Face-to-Face, Online, or Both?
General Type of Method
Community development, organizing, and mobilization
Typical Purpose
Develop the civic capacities of individuals, communities, and/or civil society organizations
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of government and public bodies
Spectrum of Public Participation
Sito di Planning for real UK
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Open to All
Number of Participants
There is no limit to the number of people who can participate
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Informal Social Activities
Discussion, Dialogue, or Deliberation
Negotiation & Bargaining
Decision Methods
Idea Generation
If Voting
Preferential Voting
Scope of Implementation
Level of Polarization This Method Can Handle
Moderate polarization
Level of Complexity This Method Can Handle
Moderate Complexity


Planning for Real®

January 24, 2021 Jaskiran Gakhal, Participedia Team
August 27, 2020 alexmengozzi

Planning for Real aims to activate a participatory urban planning process that involves residents, administrations and public bodies, and businesses. The typical and most original element of this method is the presence of the model that reproduces the urban context.

Problems and Purpose

Planning for Real® (PFR) is a nationally recognized local planning process based on a 3D model. The process allows residents to record their views on various issues, work together to identify priorities, and in collaboration with local authorities and agencies, continue to develop an action plan for change.[1]

Origins and Development

Planning for Real® is inspired by the principles of active commitment to the community. This method was devised in the 1970s at the University of Nottingham by a team headed by British researcher Tony Gibson; it was therefore first adopted in a Glasgow neighborhood and, starting in 1988, it was further developed under the aegis of the Neighborhood Initiatives Foundation. [2] Currently its application is recognized by the British state at the national level and is managed by the homonymous organization Planning for Real, of the Accord group. Its headquarters are Bilston West Midlands.[1]

Participation Recruitment and Selection

This method is open to all, to a potentially unlimited number.

How it Works: Process, Interaction, and Decision-Making

The process is divided into eight phases and lasts for several weeks, according to the following scheme:

  1. Initiative: a group of citizens meet and communicate that they want to make changes in the area where they live. It therefore invites all those who are equally interested in the topic to participate. Wishes and ideas on how to transform the area are collected and exchanged.
  2. Construction of the model: to illustrate what needs to be changed and what can be changed, with material that is easy to manipulate, the townspeople build a three-dimensional model that represents the status quo of the area. In this phase, working together, the participants get to know each other, exchange ideas and focus on the area covered by the process.
  3. Presentation of the model: the model is displayed in the neighborhood in various locations and occasions in order to reach the greatest possible number of people who live or work there. The goal is to refine the model by collecting the ideas of other towns and other citizens.
  4. “Who can do what?”: With the so-called neighborhood skills registration sheets, a sort of inventory of the resources and skills present in the area is made.
  5. Public event: the residents affix the so-called stickers on the model showing the hypotheses of transformation of the area. This indicates the areas where you want to make changes. Experts and experts participate in this phase to provide technical advice, where needed.
  6. Definition of priorities: on the basis of the model and the proposals put forward, priorities are set and working groups are formed.
  7. Elaboration of the themes: the working groups elaborate the topic they have chosen and produce the related action plan.
  8. Implementation of action plans: in the last phase, the action plans are implemented, possibly in a short time. This happens - as far as possible - with the participation of the citizens who took part in the process. Further achievements depend on the agreements that were made with the clients of the process before its start. [3]

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

Know what outcomes and effects this method typically has? Help us complete this section!

Analysis and Lessons Learned

Want to contribute an analysis of this method? Help us complete this section!

See Also


[1] Planning for Real®, (ril. 27/8/20).

[2] Nanz P., Fritsche M., La partecipazione dei cittadini: un manuale, Legislative Assembly of the Emilia-Romagna Region, 2014, p. 101, (downloadable free of charge) (ril. 27/8/20).

[3] Nanz P., Fritsche M., La partecipazione dei cittadini: un manuale, P. 102.

External Links