Comprehensive planning is a process that determines community goals and aspirations in terms of community development. The outcome of comprehensive planning is the Comprehensive Plan which dictates public policy in terms of transportation, utilities, land use, recreation, and housing. Comprehensive plans typically encompass large geographical areas, a broad range of topics, and cover a long-term time horizon. The term comprehensive planning is most often used by urban planners in the United States.
In Canada, comprehensive planning is generally known as strategic planning or visioning. It is usually accompanied by public consultation. When cities and municipalities engage in comprehensive planning the resulting document is known as an Official Community Plan or OCP for short. (In Alberta, the resultant document is referred to as a Municipal Development Plan.