Summary of a Planning Report
The purpose of Assignment is to familiarize you with the type of document that many
planners must write on a regular basis as part of their jobs. Completing this assignment will help
to acquaint you with some of the vocabulary that planners use, the format and typical content of
planning reports, the means by which a particular planning application is dealt with, and how
planners go about making their recommendations to elected officials (the ultimate decisionmakers when it comes to planning-related matters).
A planning report is a document that succinctly presents information relevant to a proposed
planning and development activity in order that local decision-makers (normally a planning
committee or local municipal council, or both) can make informed decisions. The report
typically includes a synopsis of the proposed activity (such as building a new high-rise hotel or
residential subdivision, expanding a parking lot, or dividing one parcel of land into two), an
assessment of how well the proposal reflects good planning principles and serves to promote the
public good (or at least not harm it), a summary of other stakeholders opinions about the
proposal, and the planners recommendation to council about approving or not approving the
In completing this assignment, you should start off by looking through several different
planning reports on your home municipalitys website or that of another municipality (you can
pick anywhere it doesnt have to be your hometown). Most typically these are found in the
section of a municipal website where the local government posts the Agenda and Minutes of
Council Meetings or other committee meetings. It may take you a bit of time to find them, but
this is intended to be a part of the assignment. It is crucial that you learn to be resourceful as a
planner and that you know where to find necessary information. Therefore, please do not give up
on finding a report after only a few minutes of looking; instead, engage in your learning by
taking the time to search for it properly!
Once you find a planning report (ideally, one that interests you), download it and read it
thoroughly. Look closely at the planners style of writing, his/her tone of voice, and the
vocabulary he/she uses. Consider also the various forms of legislation and commonly accepted
planning principles against which he/she assesses the merits and faults of the proposed planning
activity. Make note of how other stakeholders (if any) have reacted to the proposal, either
positively or negatively. Finally, consider the recommendation that the planner reviewing this
file has given to the planning committee or municipal council. Once you have done this, write a
three-to-five-page paper in which you summarize the planning report in your own words.
The main point here is for you to demonstrate that you understood the planning issue at
hand, the specific proposal, and how it was evaluated by one or more planners.
The paper should be double-spaced, use a 12-point font, and have 1 margins on all sides.