I have to admit, learning about the Master Plan of a municipality was not an easy task. However, understanding the planning process for development open my mind to a whole new world in Civil Engineering.
One may believe buildings and houses are constructed arbitrarily, without any thought or planning. Parks, streets, bridges, and buildings in general, they are all features found in municipalities, and they all make part of a city’s Master Plan. Beginning with general objectives, following by a set of guidelines, and ending with a set of policies, regulations and standards, the Master Plan tells the city officials, and citizens, what they must accomplish together as one unit.
The Master Plan of a municipality does not discriminate, nor it picks whom it is going to affect or not. Usually, enforced policies and regulations affect the entire community in the long run. We see cases every day in school, in towns, counties, the state, and the country. For example, extending a highway on the outskirts of a densely populated town. It generates more traffic deteriorating mobility and safety, and it opens the space for commercial development along its path. It widens the possibility of increasing economic activity generating more revenue for the town. It can make the environment noisier, and the quality of the air poorer. There are several factors that need to be considered before, during, and after the execution of a project. Therefore, a coherent, tangible, inclusive, and intelligent Master Plan needs to be structured maintaining the welfare of the people at heart.
A well-organized Master Plan stimulates the socioeconomic and physical development of a municipality. Its laws and regulations balance the standards of living of people. It guides officials on performing their duties for the improvement of the infrastructure, minimizing the negative effects on property owners. A Master Plan must encompass restrictive aims in order to maintain control of the land, and at the same time promote commercial, industrial, and residential development, appropriate to the availability of resources. The Master Plan must serve all constituents in their goal of achieving a dignified lifestyle without diminishing the conditions for others. It must suffice the needs of the locality to sustain a harmonious relationship with its neighbors, sharing a common goal while evolving.
Although it is not as obvious as it seems, the adoption of a well defined Master Plan will ensure the healthy socioeconomic development of people under a representative form of government, by including provisions and warranties for the equitable distribution of space and opportunities.
Those of us with the desire to become public servants through the application of our careers must learn, understand, and commit to the adoption and application of an inclusive and well-adjusted Master Plan.