Go to recipes A-Z

Unfortunately, there is no standard out of the box community planning blueprint. As each area is uniquely shaped by its people, culture and surroundings, the approach will be different for every community or neighbourhood.

VP groups can pick and choose recipes that would work best for their communities.

This cookbook which is constantly being updated, lists various recipes from A-Z on how to undertake community planning

How do you get started with community planning?

Back to recipes A-Z

Key elements of community-led planning

1. Strong leadership

Planning should be led by a group from the community that has credibility with the different sections of the community. The group must balance the interest of all stakeholders.

2. Community engagement

The community or locality should be involved in every step of the planning process. Isolated groups should be given a voice.

3. Strong evidence base

An effective plan is based on the views of the people which are grounded in evidence of real issues and aspirations.

4. Vision

A clear vision for the future will inform the way ahead. It should be grounded and must relate to opportunities and the the local context.

5. Action plans

the vision should be translated into a an action plan with clear objectives and priorities.

Design workshops

Design workshops seek to bring individuals or small groups to work together in developing planning and design ideas.

This hands-on session can be part of a planning workshop.


Participants are distributed in groups around a table with proposed plans and models. A good average group size comprises 8-10 people.

A facilitator and note-taker are assigned by the group.

Facilitators can assign to a group a specific area or the same area at different scales. Topics or proposed plans can be sectors like transport, housing, community facilities, youth, waste management, etc.

Discussions will focus on ideas, comments and recommendations to proposed plans and models. A workshop process can be followed if people have not worked together before.

Each group will prepare a summary of main findings.


Design workshops work well as a follow-up to a briefing session.

This tool needs preparation from facilitators in developing proposed plans based on available community data.


area base/propose plan

tracing paper overlays

coloured pens

cards or sticky notes


attendance sheet

Flaxroots is a priority initiative of the North Shore Community and Social Services funded under the Community Development Scheme of the Department of Internal Affairs