Design Our Space - Community Action Planning

We have six months to produce a 'development brief' for the Southern Area. To ensure maximum community involvement and participation, we are going to do this using a process we are calling Community Action Planning. This page describes the process and the timetable.

The Community Action Planning Process

The proposed CAP process has three key objectives:

  1. It must engage people in the community directly and do it democratically
  2. It must allow people to design and plan directly, not through professionals
  3. It must come to a practical proposal in the timescale allowed, that people can support and all accept has it has been democratically arrived at.

The role of the professionals is not to decide for people but to put their expertise at the behest of the people. This requires:

  1. breaking down and explaining ideas, opportunities and limitations, without jargon and without professional bias
  2. developing and presenting community wishes faithfully into forms that fit into the professional and bureaucratic process
  3. ensure facts are represented as facts and opinions as opinions

The role of representatives, helpers and leaders is not to decide the outcomes and what is the plan, but organising the process to maximise input from people, including ensuring different perspectives are not ignored.

This must be done democratically and openly, avoiding representing or pressurising from other interest groups who seek to introduce some pre-set agenda or design or planning decision arrived at elsewhere.

They must ensure that the majority ideas are developed and adhered to.

They must ensure that minority views are alluded to and included if they do not represent majority ideas.

They should bring together the issues, both facts and opinions, and assembling these so that Community Action Planning (CAP) can take account of them.

The community will be engaged in a specific process that allows:


There process splits into three stages, each lasting about 2 months.

Public Meeting 1 (held on March 12th 2004) Stage 1 Information Gathering (to take 8/9 weeks) Initial training
setting up and agreement of process
identification of helpers and allocation of jobs
training of helpers and final agreement of process
assembly of physical facts
assembly of cost and critical factors
assembly of democratic facts
gathering of opinions with feedback of new issues
Public Meeting 2

Stage 2 Community Action Plan (to take 7/8 weeks) Initial training
agree group structures
development of fact/opinion packs for each group
setting up and training of group co-ordinators
4-5 days of Community Action Planning
first 2-3 of these days with groups
last 1-2 days with plenary session to agree: main proposals
compatible ideas
Write up plan
Public Meeting 3

Stage 3 Presentation, Implications and Implementation (to take 7/8 weeks) Presentation and report
detailed design of specific areas
costing and methodology
publicity and press
Conclusion: Public Meeting 4

Back to the Main DOS Page