1.1 History of the planning system

The first law on territorial planning was adopted in the history of Lithuania before the World War II.
After the World War II, when Lithuania became part of the Soviet Union, planning developed together with the whole culture of the soviet planning system. The key feature of the said culture consisted in the fact that government authorities were virtually the only proactive entity in social life. As there existed only one character in social life, there was one relation, i.e. the relation of authority with itself. As a result, there were no problems concerning the law on planning and the law on planning did not exist. Government authorities saw another way of forming the planning system. The idea was that science had to analyse life and propose rational decisions (in the sphere of planning, as well); those scientifically proved decisions had to be set in the norms and regulations of planning. Planners had only to apply them. The participation of the population in planning seemed to be useless. There was a period of cold war conditions of the world, and the territorial planned structure was of great importance from the point of view of defence. One can draw the conclusion that planning has no meaning to be public: it must be secret, as well.

Having regained independence, a new situation was created in Lithuania. The structure of planning was and is still determined by the general idea of public life prevailing in society. It became known to the masses; however, the traditions of soviet life as well as the conception of democracy and market incorporating the fragments taken from the films and impressions of short trips to the West are enthusiastically negated. There dominated the idea in society that planning died together with the planned (soviet) system, but Lithuania was oriented to the West, where planning existed. Very little was known about it.

The panning system of independent Lithuania was developed through the controversial political and cultural contexts. The process of the planning system formation was rather slow; however, economical life was developing. Hence, there were very few changes in the material environment during the first years of independence. The Law on Territorial Planning was first enacted in 1995. It was a very important turn in the evolution of urban cultural: Lithuania returned to the sphere of activity regulated by law.
The Law on Territorial Planning was the basic law regulating territorial planning for a short period of time. Yet, there were other laws which influenced the planning apart from the said one, e.g. Law on Land, Law on Environmental Protection, and Law on Protection of Immoveable Cultural Properties. They all form the planning system in general.
The Law on Territorial Planning stated that the planning of territories has to be implemented at: the national, the regional, the county and a natural or legal entity level. Planning at a natural or legal entity level, i.e. the law spoke that that a person is empowered to prepare and confirm (agreed with the Government) the territorial plan which is in his possession; it was a unique event in the history of European planning. The Law on Territorial Planning seemed to have emerged because of an intention to consolidate the positions of ownership and private business. Such a provision assumed to implement the said. The Law on Territorial Planning names private persons as organizers and backers of special and detailed plans; however, it does not mention which special and detailed plans he can and which he cannot organize and fund. Thus, there was a possibility for personal interpretations concerning the role of private persons in the system of planning.

Classification of types of territorial planning mentioned in the Law on Territorial Planning adopted in 1995 was peculiar. The Law on Territorial Planning distinguishes the following types of territorial planning: general, special (sectorial), detailed. The special plan was not classified according to the levels (the Law of Territorial Planning identifies only the objects of special planning which may be the following: the land stock of the Republic of Lithuania, including forest land, water resources; social and cultural activities on the territory under planning; system of infrastructure and their parts; protected territories, their systems, natural and immoveable cultural properties. In point of fact, the Law on Territorial Planning opened a possibility for the special planning to be realized at all levels. In contradistinction to the special plan, the Law on Territorial Planning has rather clearly divided master and detailed plans into certain levels.
The Law on Territorial Planning held that the master plan of the territory of the country is prepared at the national level, while the master plan of the territory of the county - at the county level.

A more complicated planning was observed at the local level. On one hand, there seemed to emerge two stages: general planning of the territory of the municipality and its specification; on the other hand, the Law on Territorial Planning mixed such division in a sence. The master plan might have been prepared not only for the whole territory of the municipality, but also for its part , while the detailed plan might have been prepared not only for the part of the municipality, but also for the whole town.
Detailed and special plans have to obey the master plan.

