Planning Forum

Planning Forum is an online forum in where planners, stakeholders, and citizens can discuss about or comment on planning projects. A planning forum usually contains a planning information system that shows projects’ status history tree with visualization, different searching tools, and graphical interface to browse the information. In some cases, Facebook group can be an example of planning forum.

Basic Information on the Method
Mode of communication
Group size
31 and more
Geographical scale
Public space, Neighbourhood, City, Region
Skills required
Resources needed
Medium, High
Level of Involvement
Level of involvement
Type of knowledge enabled
Divergence (Broad public)
Additional Criteria
Planning phase
Initiatiion, Planning & Design, Implementation, Evaluation & Research, Maintenance
Methodological approach
Organisational, Political

How to use the method

Membership eligibility:

Base on the geographical scope of the project and the target participants, the membership eligibility for the forum should be determined first. A forum open to all citizens is also feasible.

Establish forum:

After deciding the topic and target participants, a suitable platform is needed to build up the forum. It can be a new website or a new thread in an existing forum. In some cases, building a planning forum can be as simple as creating a Facebook page. The basic information of the project should be provided for the participants in everyday language to start discussions. A planning information system is usually included in a planning forum.

Forum promotion:

Advertise the planning forum to target users, encourage them to participate in the discussions and use the planning information system built inside.

Records and storage:

Events and discussions happened in the forum can provide valuable information for all phases of planning. Therefore, the information and knowledge produced in the forum should be recorded and stored properly. The forum aslo needs maintenance.

What are the outcomes

  • Information and status history tree of planning projects
  • Discussions focusing on certain planning topics or specific planning projects
  • Increase project transparency through the planning information system
  • Public informing by providing planning project information and a platform to initiate discussion

Skills required

Skills: basic

  • Basic skills to express opinion on the forum
  • Local knowledge to contribute to the planning project

Resources needed

Resources: medium to high

  • Resources to establish and maintenance the forum

Strengths and weaknesses

  • Status history of projects is demonstrated in detail
  • Provide a portal for planning projects monitoring
  • One-way information flow in the planning information system
  • Information generated in discussion is usually not structured systematically

Use cases

Tallinn, Estonia

The City of Tallinn launched the “The Tallinn’s Register of Plans” in 2015 to process design requirements, construction regulations, construction projects, detailed, comprehensive and thematic plans and to present information related to these procedures.[1]

Espoo, Finland

The City of Espoo planned a new district for 20,000 residents in the Hista area. The progress of the planning and construction of the area were followed via a local planning forum.[2]

Try one of these tools & resources

  1. [1]
  2. [2] Staffans, A., Rantanen, H., & Nummi, P. (2010). Online environments shake up urban planning. Digital tools in participatory planning, 37.