The Effective Planning Commissioner

The Planning Commissioner and the “Vision Thing”

July 15th, 1993
Article #431

Read an excerpt from this article below. You can download the full article by using the link at the end of the excerpt.

... A few years ago, the planning profession was convinced that communities could prosper only if they completed a process commonly called comprehensive planning. Sometime later, the operative phrase became strategic planning. Currently, it is visioning. Do not let the phraseology intimidate you! Under any name, the successful planning process is one that helps your community realize its unique values and goals.

Here's what we're talking about. The following is a guide to current "plannerese" -- planning jargon used to describe key steps in the planning process -- and suggestions about how you can make a difference each step along the way. ...

Benchmarks. This common word is often used in the visioning or planning process to define measurements of success. Benchmarks must be realistic, but they also should stretch your capabilities -- inspire your community to reach out beyond the here and now. A benchmark for recreation may state: "Every year for the next five years we will increase our parkland by ten acres." ...

End of excerpt

Elaine Cogan continues with guide to:

  • Environmental scan
  • Stakeholders
  • Values
  • Short and long-range plan or vision
  • Goals and priorities
  • Evaluation

photo of Elaine CoganElaine Cogan, founding principal of the Portland, Oregon planning and communications firm of Cogan Owens Cogan, has consulted for more than 36 years with communities undertaking strategic planning and visioning processes. Cogan has been honored for her work on a variety of citizen involvement projects.

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