Communities are increasingly using
VISIONING as a public participation technique. Its purpose is to build consensus regarding a community's common future. Visioning is a useful and accepted part of the comprehensive planning process
The Town of Loxahatchee Groves has completed the Strategic Visioning Process. The Town used the services of Analytica (a strategic visioning firm headed by Dr. Herb Marlowe) for this process.
CLICK HERE FOR THE TOWN'S STRATEGIC VISIONING PLAN
What is Visioning?
Visioning is a process by which a community defines the future it wants. Through public involvement, communities identify their purpose, core values and vision of the future.
• Emphasizes community assets rather than needs.
• Assesses community options and opportunities on the basis of shared purposes and values.
• Stresses early and continuous public involvement in the process.
• Acts as a stand-alone process or part of a comprehensive planning process.
A visioning exercise can bring a community together as people recognize their shared values and purposes, and articulate a shared vision of their community. The vision serves to layout
what the community should look like physically, socially and environmentally in 5, 10 or 20 years. A visioning exercise creates a sense of ownership in community residents to the extent that they want to see their vision come to fruition over a period of years.
A Consensus-Building Technique
Within a comprehensive planning process, visioning can be used as a consensus-building technique. Visioning facilitates the development of an effective comprehensive plan by focusing attention,"on how to organize collective thought and action within an inter-organizational network in which no one person, group, organization or institution is fully in charge': Multi-jurisdictional initiatives, for example, may benefit by using visioning to build consensus on core values and to help people realize that despite differences they share many of the same long-term goals.
What are the Results of Visioning?
The results of visioning can include:
• An overall community vision statement
• Thematic vision statements that can address all the elements of the comprehensive planning law ("Smart Growth"), such as housing, transportation and natural resources. (A visioning process must remain focused on visioning and not drift towards too much detail or specific solutions.)
• Better communication lines developed within the community.
• Context for consideration and adoption of long-range functional goals and related policies.
• A"sounding board" during inventory and analysis of data. Asking how trends and other data fit into your community's vision can spur a more useful discussion about it.
• Grounded discussions and decisions when devising land use criteria and resulting policies.
• "Human glue"when naysayers challenge the adoption of your community's comprehensive plan.
How can Visioning be Incorporated into a Comprehensive Planning Process?
There are at least two approaches that can be used to bring visioning into the planning process. Many communities develop a vision at the beginning of the planning process that acts as a guide for the rest. Conducting visioning at the beginning of the process builds a foundation upon which to build and evaluate the rest of the process. Citizens feel they are in control and that their input is meaningful when visioning is conducted early on.