The quest for ensuring the liveability and functionality of human settlements engages politicians, professionals, investors and not least local residents and stakeholders, often with divergent interests, with tasks of considerable complexity. The revitalisation of deprived communities, as well as the creation of sustainable new ones, is one of them, and the magnitude of the task requires appropriate techniques or models of engagement, based on robust and time-tested design principles, which involve local stakeholders at the earliest possible stages of the planning and development process. This presentation uses the case study of Knockroon, an urban extension to the town of Cumnock, Scotland master-planned by The Prince’s Foundation to illustrate an influential model of planning in practice.In the UK, the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, an educational charity established by HRH The Prince of Wales, which exists to improve the quality of people’s lives by teaching and practising timeless and ecological ways of planning, designing and building, has pioneered a collaborative planning approach called Enquiry by Design (EbD). It trusts in empowering people to join the design process and make a real difference to the design of their local communities. It also believes that successful towns – old and new – share certain design characteristics which, when deliberately applied to today’s town-making and appropriate technologies, result in enduring, thriving neighbourhoods that don’t damage the environment, result in improvements in public health and deliver development rooted in its location. In contrast to conventional development, where specialists who act in series often successively limit the outcome, direct interaction often results in the identification of new and better design possibilities, i.e. the process is proactive rather than the ‘normal’ sequentially reactive modal of planning. This collaborative, holistic and highly disciplined process harnesses the talents, technical expertise, local knowledge and energies of all interested parties to create and support a viable design solution. All concerns – technical, political, environmental and social – are tested and challenged by the design itself, so that the design leads rather than follows the process. At the close of the EbD the product, often a masterplan, is a shared vision for future development based on robust sustainable design principles. The intensity of the process can be disquieting to those in the habit of sequential meetings however, once experienced few doubt the capacity of such a process to be a more exciting, cost-effective and efficient means of civic engagement and community building than conventional public processes.The process is explained in detail through the example of Knockroon in Cumnock, one of the most deprived towns in Scotland. In July 2007 HRH The Prince of Wales put together a rescue package in conjunction with the Scottish Government, Historic Scotland and the Prince’s Charities to save Dumfries House and its contents from being sold at auction. Knockroon Farm formed part of the estate, and there was an opportunity to consider developing this land to strengthen links between the Dumfries Estate, Cumnock and the neighbouring town of Auchinleck. A five day Enquiry by Design was held by The Prince’s Foundation in February 2008 to explore potential options. The EbD resulted in the production of the Knockroon Masterplan, a blueprint for an urban extension to the town founded on sustainable principles. Thanks to the consensus building, consultative process Knockroon is being built as be a compact, walkable new neighbourhood whose design concepts have been inspired by the best architectural and town making traditions of Scotland. Although construction only commenced in April 2011 Knockroon is one of the most talked about recent developments in Scotland, in regards to the process used to produce the masterplan and for the nature of the development itself. In May 2009 the Scottish Government awarded Knockroon exemplar status under the Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative (SSCI) identifying it as one of 11 such projects within Scotland selected as best capable of demonstrating how sustainable communities can be delivered.