The Law on Territorial Planning has not divided the objectives of territorial planning according to the planning levels or types. The Law wrote, that territorial planning shall have the following objectives:
  1. to balance the development of the territory of the Republic of Lithuania;
  2. to form an adequate, healthy and harmonious environment for living, work and recreation with the aim of creating better living conditions of equal value on the whole territory of Lithuania;
  3. to form a policy of development of residential areas and infrastructure systems;
  4. to reserve (define) territories for the development of infrastructure of residential areas, other spheres of activity, and different types of land;
  5. to protect, use rationally and recover natural resources, natural and cultural heritage, recreational resources among them;
  6. to maintain an ecological equilibrium or to restore it;
  7. to harmonise the interests of natural and legal entities or their groups, also the interests of the public, municipalities and the State regarding the conditions for the use of a territory and land plots also with regard to the type of activity in the territory;
  8. to promote investments for the social and economic development.

According to the Law on Territorial Planning, master and special plans must have been prepared at an adequate level approved by the authority - the law did not designate when they have to be prepared. However, the Law enumerated the cases of preparation of detailed plans. Detailed plans shall be mandatory for construction, reconstruction or demolition and many other cases. Under such requirements of the Law on Territorial Planning, the procedure for preparation of master plans was very slow, while detailed plans were developing extremely fast. One had to prepare lots of detailed plans; however, the Government was unable to fund them all. Financing and organization of preparation of detailed plans was practically the matter of private business. Hence, institutions under the authority had to control detailed plans.
According to the Law on Territorial Planning, approval of detailed plans depended on the level and type. The master plan of the territory of the Republic of Lithuania had to be approved by the Seimas. The master plan of the county had to be approved by the Government. Detailed plans had to be approved by the municipal board.
The order for approval of special plans was not indicated in the Law on Territorial Planning adopted in 1995. This Law charged the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development to establish the said order.

Other laws influenced territorial planning: Law on Land, Law on Environmental Protection, and Law on Protection of Immoveable Cultural Properties.
In Lithuania new tendencies appeared in the system of planning during the first part of the year 2000.
First tendency deals with a clearer demonstration of provisions of regional policy in Lithuania. Lithuania was about to become member of the European Union, and it is understandable that Lithuania sought to integrate harmoniously into the European political culture and regional politics. Although the Law on Territorial Planning virtually incorporated the fundamental principles of regional policy accepted in Europe (e.g. "to balance the development of the territory of Lithuania ") and indicated certain instruments (the master plan of the territory of Lithuania, master plans of counties), when preparing them it is mandatory to perform an adequate analysis of the existent economic, social and other conditions, it was agreed to consider the country resolution and represent the issues of regional policy more clearly. Hence, the purport was not to develop the fundamentals of regional policy which had already been included in the law on territorial planning, but to create a new law on the regional policy. In 2002 such a separate Law on Regional Development, created especially for regulating the regional development, was adopted.

Planning has equally been regulated by two laws at the national and regional levels since then. Respectively, there exist two planning processes and two structures of planning documents corresponding to the said processes. The Law on Territorial Planning requires preparing the General Plan of the Territory of the Republic of Lithuania , while the Law on Regional Development requires drafting the National plan of regional development. The Law on Territorial Planning requires preparing the master plan of the territory of the county , while the Law on Regional Development requires drafting the plan of regional development.
The above-mentioned two streams of planning differ mainly in the following: the planning of regional development manifests itself much less on the territorial dimension than the planning in the light of the Law on Territorial Planning. Plans of regional development (e.g. The Plan on the Development of Vilnius County (Region) 2003-2007) possess some territorial features, i.e. they survey the condition of municipalities of the county, and in charts describe what and in which municipality is necessary to do. These plans do not often analyse smaller territorial units than a municipality . Plans of regional development do not present any maps of actions or territorial schemes.
As the Law on Territorial Planning shall analyse the economic and social situations in compliance with the law, both planning streams duplicate one another in this part. On the other hand, regional plans (emphasizing spiritual side of the Law on Regional Development) have a very significant element which is not often present in the territorial plans according to the Law on Territorial Planning. This is a prevision of financing resources and the need of funds.

An endeavour to combine future visions with financing flows, to integrate the planning (sectorial and inter-sectorial, territorial and non-territorial) which is performed in various countries into one whole, as well as to promote it generally in those sectors which passively treated the planning is considered to be the second tendency highlighted in the system of planning in Lithuania in the year 2000. The aforesaid calculation of the need of funds in the plans of regional development is one of the spheres of manifestation of the above-mentioned tendency. The third stream of planning -"strategic planning" appeared in the year 2000. In Lithuania "strategic planning" is not the same as territorial planning; it is not the same as planning of regional development, as well.

