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.

Open space workshop

Wikipedia defines an Open Space Technology (OST) as an approach for hosting meetings, conferences, corporate-style retreats and community summit events, focused on a specific and important purpose or taskbut beginning without any formal agenda, beyond the overall purpose or theme.

Open space workshops using the OST approach provide a highly democratic framework for enabling any group of people to create their own programme of discussions without much preparation. These types of workshops are useful for dealing with general policy issues, for generating enthusiasm and for dealing with urgent issues needing quick action.


The organisers set the venue, time and date and market the event to the community.

To assist in determining a focus for the workshop, an overarching theme is developed, in this case community planning.

Facilitators guide the participants at the start of the workshop and lay out the flow of the session.

Participants are given sticky notes to write the topic, issue or area they want to discuss.

Facilitators gather the notes and try to group similar topics.

Once the workshop groupings are established, participants sit down in groups they feel participating in.

Workshop sessions are self managed by the participants within a framework of simple OST principles and guidelines.

Each workshop session develops a list of actions required and summarises the discussion for plenary presentation.




Facilitation costs


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