Spatial planning in Korea has been greatly advanced with the development of the national territory since 1960. Spatial planning is the standardized and refined framework that is utilized to maximize the efficient use of Korea's territorial land and water bodies. Spatial planning is also a key component in the Comprehensive National Territorial Plan (CNTP), regional development plans, and comprehensive city county plans. The intent of spatial planning is to seek balanced approaches to land development, to enhance the competitiveness between regions, and to pursue the environmentally-friendly management of land.
More specifically, the CNTP is a master plan to efficiently manage territorial land resources in a manner that is compatible with the basic direction and underlying strategies of national policies. The first CNTP (1972-1981) was implemented in 1971; it was followed subsequently by the second CNTP (1982- 1991), the third CNTP (1992-2001), and the fourth CNTP (2000-2020). With the rapid economic growth and urbanization in Korea the national development progressed in an unbalanced manner, and in order to narrow the development gap between regions, various regional development plans have been carried out. Plans such as Enterprise City, Innovative City, and Multifunctional Administrative City have been designed and implemented. More recently, a five-year regional innovative development plan has been executed with the aim of promoting local economic self-reliance through regionally specialized development. Additionally a district development promotion plan has also been applied to areas that remain significantly underdeveloped. A culture and tourism development plan has also been prepared to help foster more distinctive regional development projects.
Another crucial element of Korea’s spatial planning system is the urban planning system, which was designed to be compatible with the CNTP. The urban planning system encompasses area-wide regional plans, city county master plans, city county management plans, and district unit plans.