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12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4

Objectives Introduction General Policy Considerations for Disaster Management Issues at the National, Regional and Local Levels Zoning Controls
12.4.1 12.4.2 12.4.3 12.4.4 12.4.5 12.4.6 12.5.1 Land Use Macro Zoning Land Use Micro Zoning Sub-division regulations Building or Location I-'erniits Open Space Controls Building Codes Implications in Town Planning

12.5 Location of Activities and Land-Use 12.6 Application of Remote Sensing and GIs 12.7 LetUsSumUp 12.8 Key Words 12.9 References and Further Readings s Check Your Progress Exercises 12.10 ~ h s w e rto

After studying this Unit, you sl~ould be able to: understand the relationsllip between land-use zon'ing and disasters; know how faulty allocations of land-use can ofteq become the cause of disasters;both man-made and natural; and describe how judicious land-use zoning can help not only in'jdisaster mitigation, but also in disaster relief operations.

The rapid growth and spread of population in harardous areas is a matter of increasing concern because it leads to mounting costs of disasters in terms of lives lost and damage to property and investments. Besides, the high residential in hazardous areas. The risk is further increased by densities add to the problen~s the drama& increase in infrastructural investments and development assets that get destroyed by disasters. There land-use has to be decided keeping in view the vulnerability to disasters. In other words, land-uselzoning has t~ be done so that different land zones can be earmarked for major activities in accordance with the risks that they are likely to withstand. Land-use zoning for disaster prevention and mitigation may act as a spur to comprehensive land-use planning, morerso is disaster prone regions. The major elements of land-use planning may be summarized as follow: i) Land-use policies and plans setting out the social, "economic and environmental of comprel~ensiveland development and their stages of development;

i i ) Land ownership and land tenure patterns identif'ying the legal, social and economic basis of ownership and tenure;

Land-Usc Zoning for Disaster Management

iii) Land values and prices, reflecting the forces of supply and demand for land; and iv) Land-use controls which may be subdivided into three broad categories, i.e., legal, fiscal and directive.



Land-use policy is only one of the possible strategies to mitigate disaster, and all measures must be responsive to the economic and-social resource balance of the region. The major concerns of national or regional policy formulation deal mainly with economic and social goals but with environmental goals becoming increasingly important. Regional policies emphasize local considerations and correspondingly appropriate physical planning and hence are particularly relevant for disaster management. Regional policies may include objectives such as a balance between various areas in the region by directing econon~icdevelopment into backward areas, or the ericourage~nent of urban development to allow for social mobility and progress necessa~y for industrial activity.' Major co~nponents of regional policies include the selection of areas designated for transport networks, industry, agriculture, and urban growth. The area aspects of regional planning are a vital link to national planning efforts and constitute a basic means of implementing disaster prevention policies. Thus, guiding the location of activities within a region may not only serve social, economic and environmental goals but may also serve as a means of mitigating disasters leading to very significant benefits in the medium to long-term. Local policies (including urban policies) are extremely important in the total d e specific area distribution of human activities. planning process, for these g ~ ~ i the It is here that investments are made and the development of human settlements take place. and it is here that specific llazard mitigation programmes are really required. India being a developing count~y,most areas iinder developmental planning and land-use is decided/assigned accordingly. But the requirements of disaster mitigation tend to receive lower priority because of the overriding considerations of expediency. Tlle apparent clash of interest between development and disaster management arises because of the following considerations: i) The pressures for development are frequently so overwhelming that disaster risk is often overlooked in the hope of sI101.t-term gains, and little weight is likely to be given to disaster prevention in land-use policies.


Traditional systems'of land-use have over a long period adjusted to periodic disasters; but the pace of develop~nent over the last few decades has upset the natural socio-economic modes of adjustment. This pace is not likely to slow down, i t least, in the foreseeable future.

iii) Traditional and i~lter~nediate indigenous econo~nic systems are highly sensitive to regulation and the economic costs (measured by employment or employment growth losses) or uprooting, relocating, or i@i6iting development . qan be' very high in labwr intensve employment s&&fs. This llampers landuse zoning ' to take*care,~fdisastqr mitigation, .

iv) Growth of populalion and Inntl ~Iior.tagesliave tended to make tlie poor pool-cr and sli~l'lto marginal lancl. s ~ ~ cas l i ravines, steep slopes, low flood plains or even siverbccls. This ma~ginalland is prone to floods, landslides or ot[ier adverse natural phenomena.


