The Heartland Vision was created from the beginning to be a reflection of the needs and desires of the region’s residents.
The planning process coordinated input and feedback from the Heartland 2050 committees, research teams and the general public — ensuring opportunities at every level for people to contribute to this important discourse. The project unfolded in four phases.
Phase 1: Value Surveys
The first phase was core values baseline research conducted during summer 2013. By asking residents of the region to identify the most important factors of our region’s quality of life, today and in the future, we gained tremendous insight into the core values that affect our happiness and satisfaction. This information helps us understand what aspects need safeguarding to make our region and communities even better. It also provides a way to gauge the success of the vision’s goals and strategies.
Phase 2: Visioning Workshops
The second phase in fall 2013 was community visioning workshops. Eighteen regional and small-area community visioning workshops were held throughout the eight-county study area. Using a regional map, Monopoly-style chips and markers, residents literally mapped out the future development of their county for the next 40 years. In addition to participants creating 120 maps showing their ideal growth patterns, they also answered instant polling questions as part of these workshops.
Phase 3: Shape Our Future
In the spring of 2014, phase three was launched. It consisted of a series of Shape Our Future open houses around the region and a scenario selection survey utilizing an interactive tool called MetroQuest. Based on all the work of the committees and research teams, as well as all of the public input that had been gathered, four possible growth scenarios were created.
Each scenario shows the long-term impacts of land use decisions on our region’s people, places and resources. Survey participants were asked to weigh in on the possible development patterns, identify their top concerns for the region, and indicate preferences for public spending.
Phase 4: Regional Vision Development
With the help of the Vision Committee — a special committee made up of nearly 100 members of the Technical Stakeholder, Equity & Engagement and Steering Committees — all the feedback from phase three was used to help create the refined Heartland Vision Scenario and guide the development of the Vision goals, strategies and actions. Phase four is the culmination of the planning process with the release in November 2014 of the final vision for long-term growth, as well as a set of goals and strategies to help achieve them.
The Heartland Vision is a blueprint for our future. With the common set of principles and goals for the future — and bolstered by an action plan — we can now move beyond asking, “What do we want” and begin answering, “How do we get there?”