Theoretical perspectives on local planning
Although these definitions do not clarify what planning is, nevertheless they contain the essence of what planning is about. they also point to a fundamental distinction between the general activity of planning or policy-making and physical planning. By implication, these definitions see general planning as a procedure whereby one schemes or arranges beforehand and acts on the chosen scheme. Physical planning, on the other hand, is seen as referring to the physical design or plan of some artifact or building which might exist in the future. In this context planners involved with public policy claim a comprehensive concern with the inter-relationship between social, economic and physical change in city, town and region; with the relationships between residence, workplace, school and shopping; with the accessibility and other requirements of industry and commerce. They also justify their actions on the grounds that they serve the public interest (however that may be defined) and are needed to counteract the inadequacies of the market system. It is apparent that the majority of general plans have a physical component, e.g. a general plan for education produced by a local education authority will inevitably include a physical plan or plans locating and de§igning schools, and colleges. Similarly, a general plan for a firm setting out its manufacturing, market and financial strategy will also include a physical plan for accommodating the staff and 'hardware' involved in implementing that strategy. In both examples, the physical component of the general plan gives physical expression to more general policies, which are implemented through a process of management and financial investment.