In the field of planning, it is in the middle of1990’s that the planning-evaluation literature started paying attention to plancontent and the quality of plans and has also begun to consider the use ofplans and their implementation (Baer,1997, Laurian et. al, 2004). Since then,western countries are increasingly adopting performance oriented andproductivity oriented management models for planning; making evaluation of planoutcomes an essential part of planning practices (Mccoy and Hargie, 2001).Based on the object of evaluation, the term plan evaluation has manydefinitions.
Planners use plan evaluation to mean anything from evaluating planalternatives to evaluating plan outcomes. Different authors have differentviews regarding plan evaluation. William Baer (1997:330) identifies fivemeanings of the term plan evaluation- based on who undertakes the evaluation,at what point in the planning process and with what methods. According to him evaluationsinclude: (1) plan assessment (ensuring that the plan embodies its criteria);(2) plan testing and evaluation (evaluating alternative ways to achieve aplan’s goals); (3) plan critique (a subjective review of a plan by otherplanners, similar to a movie review); (4) comparative research and professionalevaluation (comparing various plans, with or without considering outcomes); and(5) post hoc evaluation of plan outcomes. Alexander (2006:7) on the other handhas given definition of plan evaluation as – a priori, or ex-ante evaluationwhich guides the selection of planning alternatives by comparing their expectedimpacts. The evaluation literature also distinguishes between evaluatingoutputs and outcomes, which are the impacts of these outputs (Vedung, 1997).
Outcome evaluation judges best management effectiveness; it attempts toevaluate the outcomes of land use planning. There are wide array of factorsneeded to be considered in outcome evaluation. There could be internal factors ofthe plan affecting the implementation and hence outcomes of plans (e.g. itsquality) or external factors of the plan (e.g. the characteristics of theplanning agency and of local developers, the interactions between planningstaff and developers).
Based on these factors, the research question can beconceptually separated into four distinct sub-questions. First, is the degreeof implementation has some relationwith the quality of plan? That is, are good plans better implemented than weakones? Second, how characteristics of planning agencies, such as the capacityand commitment of planning staff to implement the plan is affectingimplementation? Third, how is implementation affected by the characteristics ofdevelopers and their consultants, such as their knowledge of the plan, theircommitment to policies in the plan and their capacity to implement appropriatedevelopment techniques? Finally, how does the type of interaction betweendevelopers and planning staff affect implementation? (Laurian et al 2004). All these questions can be answered if the content ofplan/ program and its preparation process is properly studied, analyzed andevaluated as Laurian et al concluded (2010) that planning evaluation is asystematic assessment of plans, planning processes and outcomes compared withexplicit standards or indicators