Since the demise of the ‘cold war’ that pitted Western Europe and the United States against the Soviet Union, the world's attention has been dominated by smaller inter-state and intra-state conflicts often centered on ethnic differences but with roots in superpower rivalries. An instructive example of such conflicts exists in Cyprus, which arose during the height of cold war politics and has outlasted both the cold war and many of the disputes that have consumed the majority of the world's attention in recent years. Since the physical division of the island in 1974 into separate Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot zones, communication between ordinary citizens has been cut off, creating a serious obstacle to the development of a citizen peace-building movement. Beginning in 1994, participatory planning and design methodologies have been applied with several groups of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in a systematic attempt to develop and implement an agenda for citizen peace-building activities. Using these methodologies the groups developed a heightened mutual understanding of the situation in Cyprus and a stronger sense of teamwork, while carrying out a variety of projects related to citizen peace building. This paper summarizes the activities involved in these efforts, poses a number of research questions about the applications of such methodologies, and draws upon the work in Cyprus to address these questions. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.