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Q: Can children participate in visioning?
A: Sure. For instance, children can participate by preparing drawings and writing essays about the future they'd like to have. They know what makes them happy.
Q: How will visioning affect every day decisions?
A: When people have a common vision, their every day activities all work towards a common goal -- attaining their vision. People working together towards a common goal is a powerful force.
Q: How can we stop the changes that are happening in our community?
A: It's impossible to stop change. The key is to be proactive -- prepare for change. Make the changes now in local regulations that will help guarantee the future you envision. A common community vision will make that easier. Remember, developers generally just propose what is allowable under the law.
Q: How does "visioning" differ from "strategic planning"?
A: Strategic planning often does not reflect a community's shared values or provide a coherent sense of direction. Citizen input is often limited with most, if not all, decisions being made by a core group of people. Visioning, which is based on extensive public input, evolved from strategic planning.
Q: How long does visioning take?
A: It depends on to what extent the public is involved. The higher the level of public involvement, the longer the process, possibly 6 months to a year or more. However, the higher the level of public involvement, the better the consensus and the buy-in to a common vision.
Q: Should we have an artist make sketches of our vision?
A: Displaying your dreams on paper will help ensure that everyone is interpreting your vision the same way. It will also help you make decisions among different scenarios. And, it will help point out areas or issues that may have been missed.
Q: How many alternative futures should we envision?
A . There is no set number. Some communities may choose to have one overreaching vision of the future to work towards. However, it may be useful to present variations of future scenarios which depict several key issues that the community faces. In some cases, communities may create vision statements and future scenarios which correspond to different areas of concern such as the natural environment, public health, civic involvement, sustainable economies, education goals, etc.
Q: We do not have sophisticated computers or a Geographic Information System. Can we still do visioning?
A: Yes! Computers and GIS are only tools to help compile, sort and evaluate data and information. Visioning only requires knowledge of where your community is now and where it is going. Then it is up to community members to decide where you want to be in the future. Simple, hand-drawn graphics and illustrations can be as powerful in communicating ideas as sophisticated computer-generated maps and databases. Imagination is a key component in the visioning process.
Q: Where should we look for financial help to do the visioning process?
A: Local businesses, including banks, may be a good source. Money may also be available through grants from your county or state government or from private foundations. We have listed a number of funding sources in our Financial Resources section. And, local citizens may be willing to donate their services in the areas of advertising, copying, recording meetings, etc.