When people think of a comprehensive plan, they generally think about land use, which is the location and character of land development. A good definition of “city” is a geographic area where people locate together to live and work. This implies both concentration (people being near each other) and variety (land being used for different purposes). Also, the idea of a city carries with it mutual responsibilities: how we use our land affects our immediate neighbors and other members of our community. When we interact with planning on a personal level, it is usually through a zoning case – a proposal by a neighboring landowner or developer to build something that we think might have an impact on our own property, health, safety, or quality of life. Indeed, planning and zoning are at their base efforts to balance the freedom to do anything we want with our own property with our responsibilities to be good neighbors.
Of course, planning in the twenty-first century goes well beyond balancing our freedom as individuals and our responsibilities as members of a community in using land. In planokc, we aspire to build in ways that will maintain and improve the quality, health, and sustainability of our city. The Development Guide (Chapter 2 in the PDF document) presents an overall vision for how the city should develop, based on the input of thousands of citizens and extensive analysis. The new concept of Land Use Typology Areas (LUTAs), which address the overall intensity and character of development, helps implement this vision. The LUTA concept recognizes individual land uses (residential, office, commercial, industrial) and establishes guidelines for how they relate to each other. In the process, LUTAs encourage mixing uses, which in turn produces greater efficiency, flexibility, and vitality.
The individual uses within the large typology areas also have different characteristics and location requirements. This chapter, sustainokc, addresses these individual characteristics and the patterns on the land that they produce. The purpose of sustainokc, as the future land use element of the comprehensive plan, is to guide future growth and development with the goal of establishing efficient and highly functional land use patterns within the LUTA framework. This element contains goals and initiatives that direct the location, type, intensity, and form of various development types, respecting the characteristics of individual geographic areas. These initiatives also help direct infrastructure needs and investments, capital improvement planning, and redevelopment focuses.