Environmental Planning & Decision Making: Definition & Components

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  • 0:05 The Environment
  • 0:51 Environmental Planning…
  • 3:00 Examples of…
  • 4:21 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Environmental planning and decision making take into consideration the needs of society and the natural environment when developing an area. Learn how environmental planning and decision making are carried out to create sustainable outcomes.

The Environment

You've probably heard the saying, 'If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.' This is true for any personal goal you are trying to reach, whether it be planning your exercise routine so you can finish your first 5K race or planning your schedule so you have enough time to study for, and ace, your college exam.

Planning is also important when it comes to protecting the environment, so it is sustainable for generations to come. However, environmental planning and decision making have many considerations because of the complexities of nature and the varying needs and desires of society. In this lesson, we will explore the different aspects and considerations that must go into environmental planning and environmental decision making.

Environmental Planning and Components

Environmental planning is the process of evaluating how social, political, economic and governing factors affect the natural environment when considering development. The goal of environmental planning is to come up with a win-win situation for society and the environment. With successful environmental planning, society wins by being able to use the area in productive ways, and the environment wins by being able to sustain itself for future generations.

There are three components of environmental planning that must be considered. First, is the current status of the natural environment. This component will take into consideration the existing state of the area to be developed. This may include evaluating the existing uses, features and natural resources of the land, as well as existing infrastructure and buildings.

The second component of environmental planning is vision. This involves setting goals and measurable objectives and takes into consideration the rules, regulations, laws and needs of society. The third component is implementation. This involves putting the vision into action and considers the materials, personnel and technology that may be needed to carry out the plan.

Environmental planning is a complex study because it not only has to consider the complexities of the natural environment but also the needs and desires of humans. Therefore, environmental planners need to understand the human decision-making process to best manage the relationship between humans and the environment.

Environmental decision making can be defined as the process of evaluating the ways humans go about making choices that impact the natural environment. How individuals or groups decide to use energy, natural resources and even outdoor recreational areas are all part of the planning process. So, we see that environmental planning and decision making go hand-in-hand, and because human needs and desires change over time, the process must constantly evolve.

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