As urban areas have grown and become ever more complex systems of interconnected activities, so the unfettered interplay of market forces has proved insufficient to avoid increasing inefficiencies in urban development and form. Without some element of planning, growing cities would probably sprawl ever further into the surrounding countryside and declining cities would see valuable urban land abandoned. Both would result in inefficient patchworks of fragmented urbanism, difficult and expensive to service and inequitable in their impacts on the economies of firms and the life chances of individuals. Environmental degradation and natural resource depletion would go unchecked. Today, across the developed world virtually all governments recognize the importance of urban planning in ensuring efficiency and equity in the use of land and other resources. Planning is seen to support economic growth by ensuring the availability of developable land and by coordinating the provision of infrastructure (highways, utilities, etc.). It also plays a key role in the protection and conservation of the natural, built and historic resources and environments. Furthermore, a well planned urban area contributes to the development of inclusive communities and the opportunity to live in attractive, safe and healthy neighbourhoods (DCLG, 2012).
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