The Comprehensive Plan
This chapter explains the comprehensive planning process which may be divided into five major stages: research, clarification of goals and objectives, plan formulation, plan implementation and review and revision. It describes a participatory plan-making process. The process will vary from one community to the next, but we can identify some common elements. One characteristic of the comprehensive plan is that physically, it covers the entire community. Most planning agencies, particularly those large enough to have a research staff, do considerable research. One common type of study is the "population forecast". There are various approaches to forecasting population. A common technique is the "cohort survival" method. A number of consulting firms now specialize in economic and financial forecasting for municipal governments. Beyond updating the database on which the plan rests, it is also necessary to update goals and strategies. Ideally, the municipal government will have a commitment to updating the plan at regular intervals.