At a glance

Policy stage: 
Level of involvement: 
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Number of participants: 
Small group

Action Planning is a strategic method to help focus and decide what steps to take to achieve certain goals.


Action Planning is an approach, rather than a specific method, which helps focus ideas and decide what steps you need to take to achieve particular goals. It is a statement of what you want to achieve over a given period of time. Preparing an action plan is a good way to help reach objectives (this can apply to organisations and individuals). An effective action plan should give a definite timetable and set of clearly defined steps; for each objective there should be a separate action plan.

Action Planning is commonly used for town planning purposes on issues such as development, regeneration and identifying existing problems in an area. It is often local interest groups that come together to address the issues. These groups can consist of experts from different professions such as town planning and architecture, but can also include local citizens.

Action Plan events are generally structured in 5 phases:

1. A meeting of stakeholders, professionals and citizens where the issues are raised and investigated.

2. A series of topic and design workshops which are open to everyone.

3. A brainstorming of the ideas raised in the workshops.

4. An analysis of the ideas that have been put forward in the form of proposals.

5. The agreed proposals will be published in a report along with an outline of actions to be taken.


• Action Planning can be used by organisations and individuals.

• Participants can include stakeholders, experts and citizens.



• Action Planning can be cheap. Costs depend on the discretion of organisers.

• If held within an organisation costs are likely to be low. If an organisation decides to hold a day in a separate venue then costs would increase.

Approximate time expense


• Events typically take place over a week but can last longer depending on the complexity of the issues at hand.


• Brings stakeholders, experts and citizens together

• Assesses possible weaknesses or threats in achieving goals

• Develops contingency plans

• Breaks down goals into an achievable process

• Assess/ clarify the future of an organisation or local area


• May seem detailed and tedious compared to other methods


Began to be used in Europe during the 1980s.

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