Tools for Community Design project timeline

Compiled as a tribute to the late John Thompson and to the coronation of King Charles. Includes photos not seen before as well as some favourites.



Nick Wates joins the Project Office at The Prince of Wales’s Institute of Architecture under the direction of Mel Agace, Dr Brian Hanson and Professor Keith Critchlow.

The Tools for Community Design (TCD) Research Project is launched by the Institute, led by Ros Tennyson, John Thompson and Nick Wates. The idea was conceived  at the Duchy of Cornwall’s 1989 community planning weekend for Poundbury which the three took part in.

The Institute’s Research Projects, 1993

Download Research Projects (Part)


Some new community engagement approaches are piloted and evaluated in practical projects supported by the Institute

 in London Docklands……..

Mother with baby taking part in a community planning weekend at West Silvertown, 1993 (S1712).
Group photo at West Silvertown, 1993 (S1606)

… and in Scotland.

Site walkabout or reconnaissance at a planning weekend at Blairs College, Aberdeen, Scotland, 1994 (S1584)


Practitioners participate in an Editing Day on a draft Action Planning book at the Institute.

Workshop at an ‘Editing Day’ held at The Prince of Wales’s Institute of Architecture in February 1995. Thirty-three practitioners, designers, editors and potential readers helped to shape the first edition of the book using felt-tip pens on wall mounted page blow-ups; a process adapted from community planning. (Clockwise from flipchart: Sue Hargreaves, Rod Hackney, Chris Lakin, Jeremy Caulton, unknown, Debbie Radcliffe, Nick Wates, John Billingham, John Worthington.) (S0901) Credit: Richard Ivey


Action Planning book launch at St James Palace

Briefing pack for those invited for the book launch at St James’ Palace. Download pdf.

See message from Prince Charles

See address by Nick Wates

Action Planning front cover- English edition 1996



Series of evening forums on action planning held at the Institute

Some photos of staff, students and members of the public at forums held at the Institute.

(ref 2346)
(ref S2353)
(ref 2357)
(ref 2358)
(ref 2529)
(ref 2534)

1994 – 1999

Pilot community engagement activity organised, recorded and evaluated in live projects in places including:

Richmond, Virginia, USA.

Open forum in Richmond, Virginia, USA, at the Institute’s first American Summer School, 1996 (S1954).

Krakov, Poland

Sandwich board with posters inviting people to take part in an interactive exhibition about the future of the Jewish quarter of Krakow. Organised with the Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum,  May 1996 (S1858).
Local residents discussing improvements  with Ros Tennyson (left) using a model supplied by the Institute, May 1996 (S1723).

Bath, UK

Institute students organise a street stall to engage with shoppers in Bath, 1997 (S2379)

Liverpool, UK

Design workshop at a John Thompson & Partners planning weekend in Liverpool, 1997 (S2440).

Viterbo, Italy,

Engaging with local politicians at the Institute’s European summer school in Viterbo, 1994 (Photocredit: Richard Ivey)

El Cerrito, California, USA.

Finding out local views on the city at an Institute American Summer School in El Cerrito, California, 1998 (Photocredit: Richard Ivey)

Sidon, Lebanon;

Post-it note workshop facilitated by John Thompson in Sidon, Lebanon, 1999, (S3340).

1996 – 99

Translations and adaptations of Action Planning published in Chinese…

Chinese edition cover, 1996


German edition cover, 1997

…and Czech.

Czech edition cover, 1999
Chinese delegation of architects and planners from Taiwan visit The Prince of Wales’s Institute of Architecture, 28 June 1995 (1995062815).
May Hsu, editor in chief and Ming-Cheu Chen, president of the Chuan Hsing Publishing Company discuss publications, 1995062804).
The Czech organisers of the translation of Action Planning at the book’s launch in Prague, 1999 (S3674 and S3673)



Publication of The Community Planning Handbook after extensive consultation, participatory editing and testing.

English first edition cover 2000



Community Planning Training and Development programme launched with 17 modules.

Flyer for the Community Planning Training & Development Programme 2001/02 Download pdf

Some photos from training sessions at the Prince’s Foundation’s converted warehouse in Shoreditch, London, 2001/02

Miffa Salter (S4015)
David Wilcox presenting, left, John Thompson in the front row, right (S4010).
Rob Cowan facilitating (S4077)
Session 6 (S4016)

Website launched, independent but supported by The Prince’s Foundation and others

Website screenshot, 2017. Link to website


Translations of The Community Planning Handbook published in Chinese and Korean

Community Planning Handbook Chinese translation cover, 2002
Community Planning Handbook Korean translation cover, 2008



Publication of The Community Planning Event Manual, an updated edition of Action Planning

English edition cover, 2008



Publication of Concertation citoyenne en urbanisme; la méthode du community planning, by Eléonore Hauptmann and Nick Wates, a French translation and adaptation of The Community Planning Event Manual

French edition cover, 2010



Publication of a Second edition of The Community Planning Handbook

Second edition of The Community Planning Handbook cover, 2014



Publication of 20/20 Visions: Collaborative planning and placemaking by Charles Campion of John Thompson & Partners; a collection of case studies of charrette style events

20|20 Visions cover, 2018


2000 – 2020

Prince’s Foundation uses Enquiry by Design process in numerous new developments. JTP conduct numerous community planning  events. Numerous training workshops delivered by Nick Wates  Associates in the UK and abroad.



This was a great project. Thanks to everyone who made it happen.  A rare example of joined up action research. More should be done.

Details of the publications mentioned in this blog can be found at:

Our books page

and /or

The NWA Shop

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