National Park Service
Heritage Preservation Services   —   Historic Preservation Planning Program
Phoenix, Arizona Bird's Eye View, 1885

Planning Companion

Typical Planning Process

Planning & Historic Contexts  »

Comprehensive? »

scale »

scope »

Step 1.
Planning for Planning »

Step 2.
Creating a Vision »

Step 3.
Understanding the Resources »

Step 4.
Other Planning Factors »

Step 5.
Issues and Opportunities »

Step 6.
Goals and Objectives »

Step 7.
Implementation Strategies »

Step 8.
Producing the Plan »

Step 9.
Implementating the Plan »

Step 10.
Revising the Plan »

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A Typical Planning Process


There are a variety of approaches for developing plans, or ways of “doing planning.”

There is no "right" way to do planning; no single approach will be appropriate in all situations. You should become familiar with the way planning is done, and by whom, in the area that will be the subject of your preservation plan, and learn how preservation planning can integrate with other planning efforts most effectively.

The following information describes a very general, but typical process for developing a plan for the preservation of historic and cultural resources. You should tailor this process to your own planning situation.

As you read through the steps in this typical planning process, you will notice that it doesn't seem consistent with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for Preservation Planning. For an explanation of the relationship between historic contexts described in these Standards and Guidelines and the planning process outlined here, please select the link PLANNING & HISTORIC CONTEXTS in the left-hand menu.

The planning process described in this guide does not happen in a linear fashion, although this is how it is described in the sequence of steps below.

In practice, planning takes the form of a series of “feedback loops,” moving back and forth among the various steps. Information generated in one step feeds into the deliberations in another step and, in turn, refines conclusions in yet another step.

A brief version of this guidance for local communities is included in the Historic Preservation Planning for Local Communities pages on this web site.

Typical Steps in the Planning Process

Step 1. How Do We Do Planning? Planning for Planning

Step 2. What Future Do We Want for Our Heritage? Creating a Vision

Step 3. What Do We Know About the Historic and Cultural Resources in Our Planning Area?

Step 4. What Other Factors Should We Consider?

Step 5. What Issues, Threats, and Opportunities Need to be Addressed?

Step 6. How Will We Achieve Our Vision? Developing Goals and Objectives

Step 7. How Will We Put Our Plan to Work? Identifying Implementation Strategies and Tools

Step 8. What Will Our Plan Look Like? Producing the Plan

Step 9. What Actions Will We Take to Implement Our Plan?

Step 10. How Will We Revise Our Plan?

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