Participants make a 3D model of their local area and add suggestions of how they would like to see their community develop. They then prioritise these in groups and create an action plan for decision-makers to take away.
Planning for Real events are famous for involving eye-catching three-dimensional models - though these are only a part of the whole process.
Community members are involved from the beginning in deciding on a suitable venue and subject for the process. The model of a neighbourhood is often made by local people themselves in order to create a sense of ownership over the process. A number of events are run depending on the number and nature of the participants. Sometimes separate events are run for specific groups, such as young people.
Planning for Real is especially useful for planning, neighbourhood regeneration and capacity building. People go on to use their knowledge of living in the area to make suggestions by placing cards directly onto the model. There are both ready-made cards with common suggestions (around 300) and blank cards for participants to fill in themselves. These suggestions are then prioritised in small groups on a scale of Now, Soon, or Later. These resulting priority lists form the basis for an Action Plan that decision-makers are charged with taking away, considering and implementing. Delivering the Action Plan is easier if the community is involved in delivery, monitoring and evaluation.
• Local residents are the focus of a Planning for Real process.
• There is no upper limit to the number of participants that can be involved, as they do not have to attend at the same time or place.
• Other stakeholders who have an interest in the future of the area can also be involved.
• Depends largely on the number of events and the size of the venue required.
• A trained facilitator is also necessary.
• The eye-catching three-dimensional models are usually created by schools or local groups and aren't necessarily expensive.
Approximate time expense
• Besides the meetings themselves you should plan to mobilise the interest of local participants.
• Following up on the Action Plan may take a few months to several years depending on what decisions come out of the process.
• Making the models may take a few months if local groups or schools are used.
• An eye-catching and fun process that is enjoyed by people who would not normally get involved
• The models lessen the need for verbal or literacy skills, making it a useful method to use when some participants don't speak English as a first language
• It is a non-confrontational way of expressing needs
• Decisions reflect local priorities
• Mobilises local support and generates enthusiasm
• Usually focussed on a local level, can be hard to scale up
• Requires the involvement of important decision-makers
Local Planning/Community Development
A method developed in the 1970s to include community members who were deterred by traditional planning consultation. Since then it has been used in many locations internationally.
Neighbourhood Initiatives Foundation
Build skills and capacity of participants
Gather informed and considered opinions (deliberation)
Generate new ideas (innovation)
Create a shared vision amongst participants
Reach consensus and overcome conflict
Number of participants
Self selected participants attending as individuals (open access process)
Level of awareness and interest
participants know about some aspects/can roughly articulate some interest
participants are well informed and can articulate their interests
Crime and justice
Culture and arts
Environment and climate change
Health and well-being
Housing and Planning
Science and technology
Limit search to...
... face to face processes
Level of involvement
Children and young people
Ethnic minority groups
Groups with low levels of literacy/confidence
People with learning difficulties