The project discussed in this paper represents the participatory planning of Kocaeli in Turkey, which uses the "action research" approach, a more powerful approach compared to conventional approaches with respect to the value of democracy in city-wide decision-making and the actionable outcomes salient to the needs of the community. The use of action research in planning integrates research, theory, and action. It helps manage the change through action in the process of participation, while enhancing democratic dialogue within a changing power structure. The Kocaeli project takes a position in the "process" in order to understand the non-rhetoric, and in turn, to lead to social change. The literature often provides inadequate information about procedural descriptions and methodological means, which enable research to operate in practice. This paper focuses on developing a participation model for such a process. I present the project in five sections: (1) the context; (2) the research strategy; (3) the process principles; (4) the outcomes; (5) lessons learned.