This article questions the application of the theory of collaborative planning to the case of divided cities by looking at the revitalization process of the joint Nicosia master plan. The later is a joint planning activity of representatives of both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities. The article discusses a research project that set out to elicit perceptions of the revitalization process held by those in both parts of divided Nicosia by using a common interview methodology and argues that collaborative planning gives insufficient weight to the power play needed for the adoption of collaborative plans. Just as with the political affairs of Cyprus in general, the study of revitalization in divided Nicosia is embryonic, fragmented, and invariably raises contradictions. While the joint plan includes in its planning policy applying the principles of sustainable design criteria for the benefit of both Cypriot communities, there has been little emphasis on implying sustainability in the implementation process, with greater emphasis to achieving economic revitalization, than to sustainability. It is assumed that revitalization of historic cities contributes to sustainable development through the recycling of derelict land and buildings, reducing demand for peripheral development and facilitating the land of compact cities. But, the joint team, that is currently implementing the master plan on both sides of the ‘green line’, has yet fully to address the requirements for more sustainable design. This article seeks to lay the foundations for documenting such complex processes towards the consolidation of historic Nicosia using the notion of collaborative planning as a guide for the empirical investigations, in order to further an understanding of not only how the revitalization initiatives in planning contribute to sustainability, but also what the case of Nicosia may argue for other cases of planning in divided cities.