1.4 Functions

In relation to respective planning purposes the three different planning categories will command different functions, although partly integrated in municipal planning:

Land use planning represents for development purposes and protection a kind of public intervention into the building and property market. In urban areas private actors as existing or potential owners of property rights dominate this market. In rural areas, also the main part of the forest and mountainous land is in private ownership, either individual or certain categories of common private ownership. But a substantial part this land in rural areas is under state ownership, administered by a special directorate for state forests and open land, the State Forest Directorate. Although all the legal constructions of various common or shared ownerships are created for the management of land according to the customary rights and the interests of the rural population, tendencies of marketization have been more obvious throughout the latest years.

Among other things it means that the criterion of profitability is gaining ground as the leading principle among the different owners in the management of land properties. It engenders new conditions for the use of land, particularly in rural areas as well as for the allocation of land to development purposes. In consequence, the tension relating to the use of land between the holders of property rights and the public regulation regime in these areas is increasing. Besides, the extension of the public involvement into new or more specified fields of the physical environment like requirements for biodiversity, protection of species and in this regard regulation for the utilization of land is fueling not only the conflict between the property owners versus the planning regime. It gives also a new dimension to the traditional tension between urban and rural areas. In consequence, contradictions prevail between the overall aims for this planning and the different holders of rights, whether property rights or the rights to get involved in the planning process. Normally, there is no possibility for settling all of these conflicts arising from individual or organizational interests connected to civil rights through the planning authority's use of regulatory power in the realm of public law. In this regard, the regulative power based on the Planning and Building Act represent to a lesser degree than earlier a decisive tool for reaching final conclusions. The possibilities for coordinated enforced or voluntary actions between planning as a category of public government and the property market seem to be more and more dependent on formal agreements or other kinds of common declarations based on contractual law arrangements.

Public activity planning is focusing on production of public services and allocation of resources to meet individual and collective needs. Consequently, public finance and budgeting are integral parts of this planning. In municipal planning short term operative budgeting is undertaken annually, as a rule conducted in parallel with the revision of the long term budgets for the coming four years. Although financial issues are important ingredients in this planning, the management of public service provision is highly influenced by the system of individuals' rights for having access to these services and even requirements for obligatory use, either of particular services or as for primary and secondary schools, to utilize a particular location of facilities.

Except for the physical part, the functions of regional development planning are not as clearly delineated as for the two other planning categories. But its relationship towards actors in industry and trade is somehow positively defined partly by common, partly by constitutional rights relating to autonomy in business and financial matters as well as organizational and contractual freedom. Towards these actors planning at any level will operate as a facilitator, for instance in allocating resources for the support of prioritized industries. Moreover, public sectors within the realm of the state and the municipal divisions can develop infrastructure and facilities, and even organize activities and events that create new or improved conditions for regional economic development. These functions will commonly necessitate certain kinds of coordination through regional planning authorities as the county councils. However, this kind of facilitation does not necessary call for preparation of comprehensive planning documents as required in land use or structural planning.