An operational urban development relying on the structured cooperation of the public and private sectors is indispensable to purposefully address the challenges posed by sustainable development. Its evolution in Hungary may serve as inspiration for other countries as well. In the period preceding the regime change, it underwent a much more significant disruption as compared to regulation-based urban development. Afterwards, its methods, procedures, and instruments suitable for use in a democratic rule-of-law state and under market economy conditions had to be rebuilt from scratch. For this to happen, two external factors provided assistance: the French–Hungarian urban development cooperation and the EU. As a result, we could witness the successful development of the methods as well as of the conceptual, strategic, and operational planning tools forming a coherent system of operational urban development planning carried through with the public sector’s physical intervention into the urban tissue.