It is important to link district plans to regional and state development plans to ensure that rural areas are adequately planned for and to create benefits from rural-urban interlinkages.

Spatial planning can also be a leverage for change. Rather than being a restrictive tool, a plan must be communicated as a dynamic, pro-development tool catering to a greater prosperity of all. A strong ownership of the plan through intense public participation can ensure the convergence of “bottom-up” and “top-down” planning. Participation amongst government institutions is as important as participation of people. Multi-stakeholder forums address needs and interests of all land-related government sectors and ensure a balance of these interests. Finally, a key lesson is that planning always happens in circles. It takes considerable time to set up stakeholder involvement, collect data, implement mechanisms of participation, and build the individual and institutional capacities for successful planning. The planning process can be seen as a consensus building spiral, taking different rounds and repetitions in order to achieve solutions which are beneficial for everyone.

Felix Knopf works as Deputy Project Manager in the Land Use Planning and Management (LUPM) in India, where Nina Gräfenhahn is currently interning with the LUPM.
Contact: felix.knopf(at)


Berdegué, J.A., Rosada, T., Bebbignton, A.