Growth due to Conceptual Urban Planning Theories in the Year 2022

Conceptual urban planning


The built environment has long inspired social responsibility and the need to enhance society. Theories are ideas, thoughts and contemplations thought meticulously with the application of science and current or future technologies. Many conceptual urban planning theories have been developed over a period to further think about their application. There are many urban planning architects and urban designers who have projected their ideas to streamline a theory based on their observations, including a few which stuck and a few which faded away and some got success and attention to apply them. The theories of urban planning have progressed over time, with the traditional theories as a guide further influenced by postmodern thoughts.

What is Conceptual Urban Planning?

Urban planning is the regional planning, civic planning, city planning, and rural planning, a technical and diplomatic process aimed toward the development and design of land use and the built environment including the planning of using resources like water, air, and local materials. Urban planning impacts our transportation system, infrastructure, layout, and prescribed densities of residential, commercial, and industrial areas. Urban planning is a management and communication device, the popular documentation.


There is also evidence of urban planning and designing of communities dating back to the Mesopotamian, Indus Valley, Minoan, and Egyptian civilizations within the third millennium BCE. Archaeologists researching and analyzing the remains of cities have discovered paved streets that were well planned and laid out at right angles within a grid pattern. 

Conceptual urban planning theories

The earliest known example of Urban planning is Mohenjo-Daro and Harappan civilizations located in present-day Pakistan’s Punjab and Sindh provinces. The civilization was said to have sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture is evident with the proper drainage system, city layout, well-planned and placed houses, market area, gathering spaces, etc. Few excavated cities of this urban plan comprise the world’s first known urban sanitation systems with the use of hydraulic engineering to form the Indus Valley civilization. The Indus Valley civilization made them the first urban center in the region.

The concept of a planned urban area has evolved and continued as various civilizations implemented it. At the birth of the 8th century BCE, Greek city-states were mainly centered within orthogonal plans. Further, the ancient Romans were influenced by the Greek’s urban planning methods and incorporated orthogonal plans for their cities. 

Conceptual Urban Planning Theories

Garden City Concept 

garden city

The garden city concept, the idea of a planned residential community, was developed by the English urban planner namely Ebenezer Howard. Howard’s concept for garden cities was a way of developing a solution to the urgent need to improve the quality of urban life. According to him, a garden city would be a place that behaves as a community where people from different backgrounds of life can live as well as work in coherence and harmony. 

garden city

The garden city concept was based on the creation of a succession of small cities that would blend the advantages of both environments. The five main features of Howard’s scheme were to initially purchase a large agricultural land, the further layout of a compact town surrounded by a widespread rural belt, the accommodation space for the residents, industry, and agriculture for the people residing in the town, the provision of restriction of the extent of the town and prevention of encroachment with the town and finally would lead to a natural rise in land values to be used for the town’s general welfare.

Towers in park

le corbusier

Le Corbusier pioneered the “tower in a park” morphology in his unrealized 1923 Ville Contemporaine he came up with the concept after he couldn’t unsee the squalid conditions of cities in the 1920s. In the park is a morphology of modernist high multi-story apartment buildings branded by an even taller high-rise building surrounded by a wrapping of lush landscape. Towers in the Park was an idea for a style of housing planning that accentuates a separation of different kinds of uses of space and access to public green space and amenities. According to Le Corbusier, people would instead prefer to live in the suburbs than settle in a city.

Neighbourhood Unit Concept

neighbourhood unit

The neighborhood unit concept was developed by Clarence A. Perry. The idea was that all cultures, even in different shapes and under different definitions like a sub-public area where the most concrete and original form of neighborliness takes place and social cooperation and organization are possible. The neighborhood unit theory was a proposal to bring everything into a single unit.

Geddian trio Concept

geddian trio

Geddes was thinking about the relation between people and the places and their impacts on each other, creating a certain interdependency. Geddian trio concept was aimed towards contributing to the adaptation of material of the people as well as their way of living towards the certain chances, and the effects on the changes of culture through education. Geddian trio Concept challenged the basic norms in the form of the design material but was also employed through culture design.

Sector Model 

sector model

Sector Model was developed by Homer Hoyt, who was a renowned academic and consultant of real estate market analysis during the mid-20th century. Homer Hoyt’s sector model tweaked the concentration zone concept to make it more realistic. Hoyt maintained the sectoring factor of the concentric zone model instead deviated from the geometric patterns. Hoyt proposed that cities do not develop in the form of simple rings, instead, they have “sectors”. It was mainly based on residential rent patterns and the effects of transportation development.

Concentric Zone model 


The Concentric zone model concept is also known as the Burgess model, which is one of the first few theoretical models used to illustrate urban social patterns. The Concentric zone model was designed by sociologist Ernest Burgess and proposes a vivid framework in which both characteristics of human ecology in terms of physical land-use patterns and human relationships are interdepended. 

The concentric model is based on a process of invasion and succession. Invasion is a process that necessitates the continual expansion of inner zones into outer zones because of the natural ‘aggression’ of the migrant into the city. According to the conceptual model, it has five main zones: i.e., the Central Commercial Center, Zone of transition, Working class residence, Middle-class residence, and Commuter zone.

Multiple Nuclei Model

multiple nuclei

Harris and Ullman claimed cities don’t just grow around a single unit nucleus, but instead numerous unit nuclei. Multiple nuclei are suggested as the former settlements, while the others evolved from urbanization and outer economies. Characteristic land use zones expand since some activities might repulse each other. There is also an issue where not all land users can afford the expensive land at the most desirable locations, and some also require easy access to the location.

An evolution of single nuclei theory, where two legends Harris and Ullman proved a city doesn’t grow around a single nucleus but has multi foci, and each point acts as a growing point. Further, Harris and Ullman argued that a city might start with a single central business district (CBD), but over time, the activities scatter and gets modified.


urban development

Urban development has been a constant phenomenon since we can even remember, but with the increase in this development and the population. There is a rapid use of limited resources like water, fuel, and especially land. Resources being in such a finite amount, there is an urgent need to adapt various planning techniques to inculcate disciple and management within our society. Many theorists have developed such concepts as mentioned above to fulfill the urgency to conserve the environment. These concepts have helped to provide an idea of how urban planners can manage the settlement of people, to create further civilized patterns, systems, and layouts for urban development.

The principal question of planning theory is the analysis of the probability of attaining an improved quality of human life contained in the context of a global capitalist economy. Exploring the different theories has helped many planners understand no planner acts in a value-free vacuum. The technical-rational planner represents their views of how the world works through their choice of planning methods. There have been many planning theory concepts developed over a period, some of which have faded into oblivion because of their disadvantages, but some have provided other designers with an idea that there are several alternative concepts to adopt from.

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