Master planning has undergone a revival in recent years. However, significant demographic and social changes are also occurring amid constraints resulting from the current economic stagnation, reduced public spending and the drive to respond to environmental imperatives. These conditions challenge the feasibility of applying master planning practices as they were conceived of in the past. The traditional view was that master planning was a design-led activity concerned with the architectural form of buildings, spaces and infrastructures. This is outdated and inadequate for coordinating the plural processes of developing sustainable places that satisfy social, functional, economic and environmental requirements as well as realizing visually pleasing town scape. Master planning requires both a business planning component, without which there is no delivery, and a governance component, without which the physical strategy has no legitimacy. A more adaptive master planning approach is required. The paper proposes how a flexible master planning process can provide a basis of a suitable approach for the development of sustainable settlements.