Providing spatial guidance for the development of human settlement

The Estonian government cabinet initiated the preparation of planning process in counties, which will identify the spatial trends and principles for each county. One of the purposes of preparing these county plans is to guide settlement patterns. To this point, the function was handled in county plans empirically, and the output was ill-defined. There was a need for a systemic, uniform approach in the case of each county. The approach would be predicated on general spatial interests and highlight in the county plan, in an evidence-supported manner, practical output for as to the solution to the problem of directing settlement patterns.

The objective of the study conducted by the EAA 3D Lab was to create practical, working guidelines for county governments to direct development of settlement through preparing county planning documents and to lay down a single set of principles for guiding settlement patterns nationwide.

The study proposed the following measures:

– The boundaries of high-density or conglomerations of high-density areas of settlement should be defined in the county plan.

– The county plan should provide instructions for preparing spatial models in the comprehensive plans.

– Expansions of existing high-density settlements should be planned, with the territory of the high-density settlements indicated in a manner allowing to geographically distinguish the different high-density areas from one another.

A spatial model should be prepared for integrally developing all high-density settlements in the composition of local governments’ comprehensive plans. The spatial model describes the planning space not only through quantitative limits but also the substance of the space. As the primary conditions, the spatial model should:

– Create an integral solution that would have an integral spatial effect and be spatially distinguishable from other high-density settlements for the development of the given high-density settlement.

– Plan the distribution of public, semi-public and non-public space, the proportions of each and the projected spatial structure.

– Plan social and technical infrastructure for situation of key components in the space.

– Include a vision of the principles of the locations of buildings and the density of residential units, in line with the projected number of inhabitants and the provision of service needed by this population.

Project duration: 2014-2015

Customer: Ministry of the Interior

Authored by: Renee Puusepp, Toomas Paaver

The full version of the study is available at:

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Posted by Pille Epner