Planning for Real

Planning for Real aims to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods using a jointly created 3D model by identifying areas of change, suggesting measures and implementing them.

Level of participation


Duration of participation process

Preparation: Several weeks for planification
Implementation: Several weeks
Follow-up: Several months to follow up the implementation phase with the groups

Target group size

25-50 people
50-100 people
> 100 people



Human resources needed

At least one person for organization and facilitation of the process

The method: what is it, when to use it and what outcome to expect

Planning for real is an activating planning and participation process involving residents, local administrations and public bodies, civil society organisations and businesses. You can use this method in different contexts such as district development, local planning and decision-making processes, improvement of the living environment, building or land use.

The main aim of this method is to contribute to improving the quality of life in concrete areas. Using a jointly created 3D model, the perception of the neighbourhood is sharpened, needs are identified, ideas for improvement are collected and proposals for implementation are developed. 

The process: how to conduct it in an in-person setting or online using a PC/laptop with video option

  1. Initiative: Identify an area where changes are needed! Such a process is generally launched by public authorities or in cooperation with them. 
  2. Model construction: Invite citizens to create a three-dimensional model of the place to be changed.
  3. Model Presentation: Once the model done exhibit the model publicly. Get feedback from the activecitizensin order to refine the model.
  4. “Who can do what?”: Asses, how the local population might help redesign the place. Collect potential knowledge, resources and skills of citizens.
  5. Public event: During a plenary session, collect proposals to exchange the affected area, and placethem directly on the model. External provide information on specific topics.
  6. Priority definition: Using a table with the categories “Now – Soon – Later”, the collected proposals are prioritised and placed in a time schedule
  7. Working groups: For each prioritised measure, set-up a working group that is responsible for the definition of an action plan and its  implementation.
  8. Implementation: The action plan, which contains a list of measures and steps is implemented by theworking group in cooperation with local decision-makers, NGOs and/or urban agencies. 

Blended participation

In stage 2 the participants can rely on the software Minecraft in order to design. In stage 4 the registration form can be distributed online. Stage 6 can be organised online relying on an online white board. In stage 7 of the process, participants can partially communicate online in order to define the action plan.

Digital communication

As the target group is generally very local, you might need to use various online or offline channels (newspaper, mails, poster on the street, etc..) in order to reach out the wide diversity of people and secure a high participation. 

Good to know

  • Planning for Real is suitable as an outreach method for involving hard-to-reach groups in issues related to urban development.
  • In order to enhance the participation and the quality of the discussions, be sure to invite various groups of actors who have a direct interest in the topic. 
  • A specific methodology has been designed in order to use minecraft in order to involve local communities in the public space planning :
  • Participants need to be trained to use the 3D modelling software.

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