It's important to remember that implementation doesn't start here; the stage is set for implementation at the beginning of the visioning process. Everyone has an important role to play not only in the scenarios planning process, but also the vision and implementation process that follows. Because implementation strategies are typically voluntary, and each region or jurisdiction will have varied opportunities for realizing vision objectives, the suggestions and examples provided here are intended more to generate ideas and the development of specific strategies by local leaders than to prescribe a specific set of implementation steps. Each community and region will, in fact, need to create its own unique strategy.
Creating an Implementation Framework
Creating an implementation framework enables stakeholders and citizens to imagine and act on a variety of implementation pathways to further a common vision. With a common set of goals and principles for the future, we can move beyond asking "What do we want?" and move toward asking "How do we get there?" Broad public participation, an integral part of this process, makes the vision and its implementation framework politically feasible. Frameworks enable people to see that there is an action plan, and that plan helps articulate what actions individuals and agencies can take to help carry-out the vision, illustrating that everyone has a role to play. The implementation plan should link the various actions to people's values through use of the guiding principles.
Vision implementation is more likely with a framework that includes flexible tools and a range of techniques that can be used to accomplish the preferred outcomes of the vision scenario. Creating a locally relevant and regionally significant strategy to realize the vision can include region-wide actions, county level initiatives, and municipal approaches. Actual strategies will vary depending on specific priorities, existing codes, policies, and resources available. The following section outlines several optional approaches to implementation.
Increase Awareness of the Vision
Continued awareness efforts through presentations, newsletters and other media will keep the vision a priority, and remind the public and local officials what the process was and what the results were.
Report and Toolkit
A report geared toward implementation that summarizes the public process, emphasizes the role of the public and all stakeholders, recognizes common themes, and provides examples of comparable projects with successful outcomes will play an important role in implementing the vision. Including an implementation toolkit in the report is a great starting point. The toolkit can expand over time as jurisdictions adapt tools as well as create new ones. The intent of the toolkit is to provide an initial set of resources: a range of tools that are used successfully in other communities to achieve similar goals to those of your project area. Some examples of implementation tools are form based codes, economic development plans, design standards, and affordable housing strategies.
Either as an appendix or as part of the final report, an action plan of strategic short-term implementation steps and model ordinances may be created. This could also identify steps necessary to maintain the momentum of the visioning process. The action plan also identifies the actions individuals and agencies should take to carry out the vision.
Provide Toolkit Education and Training
Provide education and training sessions on tools to others that are interested in exploring them.
Organize an Implementation Committee
Ideally, there is an on-going caretaker for the vision to make a difference over time. This task involves working to identify an organization, or the development of a coalition of interests, to continue the dialogue about decisions into the future and to keep the vision alive. A process should be identified to keep the vision relevant, to share success stories across the area, and to highlight progress on the action plan.
Adopt Vision Principles
The various jurisdictions who participated in the vision could each sign a compact or other document signifying their commitment to implementing the principles. Principles could be adopted as an addendum to a general plan, or as a checklist by which proposed developments are evaluated.
Update the General Plan
The update ensures the general plan and vision are in alignment.
Update Zoning Ordinances/Develop New Zoning Districts
Current zoning ordinances might not permit, or guide, the types and locations of new development described by the vision. Updates make it easier for the private sector to develop the types of land uses outlined in the vision. New zoning districts may need to be developed to accommodate desired types of development.
Align Transportation Plans
Incorporate the preferred scenario into regional and local transportation plans. Future development preferences that are identified in the vision can be used to guide transportation development and investment. The vision scenario may highlight potential benefits that come from shifts in priorities as they relate to transportation. Aligning transportation plans can improve connections across a regional road network, identify long-term public transportation improvements, identify preferences for biking and pedestrian routes, and improve street connectivity.
Economic Development Plan
A plan to advance regional prosperity can retain and attract high-quality jobs for economic health; reduce municipal competition for sales tax revenue and encourage focus on providing needed services and higher-wage jobs; reduce economic development pressure on outlying lands; and create business-ready sites that build on existing synergy and strategic improvements to existing infrastructure.
Participate in a Critical Lands Inventory and Protection Strategy
Identify specific priorities and tools to accomplish goals.
Establish Performance Measures
This task involves establishing performance measures that can be used to understand the region's progress in implementing goals and strategies. This is similar to the set of benchmark criteria used to evaluate each of the scenarios, but these performance measures are instead used to measure current characteristics. Performance measures are identified, responsibilities for measurement clarified, and a process developed to compile and disseminate results on a regular basis. Measuring progress should also identify a mechanism for long-term accountability. Recognize, however, that significant progress will not come immediately but will take time.
A few areas could be selected to demonstrate how the vision can be implemented at a local level. The same principles of values, stakeholders, and scenarios can be applied at this level. As implementation occurs, other areas can learn from the demonstration project.
National Spotlight: The Oyate Omniciye | Oglala Lakota Plan
The Oyate Omniciye | Oglala Lakota Plan was created by looking at comprehensive ways to integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation and infrastructure investments in a manner that empowers the Oglala Lakota Nation. Among other things, the plan considers the interdependent challenges of economic competitiveness and revitalization; social equity, inclusion, and access to opportunity; energy use and climate change; and, public health and environmental impacts. This work takes place in the remote, rural portion of southwestern South Dakota within the geographic boundaries of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is home of the Oglala Band of Titonwan (Teton) Lakota of the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation).
The plan describes a bold vision for the Pine Ridge Reservation. An Implementation Workbook has been developed to help prioritize projects necessary to help achieve the initiatives outlined in the plan, assigns responsibility for completing the initiatives, and identifies some of the important first moves to get implementation underway.
What’s your strategy? We’ve outlined a few examples of implementation strategies and framework. Use the Developing a Strategy Worksheet to help develop an implementation strategy for your vision.