In tlie Sormulation of land use ~policics in a broad rra~neworltat ~iatiorialand regional levels, tlie rollowing issues have bcen founel to be important in the context of disaster management. Tlie cliscussion here is with reference to floods, wliicli are tlic mosl li.cqucnt natural disaster.

i) Tlic conflict between irrigat~onand tloocling provides a basic dilernrna for gains of extra agricultural produce through irrigation planners. Some of' ~Iic can be legitilnatcly claimecl to be preferable to tlie less tangible henefits of extra flood manageme~~t and niitigation measures since reservoirs for irrigation water ~hviouslynced to be I q t li~ll.whereas for flood prevention tlie need is for empty reservoi~.~ to absorb floods when they come. In our country, most of tlie big reservoirs are for irrigation and not lor flood control. Orily tlie ~cservoirs of tlie Dnmoclal. Valley Corporation cater to food control in addition to i r ~ igdtion. ii) Floods provide si It for increasing soil re12ility, while botli floocl prevention and irrigalio~ican either eliminate tlie silting or limit it to well-defined areas. Large nu~iibersol'small t'armcrs can lose tlieir Iiveliliood 01-have their illcome reduced if tlieir interesls are not talten into account in the new plans. iii) Tlie relation between flooclplain management and watershed area management has still not been suficicntly clarified; lio\vevcr, it is generally agreed that ~lncontrolleddcforcstation and shifting agricultural cultivation can cause soil . erosion, lower water Iioldirig capacity of tlic lalid and increased risk of flooding through silting or riverbeds. iv) Rapid urbanisation has producccl large concentrations of urban squatters who liave by ancl large settlecl on unoccupied land (boll1 p ~ ~ b l and i c private) in ~~nattractive or undesirable locat~ons,inclucl~ngmarshes and other low-lying lalid exposed to periodic: or seasonal flooding, but where they are close to aritl s difficult employment oppot-[unitiesand services. 01ieof tlie most s e r i o ~ ~ to provide safe and suitable urban challenges to land-use policics is tlic ~ieecl land for all segments of thc population, including the lowest income groups \vho call least afrortl tlie disr~~ption"!qought about by having to live in areas o disasters. constantly subject L Tlie relocation of squatter settlements from low lying flood-prone areas is often hampered by the high cost of suitable alternative locations, and the extremely high per capita costs of new infrastructure and services, for which subsidies directed at Llie lowest income groups are rare because of unbalanced Iiousing policies and tlie low capacity of loan repayrner~tamong this segment oftlie population. FUI-tliermore, as mentioned above the lowest income groups tend to congregate as near as possible to tlieir sources of employment, whatever tlie risk. In sum, nothing sliort of comprehensive policies atid prograliimes can effectively cope with problems of disaster prevention in urban clevelopment. The comprehensiveness of a policy framework is apparent where land-use policies are supported by corresponding social and economic policies. Thus, tlie reservation of new urban lalid for housing, especially where low income

families are concerned, should be linlced to transport and employment facilities, education ancl other social services. The modes of investment in, and development of, new urban lands are complex. The most feasible approach is one that ~~~iclertalies the clevelopment of infrastructu~-e services ancl Iiousing in progrcssivc pliases, employing wherever possible popular pa~ticipation techniques to rcduce capital costs by investing tlie l a b o ~ ~ and r savings of tlie intc~.estcdpopulation itself. One may cite core-housing. sites and services, and the creation of small savings and loan societies or co-operative as components of tlie total land development process;

Land-Use Zoning for Disaster Managcrnent

With increasing i~rban and industrial development resulting in drainage congestion, tlie risli of floocling increases. On Ilie other hand alternatibe urban clevelopment strategies aimccl at clecentralisation and the creation of secondary u~ban cc11t1.c~ arc iicqucnlly hcyoncl thc available resources.

vi) In virlnerable towris and villages, the land-use planning process is confronted with many of tlic same social arid econoriiic dilen>masthat can be found in Ia~ncl-use plarlning for floods and otliel- liazards. The most vulnerable areas are the portions wit11 tlie oldcst housing. The poor- generally live in thc older ancl most crowded sectors. The economic and social cost of uprooting, clisturbing ancl resettling this population may inliibit employment and inco~ne growtli alid also disturb tlic delicately balanced traditional social system especially in tlie villages. Tlii~s,tlie rezoning o r land in tlie olcler poorly built or higli-risk pol-lions of towns can have unfavourable incomc distribution cffects. Noncllielcss. preventive measurcs are required, but should be closely Iiarmoniscd with both land use ancl Iiousing policies clesigned to respond to the problcm ol'social and economic development.
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Chcclt Your Progress 1


i) Use tlic space given below for your answers. ii) Check your answers with those given at the end of this 1Jnit.

