The initial stage of the planning process focuses on the examination (assessment) of the planning issue.
The aim is to define planning objectives and various aspects of planning issues, partly through a discussion of benefits versus needs. External developments are examined and the future situation (scenario) is visualised. Specifications of the starting conditions and background situation are also prepared. An important aspect in this phase is to inform and build up mutual understanding. At the beginning of an integrated planning process, the stakeholders are often still widely divided. They all look at the problem from their own point of view and have yet to develop a common language that will ultimately help them to understand each other's position.
Different concepts and tools have been developed to support the development of common starting points and a shared understanding. These approaches give participants a rapid overview and understanding of issues and alternatives, so that they can study each of them in more detail before going into the next phase of the process.
Some examples of these tools are:
- TOPIC (Thematic Orientation on Project definition in an Interactive Context)
- RAP (Rapid Assessment Program)