Planning for Real is a set of community-building tools which has been developed over the last 20 years, first in the UK, then in various parts of Europe and the US, and currently on trial in parts of Africa, India, South-East Asia and Latin America. The article focuses on the use of the method in urban areas where all sense of community has been lost, and where there is profound mutual distrust between the residents and the local officials. Planning for Real allows people to explore possibilities, sort out options, rank priorities, share out responsibilities and set out a plan of action. It is also a strategy designed to establish common ground between 'Us' and 'Them' as a basis for a combined operation to create a working neighbourhood.
This article will be of particular interest to planners and others involved in community development work in urban areas in the 'North'.