The book provides a “comprehensive methodology” toward preparation of Local Area Plans (LAPs) in the Indian context. The planning approach in LAP is opposed to the conventional master planning method. The conventional top-to-bottom approach followed in planning is unrealistic in nature as it does not respond to the ground realities of spatial, economic, socio cultural, environmental and other layers of planning. As a result the city sees social and physical pathologies of great magnitudes.
Urban issues like lack of housing for poor, lack of gender sensitivity in planning, lopsided focuses on development perspectives and visions, environmental hazards, drastic demographic shifts, rise in illegal activities and so on are only few of the many problems which arise out of a master planning methodology which is prepared in isolation. On the other hand, a Local Area Plan not only responds to the context but also involves the local people in the planning process, including its timely and lawful implementation and execution.
The LAP aims to achieve a holistic vision for the city keeping the focus on the “people” and not the city as a space. The new bottom-to-top approach in planning holistically delves into the intangible aspects of a human settlement which have rarely been used in spatial planning so far. The book explains such techniques, tools and methodologies that can be used for quantifying the social components of a human settlement which are most important in spatial planning and often not responded to in master plans or regional plans.