Under the professional guidance of the planning team im-plan-tat and mecca, the first step involved carrying out a strengths and weaknesses analysis. On the search for a micro-regional identity, it became clear relatively quickly that the Dunkelsteinerwald is a link that connects all municipalities in the region. The Dunkelsteinerwald should not only be a place for local people to live in but also a local recreational area for those from the surrounding area seeking relaxation. Great potential is also offered by the use of renewable sources of energy and the unspoilt nature and scenery.
Micro-regions have eight topic areas available to them for the setting of priorities; according to federal criteria, micro-regions have to choose three of them. In any event, they have to process the topic of Micro-Regional Identity and Marketing as a fourth priority. The Dunkelsteinerwald municipalities together with citizens and stakeholders decided on the following three priorities:
- Economy and value added
- Health and social affairs
- Leisure and local recreation.
Towards the end of the concept phase, each of the small groups worked on the detailed planning of one key project per topic. The result was a regional industry directory and business exhibition, the design of new hiking routes as well as the possibilities of daycare facilities in the Dunkelsteinerwald, all of which were planned and prepared for implementation.