National Park Service
Heritage Preservation Services   —   Historic Preservation Planning Program
Phoenix, Arizona Bird's Eye View, 1885

Planning Companion

Typical Planning Process
Introduction »

Planning & Historic Contexts »

Comprehensive? »

scale »

scope »

Step 1.
Planning for Planning »

Step 2.
Creating a Vision »

Step 3.
Understanding the Resources »

Step 4.
Other Planning Factors »

Step 5.
Issues and Opportunities »

Step 6.
Goals and Objectives »

Step 7.
Implementation Strategies

Step 8.
Producing the Plan »

Step 9.
Implementating the Plan »

Step 10.
Revising the Plan »

Sources of
Information »

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A Typical Planning Process

Step 7. How Will We Put Our Plan to Work? Identifying Implementation Strategies and Tools

Plans must be translated into programs and budgets, and the effects of carrying out the plan must be checked to measure success and find surprises.1

Implementing the plan means putting the plan to work. Activities need to be carried out, and tools need to be applied, to meet the goals and objectives. In many cases, a variety of strategies and tools could be useful.

A range of tools and strategies should be carefully examined to understand which would be most appropriate for the resources, existing conditions, trends, and available (or potentially available) funding and staffing.

There are also a number of possible implementation partners who can help achieve goals and objectives. Enlisting partners expands the capabilities of the local preservation program to accomplish more preservation.

Tools and Strategies

A wide range of tools and strategies are available for implementing your plan, including:
  • Laws and regulations, such as:
    • Comprehensive plan requirements
    • Zoning ordinance
    • Subdivision ordinance
    • Form-based codes and smart codes
    • Resource protection overlay districts
    • Environmental quality laws and regulations
    • Urban design standards

  • Incentives, such as:
    • Tax credits, abatements, and other benefits
    • Transfer/purchase of development rights
    • Easements
    • Actual use property assessment

  • Budgets and funding sources, such as:
    • Local government program budgets
    • Federal, state, and/or local government grant programs
    • Low-cost loans
    • Revolving fund programs
    • Special tax revenue dedicated to preservation activities, such as real estate transfer taxes, dedicated commodity taxes, and vending machine taxes
    • A portion of sales, gasoline, and cigarette tax revenues
    • Resource exploitation fees and specialty license plate fees
    • Lottery or gambling proceeds

  • Programs, staff, and boards and commissions


A variety of agencies and organizations can work together to help achieve your plan's goals, such as:
  • Government agencies, such as:
    • Elected officials
    • Historic preservation offices
    • Planning department
    • Regional planning districts
    • Parks and recreation department
    • Environmental protection department
    • Economic development department
    • Tourism department

  • Non-profit organizations, such as:
    • Historic preservation non-profits
    • Historical societies
    • Land trusts
    • Environmental protection organizations
    • Museums
    • College and university programs in archaeology, history, historic preservation, and urban planning

  • Professional organizations, such as those for
    • Anthropologists
    • Archaeologists
    • Environmentalists
    • Historians
    • Historic preservationists
    • Planners

  • Citizen groups, such as
    • Neighborhood associations
    • Civic associations
    • Special interest groups


Additional guidance can be found in Sources of Additional Information — just click on the menu link to the left.

Go to Step 8»

1 The Practice of Local Government Planning edited by Frank So and Judith Getzels, 2nd edition, page 509. International City Management Association, Washington, DC, 1988]

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