This article probes into two non-governmental planning initiatives in the bombed cities of Coventry and Rotterdam. It articulates planning practices by non-state actors at the local level during the 1940s and early 1950s. These practices comprise a set of alternative visions on urban reconstruction and the regeneration of the urban community. Most of these social planning experiments were thwarted by the authorised planning schemes of public authorities from the early 1950s onwards. However, in engaging with recent historiography on post-war urban planning, these non-governmental experiments disclose that urban reconstruction and planning was not an uncontested or monopolised top-down endeavour that was initiated exclusively by public authorities and professional planners in the 1940s.