Planning is the process by which a community deals with present conditions and provides for future needs through the thoughtful consideration of present conditions and their relationships to the community at large.
Most often associated with guiding the future form of land development through policy guidance, it also accounts for the provision of public services and needs, historic and cultural values, the environment, and economic development and transportation issues. The planning process can take many forms but usually includes these important steps:
Collection of data on current conditions and their analysis
Development of goals and objectives to guide policy development
Development and consideration of alternative courses of action and selection of one alternative
Adoption and implementation of the plan
Feedback into the data collection to update and monitor the effectiveness of the plan
Note: Ideally, public participation occurs throughout the process in a variety of forms.