1.5 Functions

Statutory land use planning is a combination of two different kind of tasks. Firstly, there is the task (usually seen as the primary task) of organising future activities, "planning" par excellence. This is sometimes called the "soft side" of statutory land use planning. Secondly, there is the task of being the legal instrument for organising the rights of possession of the environment. This is sometimes called the "hard side" of statutory land use planning, respectively. Balancing between these "sides" has historically been, and still is, a difficulty both in the land use planning legislation and in practical statutory land use planning. This difficulty is also reflected in the way the Land Use and Building Act is formulated. Value-based flexible norms and future-oriented, gradually elaborating planning emphasise wide discretion in the decision-making concerning land use and building. On the other hand, the considerable economical significance of the permits and the legal effects on land owners emphasise the need for norm-bound, exact regulation.