Austin comprehensive plan graphic

What is a Comprehensive Plan?

Before you create a plan, you need to know its purpose and the essential components of the document. This course reviews the basic elements and purpose of a comprehensive plan created through the planning process.

  • 60 Mins
  • Published

This course provides an in-depth teaching of the comprehensive plan: its purpose, content, and organization. As planners know well, the comprehensive plan is an important document for a community for many reasons. It describes past and current conditions and lays a framework for the future of the community. The plan is focused on the physical development or redevelopment of the community and it details the goals, objectives and action steps needed for implementation.

After participants are well-versed in the purpose and basic content of a comprehensive plan, this course dives deeper into the two main ways to organize the content of a comprehensive plan: by process and by function. Whereas functional elements consist of planning topic areas, process elements organize the plan somewhat chronologically, starting with historical and background information and concluding in goals and objectives.

This course details the elements found in each of the methods, including the various tools and techniques commonly used by planners during the comprehensive planning process. Of high importance to the comprehensive planning process, this course explains the difference between the community vision, goals, objectives, policies and implementation strategies. All of these concepts may seem similar, but they each play an important role in guiding local development. By the end of this course, you will have a clear understanding of the most common features of a comprehensive plan and how to organize this important document so that it is best suited to address your community’s needs.