The global challenge of providing sanitation services to the un-served underlines a need to change the way in which sanitation planning and service provision is approached. This paper offers a framework for categorizing sanitation projects planning processes based on planning steps and procedural planning theory to help engineers and sanitation planners gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics of these processes. The analysis identifies and discusses trends in both guidelines and actual sanitation programs. The results show that contemporary sanitation planning guidelines and field projects utilize patchwork processes of different planning modes, although the step of designing options is dominated by an expert-driven, rational-comprehensive approach. The use of planning theory can help engineers to ask critical questions about the objectives of the planning process and to develop context-appropriate planning processes that will make a difference for improving sanitation service provision.
Keywords: planning theory, process, sanitation, service provision