BEST PRACTICES > PLANNING & VISIONING  
 

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Planning & Visioning

What is Planning & Visioning?

Planning is the process by which we capture community values, aspirations and direction. It involves developing a clear vision and a statement of goals, objectives and action strategies. A planning process incorporates overarching principles such as quality of life, creativity, sustainability, partnerships, inclusivity and diversity.

The "vision" is the big picture of what is desired for the future. The vision focuses planning and helps to direct actions. While there are many ways to develop a vision, it needs to be developed from within the community – a vision must be widely shared if it is to change anything. Visions are normally written, but could also be expressed through graphic art or other formats. It does need to be clear and brevity is generally desirable!

Why Planning & Visioning?

When carried out with a long term perspective, planning can...

  • Help to create a path or a sense of direction by moving toward an inspiring vision
  • Bring out new people, new ideas, and foster a sense of community
  • Inform difficult decisions and select priorities that strategically use limited resources
  • Serve as a touchstone that documents changes

Community-engaged visioning can...

  • Focus energy
  • Provide a foundation for effective team work
  • Set the guidelines and framework for decision-makers
  • Foster leadership by setting a target to work toward

How Do you Create a Plan?

The strategic planning process is led by existing staff, potentially municipal councillors, and sometimes consultants. The six key strategies for planning are:

  1. Identify Issues and Community Values: What are the key issues facing the municipality and what are the key values that residents share?
  2. Create a Vision: Engage your community to identify what you want your community to be like in the future. More information on Page 14.
  3. Set Goals and Objectives: Chart what you want to accomplish and how to get there
  4. Identify Action Strategies: These actions need to be doable, practical, and affordable
  5. Implement: Take action, stay accountable, and keep the community engaged
  6. Monitor, Evaluate and Update: The strategic plan is a living document which is regularly reviewed and improved

Looking for more? Please see page 41 for more resources on Planning & Visioning.

How Do you Create a Vision?

Step 2 above, “Create a Vision” can be done by taking the following steps:

  • Visioning works most effectively ?face to face?
  • Ensure that the community has the capacity and time to undertake a visioning process
  • Use facilitators that can sense resistance and guide changes in attitude
  • Prepare to accept a vision that incorporates the views of multiple groups
  • Visions should be recorded, whether in writing or other retrievable forms
  • Strive toward creating a vision that outlines effective methods for conflict resolution, rather than listing the solutions themselves
  • Evaluate and monitor your decisions - are they achieving your vision, or should the vision change?

Looking for more? Please see page 41 for more resources on Planning & Visioning.

Huron County: Planning for the Long Term

Huron County has one of the most ambitious – and long lasting – community economic development program in Ontario. Over a 25 year period, the county has encouraged staff to integrate both their planning and development work. Funding has grown exponentially, including the recent announcement of a partnership with the provincial and federal government.

The County produces a yearly Business Plan, which is matched by a Business Plan from the local Community Futures Development Corporation. Both contain clear visions, missions and targets based on values derived from community engagement. The results are reflected in the Huron County Official Plan, which lists key sectors and supporting policies.

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