Why arc land-usc policy considerations rele\lant for disaster management i n illc corltest ol'development?


What issues at the national and regional level play an i~nportantrole in land-use zoning for disaster management?

Zoning and sub-division controls are two means by which government can regulate and control both land use pattern and development in both rural and urban areas. Legal controls are increasingly used to regulate the activities of the private sector by placing location restrictions and rni~ii~iii~~ii standards on specific types of land uses and activities. 'These controls can take tlie following forms:

12.4.1 Land Use Macro Zorli~~g

Macro zoning is the establishn~ent of land use planning zones at regional levels. Such zones gelierally establish agricultural, urban, industrial and recreational uses incorporating existing and future patterlis. Specitic uses a1.e allowed in designated areas, altliougli macro-zoning plans are lcvised at appropriate intervals to take into account changes and growth. Such zoning is an efficient tool to control the over-all location of various human activities. Macro zoning has a broad firnction in the seduction of risk since hazardous areas can be zoned permanently for agricultural or recrcational uses, ~ni~ii~nizing as far as possible urban or sen~i-urban concentrations of population or ind~~stry. Nati~ral hazard macro-zoning is a technique of somewhat longer staliding and more general application, but has been of limited use for detailed land-use planning, since it: applies natul.al hazard napp pi rig to the national and regional scales only. However, the demarcation of a country or 'regions into broad areas of natual hazard is ~rsefulfor outlining general national policies in disaster.prevention and mitigation. As an example, land use planning with respect to flood plains can 'have two objectives: i) To bring about the most effective beneficial use of tlie flood plain with least pbssible risks, consistctit with over-all community development; and

ii) To promote the healtla and safety of the present occupants of land prone to flooding.
During the forniulation of the land use plan, certain parts of the flood plains can be studied in the following format. i) If residential and other public interest uses are to be permitted in tlie floodway fringe area, it shoi~ld be only ,'after adequate safeguards in tlae form of construction desigri criteria, which should be enforced to render structures safe from floods. ii) Unless economic and location factors greatly over-balance the risk of potential flood damage, industrial development in flood hazard areas slioi~ldbe limited to a certain type of industry to areas beyond the limits of the floodway (e.g., pulp and textile mills, chemical and metal processi~igplants which require large quantities of water and discharge great amount of effluent). iii) Site needs for wholesale and distribution uses, which require the stocking of large quantities of goods particularly susceptible to water, are flexible enough that locations free from flooding can ~~sually be found. iv) Flood plain land can be left as natural parks or developed as golf courses, picnic spots and stadium areas. An evaluation of land use must include an analysis of public works and improvements and their relation to the local flood problem. The planning of public improvements, sucll as water and sewage treatment plants, transportation facilities and public buildings require the same type of consideration that is accorded tc private developme!lt with respect to floading.

12.4.2 Land Use Micro Zcxing


Land-Use Zoning for Disaster Management

Micro zoning is the detailed preparation of land use maps by local bodies and public authorities, particularly in urban settlements, fixing speciric land - uses for each site (such as residential, educational, colnlnercial, etc.). Micro zoning also details the density of land uses at pal-ticular sites. Furthermore, micro zoning establishes a detailed land use pattern within ,the natural hazard macro-zoning framework. From the point of disaster prevention, micro zoning is a basic tool which relates natural hazard assessment to land-use planning. Detailed risk analysis for given locations assists in determining both land-use and building criteria. It can be said as a general rule, that whereas natural hazard macro-zoning maps are based on tlie broad geological and geographical configuration of a given region coupled to records of past hazard frequency and magnitude, natural Iiazard micro-zoning is essentially a detailed study of the probability of natural hazards in a given site as determined principally by the detailed stucly of sub-soil conditions. Naturally, hazard zoning identifies not only probable intensities but also probable return periods or frequency. Micro-natural hazard niapping allows tlie land-usc planner to employ quantitative as well as cli~alitative criteria for establishing land use z o ~ i n g guidelines. Similarly, it enables tlie civil engineer to formulate Inore precisely, than wo~ildotherwise be possible, building codes for public worlts, housing, industry, education and health facilities and transport networl<s.

12.4.3 Su b-division Regulatioi~s

Sub-division regulations, like zoning, provide public control over the development of land. The sub-division regulation is a widely used tool that seeks to ensure tlie proper development of ~lnusedland. This is accomplished through approval of plans by the designated government authority where the criteria for approval cstablisli restriction governing the exact way land is subdivided and tlie provision ~nadeI'or p~11)lic facilities and infrastructure. Tlie developer is proliibited from commencing development until tlie authorized government agency approves a niap of the proposed design of the sub-division.

