A site plan or a plot plan is a type of drawing used by architects, landscape architects, urban planners, and engineers which shows existing and proposed conditions for a given area, typically a parcel of land which is to be modified. Sites plan typically show buildings, roads, sidewalks and paths/trails, parking, drainage facilities, sanitary sewer lines, water lines, lighting, and landscaping and garden elements.
A plan is a "set of construction drawings that a builder or contractor uses to make improvements to a property. Counties will use the site plan to verify that development codes are being met and as a historical resource. Plans are often prepared by a design consultant who must be either a licensed engineer, architect, landscape architect or land surveyor".
Plans include site analysis, building elements, and planning of various types including transportation and urban. An example of a site plan is the plan for Indianapolis by Alexander Ralston in 1821.
The specific objects and relations shown are dependent on the purpose for creating the plot plan, but typically contain: retained and proposed buildings, landscape elements, above-ground features and obstructions, major infrastructure routes, and critical legal considerations such as property boundaries, setbacks, and rights of way.
Site analysis is an inventory completed as a preparatory step to site planning, a form of urban planning which involves research, analysis, and synthesis. It primarily deals with basic data as it relates to a specific site. The topic itself branches into the boundaries of architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, economics, and urban planning. Site analysis is an element in site planning and design. Kevin A. Lynch, an urban planner developed an eight cycle step process of site design, in which the second step is site analysis, the focus of this section.
When analyzing a potential site for development, the status quo of the site should be analyzed and mapped. This includes but is not limited to:
- The location of the plot
- Topography, including information about slope, soils, hydrology, vegetation, orientation
- Existing buildings
- Roads and traffic
- Public facilities and utilities, including water, sewer, and power lines
- Related laws, regulation, codes, and policies
By determining areas that are poor for development (such as floodplains or steep slopes) and better for development, the planner or architect can determine the optimal location for different functions or structures and create a design that works within the space.
Site plan building blocks
A plan is a top view, bird’s eye view of a property that is drawn to scale. A site plan can show:
- property lines
- outline of existing and proposed buildings and structures
- distance between buildings
- distance between buildings and property lines (setbacks)
- parking lots, indicating parking spaces
- surrounding streets
- landscaped areas
- ground sign location
Site planning organizational stage
Site planning in landscape architecture and architecture refers to the organizational stage of the landscape design process. It involves the organization of land use zoning, access, circulation, privacy, security, shelter, land drainage, and other factors. Planning includes the arrangement of buildings, roadways, utilities, landscape elements, topography, water features, and vegetation to achieve the desired site.
In urban planning, site planning is done by city planners to develop a clear plan/design of what the city planners want for a community. For example, in a participatory planning process, community members would make claims of renovations and improvements that need to be done in their community. Then the community developers will come up with a way to meet the community members' demand, which is done by creating a site plan. With a limited budget, planners have to be smart and creative about their designs. Planners must take into consideration not only heights of buildings, traffic flows, open spaces, parking for cars/bikes, but also the project's potential impact to the stakeholders involved. All these actions of creating a site plan is referred to as site planning.
Urban, city, and town planning explores a very wide range of aspects of the built and social environments of places. Regional planning deals with a still larger environment, at a less detailed level. Based upon the origins of urban planning from the Roman (pre-Dark Ages) era, the current discipline revisits the synergy of the disciplines of urban planning, architecture and landscape architecture.