Developing the Vision

Developing the Vision

At this point in the process alternative scenarios have been developed and stakeholders and community members have had an opportunity to examine each potential scenario and identify the preferred elements or alternatives within those scenarios that are worthy of exploring further into the future. These preferred elements are what eventually comprise the vision.

Residents' preferences should guide the development of the final vision. The fundamental premise of visioning is that those who live in an area have the right to determine the area's future. Visioning starts with values, which guide the creation, measurement, and communication of scenarios. Values also inform the final vision. The feedback collected during the scenario review process is combined with the values to arrive at the vision. The job of the stakeholder group is to ensure fidelity to the residents' preferences and to suggest strategies that will help the residents achieve what they want.

When evaluating input look for common preferences and ideas to help identify which pieces of each alternative scenario capture public sentiment. The next step in vision development is turning the preferences identified from public input into vision principles. Vision principles help a community or region define and articulate their common ground. The visioning process provides the demonstrated public support for the principles, as well as stakeholder buy-in, both of which are critical to implementation of the vision. Vision principles provide a bridge between the public visioning process and local action: each principle can be implemented locally in a variety of ways to address both local challenges and regional objectives.

The following vision principles were developed as part of the visioning effort in Cache Valley Utah

Create good paying jobs that are close to home.
Why do we want this? So we can provide for our families and keep our dollars local.

Protect, preserve, and improve our air and water quality, our wildlife habitat, our agricultural land, and scenic views.

Why?For our health, our safety, and our way of life.

city-countryIdentifying a vision statement may also be helpful. This is yet another great opportunity for group work and sharing among the stakeholder committee. The vision statement should reflect community aspirations and state the hopes and goals for the future of the community. The vision statement can also help develop a narrative for the vision—a memorable way to tell the story of the visioning process and hopes and dreams for the future. The vision statement should be something that is easily remembered and repeated. Let's look at another example from Cache Valley. The elevator speech at the front end of the visioning process was: "If we double our population and don't change our growth pattern then we will lose the character and quality of life we enjoy in our valley."

The back end of the process continues that ongoing message with a vision statement that states the desired future resulting from the conversations that were held throughout the process. The vision statement below was developed to express the community's common ground:

  • Keep the city, city: invest in our towns, our centers for living industry and culture
  • Keep the country, country: protect the agricultural and natural lands that sustain us

Another piece of visioning development that can be pursued is a vision map. Just like alternative scenarios were created earlier in the process, a vision scenario map can also be created. A vision scenario map is not a zoning map; rather, it's one plausible or possible way that a vision statement and vision principles could unfold on the ground over time. Developing a vision scenario map provides an opportunity to illustrate the benefits of implementing the vision.

The process of developing a vision scenario is similar to the development of alternative scenarios where stakeholders are involved, and transparency of the process continues to be maintained. This is important so the community understands that the vision scenario comes directly from the information that has been provided over time, and from the public ideas and preferences expressed during the process.

Modeling tools are used to evaluate the vision scenario and assess how it measures up to community goals and addresses stated values that were identified earlier in the process. The vision scenario is also compared against the baseline scenario, to determine if the vision reflects a desired future, or if more adjustments need to me made. Evaluating the vision scenario helps identify vision objectives—the goals or targets that support vision principles. (i.e. goals for increasing overall household affordability, transit ridership targets, etc.). Information about using modeling tools to evaluate scenarios is covered in greater detail in the technical analysis chapter of the booklet.

Developing the vision scenario may take several tries. Work on refining the vision scenario with your stakeholder committee to ensure compatible preferences and strategies are being used.

Once these visioning pieces are finalized, hold a vision summit or roll-out event for the public, and engage the media in helping to raise awareness of the vision and its benefits. Inviting project champions or a local celebrity to present the final vision to the public is one way to reengage the public. This event is an opportunity to celebrate the process while creating momentum that will provide the foundation for developing the implementation plans and actions needed to make the vision a reality.

A Closer Look: The Cache Valley Vision Principles

  1. Enhance existing towns and cities and maintain individual community identity by encouraging inward growth and more compact development and buffering community boundaries with agrarian and natural lands.
  2. Encourage mixed-use neighborhoods and town centers that include a variety of housing options that allow individuals and families to live close to where they shop, obtain services, go to school, work and play.
  3. Develop clean and sustainable industry and good-paying jobs close to home
  4. Provide a balanced transportation network with improved roadway connections, enhanced public transportation options, and streets that encourage bicyclist and pedestrian mobility.
  5. Invest in efficient infrastructure systems to serve existing communities and future growth. These systems manage such services as water, sewer, waste disposal, and energy
  6. Protect, preserve and improve air quality, water quality, wildlife habitat, agricultural land and the scenic beauty of Cache Valley.
  7. Maintain and improve access to recreation by connecting local recreational amenities to a regional network.
  8. Expand local recreational systems, providing small parks located near where people live and linked by trails for walking and biking
  9. Encourage close coordination among local governments, school districts, universities, businesses, and places of worship to address growth issues and implement the Cache Valley vision.


The Vision Principles worksheet will help you develop preferences into vision principles that articulate the community’s common ground.

pdfVision Principles Worksheet

A Closer Look: The Cache Valley Vision A Potential Picture

cachevisionThe Cache Valley Vision scenario maps on the next page illustrate one of many plausible ways that growth could unfold as the vision principles are implemented. Best viewed as a story rather than a prediction, the purpose of the maps is to highlight ideas embodied in the vision principles—from growing inward and maintaining communities that are distinct from one another, to safeguarding our agricultural and natural lands. The maps are not intended to be prescriptive.

cityKeep the city, city

countryKeep the country, country

Individual communities could implement the principles in many ways to have both local relevance and meaningful regional impact. The vision maps do, however, enable comparison with the baseline scenario, providing a snapshot of potential benefits if the vision is implemented. They show reduced infrastructure costs, fewer vehicular emissions, reduced impact on farmland, and lower housing costs.