1.3 Objectives and scope, functionsThe Law on Territorial Planning is the only source which deals with the fundamental functions of territorial planning in Lithuania. First of all, the Law identifies the objectives of planning and the content of plans. At present, in the system of planning in Lithuania, there are no comments on the said Law or literature examining the essence of planning, its philosophy in general.
What does the Law on Territorial Planning tell us about the key functions of planning?
The territorial planning has the following objectives:
- to maintain an equilibrium of the social, economic and ecological development of the State territory;
- to form a 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;
- to form a policy of development of infrastructure, residential areas and other types of activities;
- to protect, use rationally and recover natural resources, valuables of natural and cultural heritage, recreational resources among them;
- to form the nature framework, to maintain an ecological equilibrium of the landscape or to restore it;
- to form land plots, reserve territories for the development of infrastructure of residential areas, other spheres of activity, and different types of land;
- to harmonize the interests of natural and legal persons or their groups, also the interest 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 this territory;
- to promote investments for the social and economic development.
A list of tasks is the question dealing with the meaning of planning "Why is it necessary to accomplish the said objectives?" "How and to which extent can territorial planning contribute to that?" - This is not completely clear, but to be more precise, it is simply a matter of interpretation.
The main functions of planning practically fixed in legal regulations of planning.
The regulative function of planning in Lithuania is obvious. The preparation of all plans is finished by the decision of the authorities. This decision is mandatory for persons working in the corresponding territory. Therefore, the planning is not simply a matter of contemplations, and the activities of the authorities are restricted. There are certain nuances in performing this function. The role of regulating the activities is performed by the detailed and some special plans fairly well - their solutions are (mostly) clear and concrete. It is not hard to carry out them. Master plans performing this role "operate" much harder: the higher the level of the master plan, the more abstractive its solutions. Even if one wants to conform to such character of documents, it sometimes becomes difficult to do it in practice (and to the contrary).
We can say two things about an analytical function of planning in the system of planning in Lithuania. First, the analysis of the present condition (in these latter years - consequences) is mandatory in preparing all plans. Accordingly, the analytical function is obvious at the stage of preparing the plans; however, the document being approved, another function of planning, i.e. the regulative one should be fore grounded. What matters mostly is the fact what the plan forbids and what allows. Practically speaking, the question "why"- is of very little concern.
The system of territorial planning in Lithuania allows planning to act as the co-ordinator of activity. All plans must be co-ordinated with neighbouring institutions and institutions of higher status. The public is encouraged to be engaged in the preparation of plan projects. Counties and municipalities may draw up plans co-operatively. The procedure of the county planning forces even municipalities to do it.
Hence, the way is open for co-ordination and co-operation of activity, yet the question arises "Do we want to use that way practically?" A mandatory procedure of co-ordination is naturally implemented, but co-ordination of activity does not always come up the level of co-operation. One of such examples may be several initiatives of general studies of planning concerning Vilnius and Kaunas counties and municipalities.