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Benchmarking Case Studies on Planning Laws in Five Countries: Morocco, Netherlands, South Africa, Republic of Korea, and The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Through this international benchmarking case study on planning laws in five countries (Morocco, Netherlands, South Africa, Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), UN-Habitat has assessed the impact of these urban laws on sustainable urban development to provide a spectrum of regulatory models and schemes for the spatial planning legal reform in the Sultanate of Oman. These case studies reveal that planning legal framework should clearly define planning objectives for each level of planning which is part of sound policymaking to articulate the scope of the planning instrument as well as an opportunity to reflect the local needs and challenges. 

Additionally, for smooth implementation, planning laws should promote coordination between institutions at the national level with institutions at the regional and local levels for the planning, implementation, approval and oversight of development projects, plans and documents. Community engagement principles and mandatory requirements for public participation should be provided in planning legislation to provide binding obligations to be followed during the entire spatial planning process. Varied types of land ownership and the continuum of land rights should be promoted by legislation, considering cultural customs, including freehold, leasehold or customary ownership to promote greater security of tenure which will minimize the threat of forced evictions. 

Finally, the possibility to challenge planning decisions both through the appeal and judicial review mechanism should be provided in law including access to fair alternative dispute-resolution systems that allow individuals to avoid the burdens associated with traditional judicial systems, where possible. The publication also contains an Annex showcasing the case study of Catalonia, Spain which delineates how the land classification system, through municipal and detail plans, influence access to urban basic services and infrastructure as well as forming the basis for the grant of a building permit.