What is Community Visioning?

Community visioning is a planning tool that empowers people to express a vision for the future of their community. The process is designed to give residents, business owners, local institutions, and other stakeholders the opportunity to express ideas about the needs of their community. This public input process is community-led by community leaders who gather ideas, desires, and concerns from a broad, diverse, and representative audience to effect changes in their communities. 

Through a series of meetings, workshops, and surveys facilitated by local leaders, participants create a community vision: a written or visual statement that reflects the community’s goals and priorities and describes how the community should look and feel in years to come. Ideally, the vision shapes—and cultivates a sense of public ownership and community buy-in for—future preservation, land-use, and housing decisions and regulations in a municipality, county, or region. 

Partnerships for Parks  has supported community members with community visioning training since 2013, when it partnered with Hester Street Collaborative to create the People Make Parks program.  The program was designed as a leadership development initiative for dedicated park groups and volunteers who are interested in leading community visioning and facilitating collaboration between communities and NYC Parks in planning and designing parks and promoting community-led capital projects as an essential component to the NYC Parks Capital Process.

Why is Community Visioning important?

Community-led visioning builds trust, relationships and ideas through interactive activities conducted in places where people organically congregate. The activities are designed to engage people from different cultural backgrounds and languages, enabling a diverse, wide range of input on the park’s physical and programmatic needs.

How is visioning different from scoping?

NYC Parks scope meetings are agency-led and typically held once. In contrast, visioning is community-led over an extended period.

What is the future of Community Visioning?

One of the many casualties of the recent pandemic has been a sharp reduction in funding and staffing within NYC Parks that has led to the curtailment of the agency’s Community Visioning program. The A. Philip Randolph Square Neighborhood Alliance (the Alliance) seeks to restore this critical community resource by offering community visioning instruction to parks stewardship groups, community gardens, and tenant and resident associations as part of its mission to promote progressive community-driven planning working in concert with the district’s community board and elected officials. This year, we are happy to report that the Alliance submitted a grant proposal to the Citizens Committee to fund community engagement gathering and community visioning events. We are presently rolling out our first community visioning initiative focusing on capital improvements at the Harriet Tubman Memorial where the Alliance was awarded $175K to enhance conditions at the popular public destination.