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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?

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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.


A fishbone diagram is a kind of Cause and Effect Diagrams to help you identify causes of a problem thoroughly. Using fishbone allows you to consider all possible factors and causes of the problem, rather than just the ones that are most obvious.

Steps in creating a fishbone diagram

Identify the problem

Work out the major factors involved -

the factors you find would be the bones while the

effect is represented by the fish head

Identify possible causes


Flowcharts use illustrations and shapes to help you identify steps of a process, determine causes of problems or develop tasking requirements.

Flowcharts use symbolic shapes and connecting arrows which represent the flow of the process. Flowcharts can help you see whether the steps of a process are logical, uncover problems or miscommunications, define the boundaries of a process, and develop a common base of knowledge about a process

Tree Diagram

Tree diagrams are visual tools used to figure out tasks or activities that must be undertaken to achieve an objective. These diagrams aim to give a better understanding of the scope of a project which help communities focus and prioritise on specific activities needed to fulfil the objective.

A tree diagram presents information using parts of the tree. The main issue or problem would be the tree's trunk, and the relevant factors, influences and outcomes will show up as roots and branches.

There are different kinds of tree diagrams:

A decision tree is used to illustrate costs and benefits associated with decisions.

A problem tree can be used to understanding the underlying causes of complex problems.

An objectives tree can be used to identify priority needs.