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Visioneering

Best Practice Category

Complete Neighborhoods

Description

Those who live, work, and play within the community offer unique and applicable insights to the planning process for transit-supportive places. The Visioneering process is designed specifically to unlock the view of the community in a friendly, relatable way. As a result, the community’s opportunities and aspirations can be identified and their issues and concerns can be documented and addressed. The primary benefit of “Visioning” is to provide a better understanding of the community’s expectations.

The “Visioneering” process is designed to gather input from the broader community and representation from the cultural and geographic diversity of the community. Groups might include the Chamber of Commerce, Homeowners/Residents Associations, faith-based organizations, political groups, social service groups, and friends and relatives, etc. Each group has an enlightened self-interest to participate in the planning of their own community and this process gives them a tool to create meaningful input. Each group is invited to appoint volunteer “Visioneers” to reach out to their constituents. Active participation across multiple groups will help to ensure that the community’s views are fully represented.

Benefits of Visioneering are the low cost of implementation, the ability to reach deep into the community unlike other outreach methods, and community confidence in the outcomes.

Each Visioneer can choose from the following methods listed below to solicit community input:

  • Activity 1: Facilitate a discussion with a group you already meet with regularly.
  • Activity 2: Schedule a special meeting with a group you know about and facilitate a discussion.
  • Activity 3: Distribute the Idea Cards to a group or groups that fit the criteria described above.

Visioneers then collect the ideas and opinions from their activity and bring that information back to a contact person. The comments are then integrated into the project by the team’s leadership.

Visioneers are responsible for the following key tasks: Set-up and scheduling of discussions; advertising for the discussion and/or discussion and/or getting on meeting agendas; facilitating the discussion; and providing comments and sign-in sheets back to the contact person.

Visioneers are also asked to perform a photo survey revealing: (1) things that you like, and would like to see more of in the community, and (2) things that you do not like and do not want to see in the community. “Things” can be examples of architecture, uses, technologies, transportation methods, landscaping, or anything that helps to define a place. Visioneers can also be asked to take pictures of things that are not in the community. Examples can be found in any other area city, or anywhere around the world.

The kits are a “Do It Yourself” toolkit to help volunteers conduct community discussions. The kits provide a consistent format for groups to hold discussions about the project and an opportunity to feed these results into the planning process. The kits are simple to create using index cards. Elements are meant to be simply copied so that a lack of materials does not become an issue. An electronic version of the polling can be put in place to supplement the active efforts. In a world that has become complex, Visioneering is simple, personal, and efficient.

The workshop kit contains all the materials needed to facilitate and submit feedback from group meetings. To ensure consistency in analyzing meeting input, each kit contains identical background materials, agenda, and instructions for managing, facilitating, and recording the meeting. Each kit also includes instructions on how to prepare the group summary results.

Idea cards: Sample questions that have been tested include:

  • Where do you live? What makes where you live unique?
  • What are the two most important issues currently facing the community?
  • When I think about the community’s future, I am most pessimistic about…
  • When I think about the community’s future, I am most optimistic about…

Outcomes

  • Gather and record input from the broadest cross section of community residents
  • Encourages participants to stay involved in the process
  • Educates the public about the project

Examples

City of Claremont General Plan Update - The Visioneering process was developed for the City of Claremont General Plan Update by the consultant procured for the update. In this example, City staff trained more than 150 volunteers. The volunteers reached out to more than 2,000 community members.

County of San Bernardino General Plan Update - The Visioneering process was also used during the General Plan update for the County of San Bernardino. In that case, 450 volunteers gathered more than 8,000 responses.

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