Planning Tools

This Planning Tools section describes a variety of land-use planning tools and techniques available to help local governments with planning to become a complete community.

This section is organized based on the five elements of a complete community: A Complete Community is...infographic

  1. Complete Streets,
  2. Efficient Land Use,
  3. Healthy and Livable,
  4. Inclusive and Active, and
  5. Sustainable and Resilient.

What makes a Community “Complete”?

“The objective is to use less land and reduce the separation of land uses in order to achieve a variety of values including open space protection, community vitality, affordable housing, air quality, transit use, and more walkable places.”

—Pivo, Gary, “Creating Compact and Complete Communities: Seven Propositions for Success,” Practicing Planner, AICP, Summer 2005, cited in “2010 Delaware Strategies for State Policies and Spending,” Delaware Office of State Planning Coordination. Retrieved 12/13/11 from

The following five elements are considered.

Complete Streets

  1. Achieves principles of connectivity—within town and surrounding area
    1. Integrates multiple transportation options
    2. Reduces separation between home, school, and work
  2. Fosters walkable, bikable, and transit-friendly communities
  3. Reduces automobile dependency

Efficient Land Use

  1. Provides a mix of complimentary land uses
  2. Supports compact building design
  3. Strengthens and revitalizes downtown commercial areas and “Main Streets”

Healthy and Livable

  1. Maximizes opportunities for physical activity, recreation, and healthy lifestyles
  2. Creates aging-friendly environments and better prospects to “age in community”
  3. Reinforces initiatives that support public safety

Inclusive and Active

  1. Fosters sense of and pride in community
    1. Creates social networks
  2. Strengthens citizen participation
    1. Promotes community involvement and social activities
  3. Distinct community character
    1. Preserves community heritage
    2. Respects local culture


  1. Use of existing infrastructure and  redevelopment
  2. Promotes job growth business diversity—existing and new
  3. Cultivates responsible environmental management


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