This overview introduces the concept of community-based planning (CBP) looking back at its development and how it has evolved in the light of an increased emphasis on decentralisation in many countries during the 1980s and 90s. In this context it also considers the relevance of community-driven development models, including participatory poverty analysis, being promoted by parts of the World Bank over the last five to ten years, which typically have included a CBP component. It looks at the end uses of CBP in integrated development planning and sectoral planning; in promoting community action and control over development; and to comply with policy or legislation for public participation in planning. It examines approaches and methodologies, with the use of PRA (Participatory Rural Appraisal) methods; the role of facilitators and training; community managed funds; accountability, monitoring and evaluation; and linkages to local government and higher-level planning. It evaluates the impacts of CBP on different policy levels, the quality of services and community participation and action. The future development of CBP is discussed with a need for an increased effectiveness and widening of the approach. It concludes by linking the topics discussed with the following articles of pla notes 49.