’, ‘Urban’ and ‘Town’, we can define Urban Planning and Town Planning with relative ease.

Urban Planning: Considering the definitions of ‘Urban’ and ‘Planning’, we can define Urban Planning as the art and science of developing the physical aspects of the environment in which man lives or of solving the socio-economic and other problems mankind encounters in relation to its place of living. People who work in the field of Urban Planning can be called as urban planners. Urban planning generally refers to planning of cities or larger regions of human settlement.

Town Planning: Town planning is considered as the art and science of shaping and guiding the physical growth of a town to meet the needs of its population.


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