Urenio Watch Watch: Cities

Participatory Incremental Urban Planning Toolbox

The Participatory Incremental Urban Planning (PIUP) Toolbox by UN-Habitat is a step-by-step methodology to assess, design, operationalize and implement urban planning processes. A roadmap is proposed to facilitate the understanding and the accomplishment of all the steps.

Through the proposed timeline of phases, blocks and activities, the toolbox helps different urban stakeholders to better understand urban planning processes and assess at which stage they need to participate to ensure that their voices are heard and their interests considered as part of the city’ s vision, policies, strategies, plans and projects. It consists of four phases, 15 blocks and 69 activities.

The toolbox proposes an incremental approach for urban planning, based on best practices and tailored for different contexts. During the first phase (Block A), the technical team assesses the city’ s capacities and resources and defines a tailored urban planning roadmap, including a set of activities and tools. The team recognises urban planning as a process framework, complex and dynamic, requiring a “back-and-forth’ approach to continuously review and validate the different stages of the process.

Participation is an essential component of sustainable urban development, promoted by the 203 Agenda and the New Urban Agenda. Various levels of participatory approaches are proposed (Block C) within the toolbox to define a participation strategy which engages stakeholders and the community in the process. Each activity proposes a list of participants that should be involved, depending on the objective of the activity. Activities are described in a clear structure, providing basic information, related tools, associated steps, specific requirements to run the activity and the final objective and results.

The Participatory Incremental Urban Planning Toolbox is:

  • Process-based
  • Fit-for-purpose
  • Incremental and flexible
  • Impact-oriented
  • Participatory and people-centred
  • Open source and modular

How does the toolbox help?


The toolbox includes a city leaders track, which clearly indicates which are the critical activities in which city leaders should be engaged   and dedicate time to. It gives city leaders a clear understanding of which are the key deliverables   (urban analysis, scenarios, concept plan,action plan, detailed plans, project feasibility studies’¦) how they should look like and what they should include.


The toolbox provides city planners and urban planning practitioners with a step-by-step guide on how to run, identify gaps and improve urban planning processes.


The tool is designed to help civil society and urban residents visualize in a simplified   manner the complexity of urban planning processes. It also helps them identify the steps in the process critical to influence urban policies, plans and projects. It is a toolbox to provide more transparency on urban priorities so that public-private investments can be better aligned.


Find the toolbox here