Call/WhatsApp: +1 914 416 5343

Planning Tools and Process (PTP): Review a City’s General Plan

As you know from class readings and lecture, every city in California is required by state law to maintain a General Plan (also called a “comprehensive” plan in some states) that provides an overview of the city’s vision for its future development patterns through a series of policy statements and maps. A city’s General Plan must include required sections or “elements”, but may also include optional elements. The required Land Use Element provides an overview of how permitted land uses (residential, commercial, etc) are distributed within the city, and must be consistent with other elements such as the Circulation Element (which addresses how different land uses and areas of the city are connected by roadways and other forms of transportation).

Step 1. Select a City for your General Plan Review

Select a city in California that you would like to learn more about or study for this PTP.
Locate the city’s General Plan on the city’s website and make sure you can easily view the entire plan either online or downloaded as a pdf. You must be able to access sections pertaining to:
The plan’s executive summary
The city’s vision statement
The land use element (including the land use map)
The public outreach and participation process
Review the above part of your selected city’s General Plan to prepare to address the following components of your plan review/reflection.
Step 2. Conduct your Review and Critical Reflection

Organize your assignment into the following subsections:

Plan Information
Name of the City
Date that the General Plan was last updated. (Some plans may be fairly out of date and not reflect current challenges and conditions, while some may have recently undergone major updates.)
Provide the online link to the City’s General Plan.
Vision Statement: This section briefly describes the plan’s guiding principles and the city’s vision for future growth (sometimes these vision items are included in different sections, such as an introductory vision section, a list of guiding principles, or in a preamble.)
UPDATED NOTE: Some General Plans may not publish their vision in an introductory chapter or preamble. If you cannot find a statement of the city’s vision, you should looks for a vision or values statement in the Land Use Element of the most recent update to the Housing Element section of their General Plan. Please contact the instructor if you cannot locate related content in your chosen city’s General Plan.

Describe and discuss (3-5 sentences):
What are the city’s values and priorities?
How does the vision describe and frame the city’s goals and plans for the future?
What future challenges does the vision anticipate for the city, and how will the city address them?