In Lithuanian government documents "strategic planning" appeared in 1999 as an element of internal work of the Government which apparently may not have touched upon territorial planning then. After several years the conception of "strategic planning" became more clearly defined; moreover, it encompassed territorial planning to some extent, as well. At the beginning "strategic planning" became evident in the Government work, then in the activities of municipalities.
In 1999 the Government of the Republic of Lithuania by Resolution No. 434 approved the Strategic Planning Committee of the Government of Lithuania and provisions of its activities. Primarily, the Strategic Planning Committee of the Government of Lithuania was created as a deliberative body of the Government in preparing the state budget. It was indicated in the provisions of the activities of the Committee that the Committee shall submit proposals with respect to more comprehensive issues, i.e. strategies and priorities of the executive policy of the Government.
A new Government resolution adopted in the year 2000 counter changed the stresses. Now the statement is that the Committee shall submit proposals concerning the strategy of the Government executive policy, its strategic aims, priorities and their implementation, and only then the Committee shall submit proposals regarding budget formation and its execution.

In 2002 the Government approved a new document - Strategic Planning Methodology . It deals with a new issue in principle: it focuses particularly on the system of all new acts of planning of institutions of local authorities and the Government, but does not discuss the activities of the Government deliberative body. Strategic Planning Methodology was modified in 2004; however, general features have left the same.
In comparison to the Law on Territorial Planning, a new element in "Strategic Planning Methodology" was that public administration institutions were charged to create the tasks for themselves, but not to prepare regulations on what they govern. "Strategic Planning Methodology" claims that action plans of authorized institutions (strategic plans) have to be confirmed by real financing possibilities. It also maintains that the results of strategic plans have to be sought and given an account of. Here, financing possibilities are discussed more profoundly than in plans of regional development. The layout of resources, control of the implementation of drafts in "strategic planning" is considered to be of paramount importance. Other issues are treated as secondary matter.
As there were no assurances of carrying out the plans of financing in documents of territorial planning of Lithuania, the tendency of integrating drafts and financing planning, which manifested itself in the streams of regional development and strategic planning, might have influenced the culture of territorial planning more significantly, but it did not occur.

The Law on Regional Development has very little spoken about territorial plans. It states that it is essential to evaluate territorial planning documents in preparing plans of regional development. "Strategic Planning Methodology" discusses territorial planning less than the Law on Regional Development does. The truth is that "Methodology" in its own scheme of planning works indicates the General Plan of the Territory of the Republic of Lithuania; however, it does not speak about any other territorial planning documents. Moreover, it does not mention any other laws regulating planning and does not analyse any relations of "Methodology" with the laws.
Hence, every planning jurisdiction has a tendency to work for itself: jurisdiction of territorial planning is inclined to plan territories; jurisdiction of regional development is characterized by the tendency to discuss social and economic issues of municipalities, while jurisdiction of strategic planning concentrates particularly on expenditure planning.

From the legal point of view, this situation was rectified by amendments of the Law on Territorial Planning adopted in 2004. At present the Law on Territorial Planning states that preparation of territorial planning documents must be co-ordinated with strategic planning documents drafted for the same territory and sphere of activity. Strategic planning documents shall be drafted before the beginning of territorial planning process or may be drafted during the preparation of territorial planning documents. The programmes of implementation of decisions are prepared to ensure the implementation of decisions on territorial planning documents.
Strategic planning is approaching territorial planning not only on the legal, but also on the practice bases. The strategic plan of Vilnius town 2002-2011 does not only present a list of town projects or calculate the need of funds, but also demonstrates in many schemes what changes and constructions are determined by those projects. It would appear that one more step and strategic together with territorial planning will be merged into one planning ‘stream'; however, it has not occurred yet. At present there exist three planning streams in Lithuania which are co-ordinated between each other. Territorial planning possesses more territorial characteristics than the rest two. Further discussion will focus mainly on territorial planning. (The process of regional development planning is not detailed)