Costs in planning, both direct costs via investments and indirect via maintenance, must be considered in order to make economically wise decisions in planning.
Planning does have effects on the municipal economy. New infrastructure requires investments and the maintenance of the old infrastructure also requires funding. The decisions made in planning create a structure that is permanent, for at least decades, hopefully for centuries. When such decisions are made, the long term maintenance of the infrastructure should be considered.
The direct investment costs, including buying the land for planning, creating the municipal engineering (e.g. the length of the pipelines for fresh or waste water, central heating), public transport etc., can be high. The soil type, presence of the bedrock, kind of landscape can have a high impact when building the new infrastructure. However, the costs in maintenance of networks and services dominate in the overall costs in planning. Also, if the planning process has not succeeded to take all the relevant aspects into account, the indirect costs can be high. Examples include traffic accidents, losses of cultural or historical landscape, as well as a decrease in the value of the land.
The biggest share of investment costs is from the organizing of the services and networks (electricity, heating, water (both fresh and waste), road, IT etc.). The basic services must be guaranteed in terms of the educational and social sector. Services like kindergarten, schools, home assistance services, and health services may not be required at the moment the planning process starts, but will eventually create a large share on the municipals costs for the new area. Additionally, while new structures have rather high investment costs, the maintenance in long term also requires funding. If the new areas are built inside the existing infrastructure or at least in connection with existing, efficiently used infrastructure, it is less costly for the municipal economy in the long term.
The most fundamental difference between the complementary and decentralized planning is the timing of the costs. While in the complementary building the investment costs for the municipal are high, the maintenance costs in the long term are lower. This is due to the possibility of using the already existing municipal services. However, in the decentralized planning the costs are delayed: in the beginning, when the services are required there are not enough inhabitants to fill the minimum capacity of e.g. school. In such cases, the municipal must then organize the transport to areas with existing schools. Finally, when the planning starts in the decentralized area, it may already be too late – the building costs for the infrastructure will become extremely high and a functioning spatial structure may not even be possible to create, since the area has been built without planning.
When discussing costs in planning, other stakeholders should also be considered. Land owners, potential new inhabitants, entrepreneurs and the state have also financial interests in planning. New working areas and commercial centres create new jobs and income for the municipal. However, if they are not planned carefully, they can lead to a more dispersed urban structure and eventually create more costs for the municipality.
See also other categories in planning for climate change mitigation and adaptation:
» Local climate and the future climate scenarios
» Compact and diverse urban structure
» Sustainable transportation
» Energy efficiency
» Comfortable and healthy environment
» Public participation and stakeholder involvement
» Strategic planning