12.4.4 Building or Loeation Permits

Building and location permits provide planncrs and government oficials with an opportunity to exercise ~nicro-controlsover development. A building permit can be ilsecl not only to regulate tlie type of land use activity and the structure it occupies but also enables the authorities to control employment opport~~llities tllereby inllilencing patterns of development. Tlie point here is that land use controls SI~OLIICI not be limited to those areas tliat experience flodding, but sliould be expanded to include areas tliat ]nay in fact contribute the hazard potential e.g. by blocking drainage.

12.4.5 Open space Controls

Land use policies that regulate the location of agriculture or green area have a direct impact on the provision of open spaces in the total planning area w d vice-versa. Agricultural lands, parks and otlier types of open spaces can play an ilnportant role in ilnproving tlle environment and also mitigating Llie effect of ;iatural disasters. ,Not only do open space lielp reduce capital losses, but equally important, they serve to limit tlie ldss bf life because of their tendency to generate minimum human activity. I-Iowever, it should be noted that open space does not inlply the total non-use of land. Clearly, such areas may be used to satisfy a wide variety of social and cconomic needs. Thus, open spaces may serve to prevent or mitigate disasters while providing some econol~!ic1.e~1u.n~ as wcll.

Preparedness and Mitigation

12.4.6 Building Codes

Any discussion of disaster prevention and mitigation must consider not only "where" but "how" a particular building is built, and this leads to the regulatory instrument of building codes. Building codes or building by-laws in the present context establisli minimun~ standards of design, constructio~i and materials in order to avoid struct~~ral collapse under conditions of severe pllysical stress caused by extreme natural phenomena to which that land might be vulnerable. Although building codes are extremely important for mitigating the effects of natural disasters, tliey should not be considered as separate from land use controls, especially zoning. The co-ordination of land use controls and building codes is one of tlie most effective local level devices for disaster prevention and mitigation. Since building codes are not retroactive, tlie use of performance standards for the repair or rehabilitation of older structures could serve as a supplementary means of improving tlie safety of existing structures.


As a basic principle, major functional land uses sliould be segregated and not mixed as far as possible. Mixing of land uses, especially between residential and Iiigli-risk industrial, sliould be avoided. All sucli industrial plants and storage areas of explosive atid combustible ~iiaterial-ands~~bstances slio~~ld be separated from of green belt. residential development by a syste~ii In order to diminish tlie rislc of total paralysis of productive or administrative activities i n disaster prone areas, tlie industrial and business zone sliould be decenlralised and located in more than one centre in tlie city. ltey supply facilities, and All important installations like centres of commu~iication, even Iiistorical lnonu~nents and cultural landmarks require special attention in case of a catastrophe. These elements sliould be located in such way that tliey are well accessible and well protected. Density of developnient in a disaster-prone area should be Itept as low as possible. In case of a conflict due to economic criteria (cost of land a~iclinfrastructure) or with functional demand (accessibility or proximity) the compromise, if unavoidable, should be a fi~nction of tlie level of risk in the area, building technology atid material, and lieiglit of buildings and cost of infrastructure.

12.5.1 Implications in Town Planning

Urban planning is a state responsibility and as s~iclitlie plans are prepared under tlie respective Town and Country Planning Acts. Such acts slio~~ld be amended to include disaster mitigation as an integral coinponent of a master plan. Similarly, techniques of plan preparation sliould include risk mapping and vulnerability analysis to identify tlie extent and nature of vulnerability. A modification of steps in master plan preparation would also be ~sequired.Instead of a detailed zonal plan being prepared after tlie overall lalid use plan, a broad zonal structural plan 6ased upon risk zones identified should be prepared be for^ the overall land use plan. This will reduce tlie time lag between master plan and zonal plan preparation. Existing develop~nent in each zone can be accomlnodated and modified to suit the risk factor of any zone.

a li~~tlier follow-up, building codes need not be i~niforrnin each zone. Higlil.isI< zones, wliicli are consequently Illore vulnerable, should have lower Floor Area Ratio (FAR), wider set baclcs, more open spaces, ancl restriction on liigli rise develop~iient. Use o r builcling materials that increases structural safety should be mandalory in liigli-risk areas. The rear set back, in case of industrial plots, should be kept larger than the front sct baclc to prevent factories from being built baclc to bacl<which rcd~iccs availability of open spaces for rescue operations.

