FAQs

What is Community Visioning?

What does Community Visioning do?

Why is Community Visioning Important?

Who can participate in Community Visioning?

How does public participation help in the visioning process?

What are the levels of citizen participation?

What role does interactive mapping play?

How experienced do individuals need to be to operate these participatory programs?

How can I get started?

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What is Community Visioning?
Community Visioning is a ground-up participatory technique that involves the community in defining what its future objectives are. The residents and other stakeholders provide input and identify what values, goals, and strategies are important to them prior to the creation or re-adoption of a comprehensive plan.

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What does Community Visioning Do?
Community Visioning gives residents and other community stakeholders the ability to identify the regions opportunities and challenges as well as delineate a direction for the future.

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Why is Community Visioning Important?

The demand for community visioning seems highest where the character of the community has already changed or is going through the process of changing due to increased development pressure. Unchecked development has fiscal and quality-of-life repercussions that often lead to public dismay, or even outrage. High-development pressure communities soon find themselves struggling to provide appropriate venues for public input.

Visioning gives planners and public officials the most accurate picture of the community. The visioning process involves broad outreach to all public stakeholders from varying segments of the population. They are the people most attuned to community needs, and most affected by land use decisions. This additional public perspective will bring issues and ideas to light that would otherwise likely have been missed by a single processional or small group of officials. Also, involving a large and diverse group helps in prioritizing community needs by reducing the chance for personal bias that is prevalent in top-down planning processes.

Broad public involvement and reducing bias goes a long way toward gaining public trust in government. Because the public was involved throughout the process, from initial brainstorming through prioritizing and strategizing, they now feel that they have a stake in the end product. Accordingly, public officials will find it easier to implement the planning initiatives called for in the vision document.

Finally, while there is an up-front cost associated with community visioning, the process often proves more cost-effective in the end. As stated earlier, community visioning enhances public trust and support for planning initiatives. All too often, even the best-intentioned initiatives are slowed or stopped because the public is ill informed and thus weary of the end-result. It is not uncommon for a community to give up on a planning initiative due to public backlash, only to come back to the same initiative years after the community has been engaged in a visioning process. This common occurrence is redundant and wasteful. Had the public officials sought community input early in the planning process, a lot of time and money could have been saved.

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Who can participate in Community Visioning?
Anyone! For the purpose of explaining public participation the “public” will be organized in the following categories:
Public (those affected by a decision or program)
– Those who are directly affected physically, financially, and mentally.
– Those who have personal value or vision (often outsider)
Area expert or professional
– Those who bring important knowledge or information
Decision Maker
– Organization representatives, elected or appointed officials

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How does public participation help in the visoning process?
It promotes information sharing, invites openness, and the ability to visualize concepts enhances public confidence in the process and/or project

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What are the levels of citizen participation?
There are several levels of public participation, beginning with the minimalist public hearing approach, where citizens react to plans that have already been drafted, Next, there are public meetings where officials or an appointed stakeholder group presents ideas and asks for public input during the planning process. The final and most inclusive approach is community visioning. Prior to the creation or re-adoption of a comprehensive plan, the community holds a series of public workshops to assess current conditions and build a consensus for the community’s future.

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What role does interactive mapping play?
With interactive, web-based mapping technologies, individuals can make their voices heard, or share ideas with other members of the public. It not only provides the public with up-to-date information, but also empowers them with a tool to review and analyze the data. With information comes power, which in turn, gives the public a voice. By having more readily available information the public should be able to assess the affect of the planning or development activities.

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How experienced do individuals need to be to operate these participatory programs?

With current web-portal technologies one can easily develop their own blog or website where they can share ideas and communicate with other users. And, recent GIS development and web-mapping portals enable individual citizens to utilize GIS without having any technical sophistication. Using Google My Maps, CommunityWalk.com, or Mappler.com, any individual can create a web-based mapping application without prior expereince in GIS.

Without knowing the term “GIS”, many people are aware of Google Maps and MapQuest, most people are using GIS in their daily lives, and it is ready to be used for many more potential applications in various fields.

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How can I get started?
You can find our information in the Contact Us portion of the website, after that, leave the rest to us! We will tailor a program to fit your community’s needs.

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