In order to provide stability, purpose and control in any town or city, a great deal of data is required, and it must be analysed very carefully to provide direction. However, this data must be reliable and needs to be carefully gathered through official sources with much attention to detail before it can be used in any planning environment. How is this data gathered and how is it used?
Due to the importance of this information, governments require all inhabitants to supply specific information about themselves and their living habits. This census information is gathered periodically, and the questions included are designed to provide analysts and planners with the right amount of raw material. Once this data has been dissected, they will be able to understand the economic, cultural and social needs of the populace so that they can predict growth trends and plan accordingly.
Flow of Data
Much of this data is requested by central government, but it is also made available to city, community and town planners to be used in a variety of ways. Most importantly, they need to know that they will have the right budget in place in the future and must devise ways to gather this money effectively.
If you've ever filled in a census form before, you will know that these questions relate to the size of the household and the profiles of the residents, together with their income levels. They also ask about the gender of the occupants and their levels of education as they try to put together a complete picture. Planners will be able to see how the population is distributed within the town, community or city and where they need to focus services and facilities accordingly.
Segmentation and Structure
Each development needs to be split into a variety of different sectors and this will lead the planning teams as they sanction any applications received. Typically, they will segment between commercial, residential, recreational and industrial zones, while putting in place infrastructure to support each sector and transportation to link everything together.
The planners must also analyse whether current networks are sufficient or whether they need to gather resources so that they can improve them. They will look at the provision of public transportation and determine whether drainage, sewage and water networks can cope with the demand.
In summary, this is data crunching on a grand scale and these individuals have to be highly trained in order to understand and decipher the message contained within. To a certain extent they need to have a crystal ball in place as well, so that they can be proactive in developing every community and predict how data trends will develop in the future. Consequently, it's crucial to bring experienced town planners into any community development scheme at the earliest opportunity.