Public vs. Private Sector in Urban Planning

Many people question the difference between the public and the private sector in urban planning. Although there are many differences, in some instances, the goals of each industry are similar. In some cases, both sectors strive to attain the same outcomes, but each takes a different approach. 

The private sector is run by individuals and companies. The government and the state have no control over the private sector. The main motive of the private sector is to gain profit along with achieving their mission statement. The private sector's planning process happens at a quicker pace compared to that of the public sector. Also, the final decision about what plans get developed and how it gets developed most of the time depends on the private sector's individual owners. The public can include their own opinion, but in many cases, they don't play a part in the decision-making process. The private sector plays a vital role in planning since their projects are finalized at a faster pace.  

The public sector is run by the government. They usually have a limited budget to work with; therefore, it takes time to finalize the newer project developments. Let alone, they have to propose their projects and get the approval of these projects. The public sector focuses more on the involvement of the public by hosting community meetings and board meetings where the community can voice their opinions on the project proposals. Since the public sector has to endure a long process to attain the final project to be developed, the private sector is preferred when it comes to getting projects developed quickly. 

Both the public and the private sector play an essential role in planning. They both develop projects that are, in most cases, necessary to create a sustainable community. For the most part, both sectors in urban planning strive to meet the needs of the community. Not to mention, to do so, they also partner with each other to create these projects together with the help of one another. 

Linovski, Orly. “Shifting Agendas: Private Consultants and Public Planning Policy.” Urban Affairs Forum, 27 June 2018,

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