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Vision comes from the Latin “visio” meaning “to see.” A scan of the dictionary reveals several definitions of “vision,” including seeing something in a dream, and the act or power of imagination. To have a vision means to look ahead; to imagine the future. The ability to imagine or dream the future — to create in our minds something beyond our present reality — is a distinctly human skill. History has shown that seeing something in the mind’s eye is often the first step to actually achieving it.
As used in planning, visioning is a process by which a community envisions its preferred future. It chronicles the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of a community and helps citizens agree on what they want their community to become.
Communities everywhere are being buffeted by the winds of change. Many are scrambling just to keep pace, while others find themselves stuck in a hand-to-mouth cycle of trying to stretch scarce resources from one fiscal year to the next. In such an environment, communities will oftentimes conduct business in a reactive mode with little or no regard for the long-term.
In response to this, communities have been searching for ways to become more proactive. Taking time to step back from present day concerns and envision how things should be in the future has emerged as a preferred strategy for getting ahead of the “change curve.” Visioning has gained popularity, in part, because communities have come to realize that they do not have to be at the mercy of their environment. Through the power of planning communities are discovering that they can choose to act — rather than wait to be acted upon. …
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