What is program development?

Article By:

Associate | Landscape Architectural Intern

People often say that there are multiple ways to reach particular life goals, and there is no such thing as one true way. 

The most common way to explain this is with elementary arithmetic: 2+2=4, 3+1=4, and 4+0 is also 4. As accurate as it might be, relying on multiple methods to do something can get confusing and lead to wastage of time and energy. This is also the case when it comes to developing unused land. 

Not having a proper plan to follow will lead to underutilization of the land’s resources and cause delays in development among other issues. To avoid such problems, program development should be utilized. In this article, I will elaborate on what program development is, the essential steps, and its importance. 

What Is Program Development?

In a layperson’s words, program development is a process in which objectives for the final product are laid out and achieved. It acts like a plan of action, outlining what must be done to reach an end goal.

Program development for land use is where people involved in the projects such as landowners, developers, and other professionals follow a path to utilize the resources of the land for development. The primary idea here is to identify the land’s appropriate use, assess which resources are available, and utilize them. It is also crucial to keep the interest of future generations in mind.

When it comes to land use planning at any scale, there will be multiple layers to the program development. It is a long process that is best utilized when planned from a very early stage. It is deemed beneficial to start slow and then make your way up. 

Importance Of Program Development 

As I mentioned earlier, program development is a process. It is not just a static plan that is forgotten as soon as it is created. While trying to develop any area, the needs and objectives can change with time which is why these plans need to be flexible enough to adapt to the ever-changing needs of the people involved. 

One of the most important reasons for program development is to meet the needs of not just the people of today but also the coming generations. Planning for the future needs in housing, jobs, recreational opportunities, and so on are established alongside the needs of current people. Adaptable plans like this can have the potential to change the standard of living altogether.

Another reason why program development is crucial is that it creates a space where limitations can be discussed. If there are any potential drawbacks for the land in question and the areas surrounding it, land use planning is the ideal way to address it. Having this acknowledged and outlined from the beginning can prevent costly changes or delays later on in the development project.

Steps In Program Development For Land Use

1. Establishing Goals

One of the first things to do in program development is to establish common goals and objectives. Prior to that, it is also essential to engage with the community who will be benefiting from the planning. Once all the necessary people have been involved, problem areas and potential opportunities are easier to identify. 

In this step that basic information about the quality of the land is gathered. In addition, stats on the number of people living, resources available, the people’s needs, and legal limitations are collected.

2. Organization

This is closely related to step one. After the information has been gathered, it is studied, and specific tasks are set. Since the end goal is already established, a plan of action has to be formed here. Moreover, tasks like budget allocation, work plans for each team member, and arranging security clearances are done in this step.

3. Problem Analysis

After the information is gathered in step one, the next thing to do is find problems surrounding the land. These can be related to low income/opportunities, shortage of resources like fuel, poor health of the population, etc. In this step, not only are the problems identified, but the underlying cause is highlighted as well.

4. Finding Solutions

This is a critical step since the planners will find solutions to the problems encountered in Step three. Strategizing with such a heavy volume of information can be difficult, and so isolating problems that cannot be solved by land-use planning helps. This way, a range of solutions can be drafted.

5. Evaluating The Land

This is another significant step in the process. Not all land types will be suited for the plans being made. Hence, it is crucial to evaluate the land and judge which use is best suited to it. Here, it is not about which land is best or worst but more about what land qualities are appropriate for specific uses.

6. Socio-Economic and Environment Analysis

By this time, it is crucial to ask how this land-use plan is affecting certain factors. Here an in-depth analysis is conducted to see the impact of the project on the environment and economy. It is also essential to know if it is financially and socially benefitting anyone in the community on a large scale. 

7. Drafting and Implementation

This part is as straightforward as it sounds. After all the information is gathered and the best method to go forward with is chosen, the land use plan is drafted. Moreover, the budget is set, research tools are put in place, and mechanisms to monitor progress are established. 

Once the plan is implemented, there are many on-site tasks to be done by the planning team, some of which can keep changing. However, maintaining communication and being organized is of utmost priority. 

Conclusion

Based on the information above, you can see that program development in land use can be very beneficial as it creates a course of action. 

It is crucial to remember that as the team continues to do their assigned tasks, they will also have to monitor their progress. While objectives and goals have already been established, there is a chance that they might need to be revised. The team has to be prepared to make necessary changes and also understand where they went wrong. And I hope this has been an informative read for anyone looking into land development projects.

See you next time!


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