Creating an integrated proposal for the development of a region -- rural, urban or both -- taking into account natural conditions and proposed changes.
Regional planning presupposes a willingness of people to accept a certain degree of centralized decision making and long-term commitment to a preconceived model of development. Regional plans usually are a part of a national development plan and fit into the long-term vision of the future direction of a country, state or larger geographical area.
Economic development, such as the advent of mining activities, is often responsible for the adoption of regional planning. Recent concern with ecological problems has encouraged regional planning, particularly in relation to resource conservation.
The goals of the United Nations Centre for Regional Development are: (a) to assist in building up and strengthening national capability to formulate regional development plans and projects; (b) to assist in improving systems for implementing regional development plans and projects by adapting appropriate approaches to suit local conditions and capabilities obtaining in developing countries; (c) to promote research, in close collaboration with national and international experts, on substantive issues in regional development planning and implementation, as well as on sectoral areas of concern such as environmental management and socioeconomic development, and their institutional dimensions; (d) to assist in development effective information systems for local and regional development; and (e) to encourage the exchange of ideas and experiences in regional development to benefit planners, trainers, and researchers dealing with this field of concern in developing countries.
Regional planning enables the coordinated and balanced development of urban and rural areas and assists the growth of a mutually-supportive relationship between the two.
The time lag between the inception of a plan and the implementation of many specific aspects of it often makes for discrepancies and requires revision of the original proposal.