I am currently working for a developing country's national planning authority to develop Guidelines for Strategic Regional Planning.
The background is that this particular country has a very centralized planning system. All but detailed urban plans are done by the national authority, which since 2007 has employed consulting companies to do the work, based on a standardized Terms Of Reference. They are currently working on 90+ cities and towns.
One issue that has arisen immediately is that every city is being planned in isolation - totally independent of every other city. Every city is therefore competing (through its plan) for scarce national resources, and there is no attempt to rationalize urban development by identifying relative economic advantages.
What is therefore being asked for is strategic regional plans that cover an entire province. These provinces are not huge, but encompass probably the equivalent of 8-15 average American counties in size. The regional plan is meant to provide a framework for the urban plans, as well as guide public sector investments in province-wide social and other economic infrastructure. To avoid possible confusion, we are not talking about urban agglomerations, but urban centers that are usually physically very separate. There are urban agglomerations in the country, but although they must be covered in the Guidelines, the specific agglomeration issues are not the focus.
At the same time, the plan should be promotional and therefore identify potential for private sector investment. A requirement is that it should be done in a participatory manner, but at this scale the participation will be handled primarily through institutional representations (associations, NGOs and so on).
Since these plans will also be done by consulting companies, none of whom have ever done such plans before, the Guidelines will be built on a basic ToR, backed up with extensive methodological guidance.So far I have quite a bit of material, and the ToR is complete in it's most basic form. The Guidelines have to be done within three person weeks, and by 30th June at the latest!
What I'm asking the Cyburbia community for is links to any sites where I can get additional tips on tools and methods for this type of planning. What is most important to get right, I believe, is the link between the regional plan and individual urban plans. Each provincial strategic regional plan needs to specify a variety of potentials and possibly restrictions and issues to be addressed in each urban plan within its jurisdiction.
It would be interesting to have a wider discussion on the wider issues involved here, and I'm willing to do that, but I'd like those links to methodological sources most of all.
With thanks in advance.