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What is Zoning in Urban Town Planning

By: Haseeb Jamal / On: Nov 20, 2017 / Advantages

Zoning has been adopted by most of the countries  of the world such as Germany, England, America, Russia, Japan, Pakistan etc. In 1916 first zoning in New York was carried out.

Uses of land

The  use of land in town planning can broadly be classified in to following two categories

  1. Profit making use
  2. Non-profit making use

1. Profit making use

The land which is developed with profit making motives for e.g. sites developed for offices, residences, industries etc.

2. Non profit making use

The land which is developed without any motive of making profit It includes roads,parks , playgrounds, educational buildings, government offices. The main non profit making use in urban area will naturally be the roads.


The objects or purpose of zoning are as follows.

  1. The town planner gets ample opportunities for designing the future growth & development of town.
  2. Zoning serves as a main tool to the town planner to achieve his goal
  3. Zoning affords proper coordination of various public amenities, such as transport facilities, water supply, drainage, electric power etc
  4. Zoning proves to be an effective instrument in case of any review or modification in order to make town planning scheme more effective & successful.

Advantages of Zoning

  • Danger from fire
  • Future development
  • Modification, revision of plan
  • General amenities
  • Health of community
  • Population distribution (horizontal & vertical growth)
  • Public utility services

Use: Activities permitted within zone

Bulk: envelope in which building must fit—specified through setbacks, building coverage, building heights, floor area ratio (ratio of building to lot square footage)

Performance/impact: performance standards, or impacts a building is allowed to produce; biggest example is parking space.

Zoning may include regulation of the kinds of activities which will be acceptable on particular lots (such as open space, residential, agricultural, commercial or industrial), the densities at which those activities can be performed (from low-density housing such as single family homes to high-density such as high-rise apartment buildings), the height of buildings, the amount of space structures may occupy, the location of a building on the lot (setbacks), the proportions of the types of space on a lot, such as how much landscaped space, impervious surface, traffic lanes, and parking must be provided.

Categories in Zoning

Basically, urban zones fall into one of five major categories: residential, mixed residential-commercial, commercial, industrial and special (e. g. power plants, sports complexes, airports, shopping malls etc.).

Each category can have a number of sub-categories, for example, within the commercial category there may be separate zones for small-retail, large retail, office use, lodging and others, while industrial may be subdivided into heavy manufacturing, light assembly and warehouse uses.

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