Land-Use Zoning for Disaster Mnnngement


'I'lie data supplied by cart11 observation satellites can often provide information such as maps and images wliicli are usefill at scales 1 :500,000 or better. Maps of watersheds, river and stream patterns and coastal plains can be produced and gcograpliical maps completed. They can also be used to show inhabited setilc~nents whicli are of the order of 1 Ian or larger in dimension. Satellite observations of tlie earth can be used to map flood plains and delineate areas of potcntial floocl impact. Observations by the satellite (e.g., Indian Remote arid revisit capability of Sensing Satellite IRS-IC with a spatial revolution of 5.8111 5 days) can provide information on surface cover changes, which when processed using Geographic Information Systems (GIs) can lielp in producing a judicious land use map and also lielp in assessing tlie impact of various alternative land use plans. Satellite data can also provide maps of destruction caused by a disaster (flood, eartIiqual\e. drought, even pests and cliseases). As G1S is a computerized and studied. system, tlic maps in G1S can be easily and quickly ~nanipulated

Note: i) Use the pace given below for your answers. ii) Check your answers with those given at the cnd of this Unit.

1 ) Explain the various components of zoning control as a tool for disaster management.

2) Write the steps you would follow in preparing a town plan keeping disaster management as a top priority.

Preparedness and Mitigation


In this unit we have learnt how impo~lantland use planning and zoning regulatio~~s are in the context of disasters. Careful land-use zoning can prevent disasters, and also reduces the extent of damage both to lives and property. We also saw'tlla, with varying sub-division regulations, relief operations can also be made smooth and quick.

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Land Use

The observed (or planned) dominant activity that occurs at a particular location at the scale of a region or a city. Locally adopted laws governing the process of converting Regulations L I I I L I ~land ~ ~ into building sites. Together ~ ' i t l lzoning, these regulations approve or disapprove permissions to make improvements or to divide and sell a developer's land based ilpon development standards set folth i l l the sub-division regulations. Zoning provides for the divisign of an area into zones by categories of allowed and/or prohibited land uses, such as industrial zone, residential zone or greenbelt zone. Zoning is also done according to the perceived risk of disasters on the basis of vulnerability.





Ansari, Jamal H., 1997, Fluodr: Con Lurid Use Planning Help? Journal of the Institute of Town Planners, India, Vol. 16, No. 1 (171), .Iuly, 1997, New Delhi, pp. 4-6.

Kulshrestha, S.I<., 1997, Hzmzm Settlenzents in Dis~~,rter-Prone Areus: Plunning, Pri17crple,surrd Design Cbnsiderutiuns, in Spatio-Economic Dcvelopment Record, Vol. 4, No. 1 , Jan-Feb 1997, New Delhi, pp. 23-30. Mahavir, 1982, Druinuge Churacterislic.~ of an Area CIS LI Delemintmt o f Urbu?~ Development, Unpublished MSc. Thesis, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. Srinivasan, Sum itra; 1993, Disnster Mitigation and Urbun Plcmnir~g:Indzislriul Areas cfDelhi, ~n~ublisl;ed Thesis, School of Planning and Architect~~re, New Delhi. United Nations, 1984, Dis~~ster Preventioli and Mitigutiori; A Canzpendiunz oj Current Knowledge, Vol. 5, Land Use Aspects; Office of the Unitecl Nations Disaster Relief Co-ordinator (UNDRO), Geneva, United Nations, New York. United Nations, 1984, Disaster Prevention and Mitigation: A Corrzpsrrdizltn uf Czlrrerzf Knowledge, Vol.1 1, Preparedness Aspccts; Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Co-ordinator (UNDRO), Geneva, United Nations, New York.



Land-Use Zoning for Disaster Mnnagcn~ent

Checlc Your Progress 1

1 ) Your answer should include following points:

more pressure 011 urban land; pace oFcliange of land use is faster than the society can handle; socio-economic cost of relocating people is very high; economic presgilres are pushing the poor into marginal lands prone to disasters; and ~ overall economic resource crunch.


2) Your answer sliould include following points:


conflict between conservation storage such as for irrigation and dedicated flood storage reserve in large reservoirs; relation between floodplain nxnagement and watershed management; rapid i~rbanizationprocess and pressure on urban land; increasing change of larid use from agricultural to non-agricultural land uses: and general resistancc to sliitiing of population.

Check Your I'rogress 2


Your Luiswer slioulcl include the following points: Macro zoning, ~nicrozoning, sub-division regulation, building permits, open space controls, building codes, arid develop~nent controls.

2) Your answer sliould include following points:

broad zonal plan basecl on risk zones; building codes; building material supporting structural safety; and

monitoring tlirougli techniques o.fRemote Sensing and GIs.