What is the Master Plan?

The Master Plan is the planning of a municipality that provides measures that must be taken by the municipal government to arrive at the best possible planning for the needs of the city.

Since 2001, planning has been mandatory for all cities with more than 20 thousand inhabitants.

The Plan helps to organize the growth of the city , always considering local needs and improving the quality of life of the inhabitants.

What is the role of the Master Plan?

The function of a Master Plan is to be the basis that guides the creation of public policies in the municipality related to urban development and growth . The document helps the government to make the right decisions to ensure the best possible planning for the city.

The Plan defines in detail which projects are most appropriate to meet the needs of citizens and provide improvements in the quality of life of the population.

The role of the Master Plan in the City Statute

The regulation of the Master Plan is in law nº 10.257 / 2001 ( Statute of the City ), which determines the rules for the execution of urban policies in the municipalities.

According to the law, the functions of a Master Plan are:

  • ensure that investments are made in the sustainability of cities;
  • allow and encourage the participation of citizens and associations in the choice of public policies;
  • stimulate cooperation between governments and the private sector to guarantee benefits to the city;
  • plan the development of the municipality;
  • integrate the needs of the urban and rural sectors;
  • preserve and protect the environment;
  • regularize areas that are occupied by low-income citizens.

Definition and elaboration of the Master Plan

The Master Plan is prepared by a team of several professionals, headed by a responsible architect.

For a Plan to be approved and executed, the municipality must fulfill the following steps:

  1. Analysis of the problems and characteristics of the municipality that need improvement measures or investments.
  2. Identification of the fundamental points and evaluation of detailed data of the policies that will be developed.
  3. Creation of the measures that will be applied as a solution to the problems encountered.
  4. Preparation of the plan in accordance with the law.
  5. Discussion, voting and approval of the Plan by the councilors.

Voting and approval of the Master Plan must be done at the City Council. To be approved, the Plan must receive 2/3 of the votes of the councilors.

What type of law does the Master Plan have?

The Master Plan is established through the publication of a municipal law.

To learn more about municipal laws, see also the meaning of Organic Law .

What happens after approval?

After the Plan is approved, it is used as a guide for the elaboration of projects and public policies that determine in detail how the measures will be adopted and put into practice.

All projects created must comply with the basic measures determined in the Plan.

What policies should be envisaged?

According to the Federal Constitution, the Plan must contain the definition of the measures necessary for the organization of the city to guarantee the social function of urban property (measures necessary to meet the needs of the population).

Some of the measures that should be included in a Master Plan are:

  • land allotment in the municipality;
  • policies to improve urban mobility;
  • new conditions of circulation and accessibility;
  • responsible use and according to the needs of vacant land and buildings;
  • basic sanitation improvements;
  • public transport growth and modernization projects;
  • rules and monitoring of responsible land use;
  • carrying out other necessary works.

The needs set out in the Plan must also take into account the municipality’s budget and must be included in budget forecasts, such as the multi-annual plan and the budget law.

Master Plan Review

The Master Plans must be reviewed at least every ten years to verify that the needs are being met. In addition, it is in the review that new measures or needs that may have arisen for the municipality can be included.

All changes that are made to the Plan must undergo the same procedures required for its preparation.

What happens if the Master Plan is not fulfilled?

According to the City Statute, those responsible for non-compliance with the law can be prosecuted for administrative improbity.

Both the mayor of the city and the councilors are responsible for implementing the plan and can be held responsible for its non-compliance.


by Abdullah Sam
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