Integrated planning and partnerships

What do we actually mean when we talk about integrated planning and 4P approaches?

Public–Private–People partnership (4P) is a new concept in urban planning, establishing new ways to improve the inclusion of various public sector actors, private actors, residents, NGOs and other civil-society actors in planning processes. The approach is part of a wider transformation in the way that our cities are planned and governed whereby the importance of actors outside the public planning authorities is increasing in planning.

The inclusion of variety actors with differing interests in the same process is a challenge but implementing 4P approaches in urban planning brings many benefits:

  • Helps to reach planning goals in an efficient manner, by pooling resources and sharing risks.
  • Ensures that various aspects and sectoral issues are taken into account in the planning process
  • Improved economic and time efficiencies by e.g. involving developers early to shorten the temporal gap between planning and implementation but also to ensure openness and public input e.g., by including citizens in generating planning visions together with planning officials, landowners and developers.
  • A way of responding to the challenges of public–private partnerships by strengthening the position of the general public in planning to address the lack of transparency and legitimacy of planning
  • Bridges the gap between partnerships and participation bringing the processes of including private actors and “people” closer together
  • Increased mutual understanding on the interests, roles and responsibilities of different parties in the planning process

Helping Central Baltic cities to apply integrated approach to urban development

It is not very common yet for cities in the Central Baltic region to work in a very co-ordinated way with approaches following the 4P principles. Central Baltic cities are often lacking of structured, integrated planning and partnership models that would help to ensure the active participation of all relevant stakeholder groups in formulation of common goals and plans, making sure that all available knowledge and resources will directed to common goals.


Baltic Urban Lab tackles this challenge by testing new planning methods and solutions for Public-Private-People partnerships in real life environments but also studying and capitalizing existing knowledge and case examples.

The project promotes more integrated approach to urban regeneration

  A) On local level
  • By supporting local authorities and planners in the project cities to establish new ways to work together with the land and real estate owners, developers, local companies and other parties to prepare Integrated Plans and Development Strategies integrating different visions and ideas for the four brownfield sites and suggesting next steps for the development
  • To increase the participation of end-users; the citizens, NGOs, local businesses and other interest groups in the urban planning process and to respond to their needs with the help of a variety of participatory tools will be developed and tested in cities
  • To help cities to prepare concrete operational PPP-partnerships models and principles to be integrated as part of the city planning practices and used for the development of other city districts based on the learning process around the City Pilot
    B) On Central Baltic level
  • Identifying the potentials of Public-Private-People-partnerships in urban planning
  • Increasing local authorities and planners knowledge on well-proved 4P approaches tested in the project cities and beyond
  • Improving the capacity of local authorities to deal with the regeneration of brownfields and lead through multi-stakeholder development processes by providing Guidelines for applying Integrated Planning and Partnership models for Brownfield Regeneration (e-book available in 5 languages).  




Guide: Towards integrated and partnership-based planning of brownfield areas 

This guide is based on the experiences gathered in the Baltic Urban Lab project (2015–2018) funded by the Central Baltic Programme. The project cities of Norrköping in Sweden, Tallinn in Estonia, Turku in Finland and Riga in Latvia have developed and tested new integrated planning approaches and implemented public-private-people partnership models (4P) for four selected brownfield pilot sites. The key aim was to find new ways to involve different stakeholders such as citizens, developers, experts, landowners, businesses and NGOs in the planning and work on developing common visions with them.

The planning systems and procedures, as well as the organisational set-up, is different for each local administration. Each city development project also has its own specific context, challenges and stakeholders. There are several stages in both the soil remediation and regeneration process and the visioning and land-use planning process when stakeholders could and should be involved. The reasons to cooperate and the benefits that can be gained from cooperation as well as methods and tools for involvement vary from phase to phase. These two diagrams illustrate in a simplified way the different phases in both processes, focusing on the possibilities to cooperate with different stakeholders to benefit from their knowledge and expertise. 


In reality, many of these phases take place in parallel. There can also be a need to repeat some of the phases or go back to previous ones. Therefore, the objective of this guide is not to give step-by-step guidance but rather a set of principles and issues to take into account that help to manage complex brownfield development projects, especially when it comes to working in public-private-people partnerships. 

This guide has been divided in two main sections: Internal organisation and preparation and Cooperating with stakeholders. Each section is divided into five topics. The first section focuses on improving internal processes and cooperation within local administrations and setting a solid base for the planning process. The second section provides guidance on how to work with stakeholders. The guide also includes concrete case studies from the Baltic Urban Lab cities and elsewhere on implementing public-private-people partnership models, as well as tips for further reading and useful tools. 

The case studies demonstrate that planning is a continuously evolving process, and that involving stakeholders at various stages benefits the process.