Planning for Real

Basic Information



Latest update


£85.00 plus VAT (20%)

Application time

Delivery of a Planning for Real® process usually takes up to 6 months

Assistance required

A facilitator trained in the Planning for Real® process

Assistance data

Local knowledge (residents) and expert advice (Council Departments / Agencies)

Tool type

Method / Approach Option generator

Application area

  • Data gathering
  • Dissemination and communication
  • Other

Target Audience

  • Other


Planning for Real® is a community planning tool that has been around since the late 1970s. It enables local residents to be involved in planning for, and within, their own communities. It is an eye-catching, ‘hands on’ process which, by using a 3D model as a focus, enables local people to put forward suggestions to “show” how an area can be improved, or to highlight specific problems.

The process brings together two types of expertise – the “inside” expert, those who live and work in the area and who know it best, and the “outside” expert – local Council Officers, local agencies, other key stakeholders, who have a wealth of knowledge and experience.

During the consultation exercise, the 3D model is surrounded by ‘suggestion’ cards or flags with telling pictures and/or words printed on them as well as a good supply of blank cards for resident’s own ideas. In this way, residents are able to "show" on the model what their needs / concerns are.

Through follow-up workshops, residents sort and sift through all the ideas generated in order to identify their priorities using HIGH, MEDIUM, LOW charts and then – together with their “outside” experts – develop a realistic and achievable Action Plan.

People coming fresh to Planning for Real® expect the strongest personalities to dominate and that different factions will form and fight to the last. However, with this tool, compromise and consensus become easier, not least because everyone’s line of vision converges on the subject matter, the model, allowing for practical, non-threatening ways of communicating and practical, non-threatening ways of participating.

Good Example

Planning for Real® was used successfully in the Hawtonville Estate, located in Newark on Trent, the principal settlement in the District of Newark and Sherwood, UK. The estate includes 1245 properties, representing just over one fifth of the entire Council housing stock. The role of a Neighbourhood Study was to provide a comprehensive assessment of an area focusing on both the socio-economic and physical attributes and opportunities, with meaningful community engagement at its heart.

Thematic areas

Road safety & security
  • Safer roads, bike and foot paths

Integrated & inclusive planning
  • Cooperation of policy fields and institutional stakeholders
  • Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans - SUMP

Public participation & co-creation


The Planning for Real Unit, Accord Housing Association, United Kingdom

info [at]

00 44 121 568 3948

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