Where Do We Want to Go?
Every successful plan needs a vision to guide it and one broadly shared by the communities the plan is for. One Region Forward will confirm such a vision as an early piece of the work, but we are not starting from scratch to define where we want to go. Buffalo Niagara has been talking about this continuously for years. We will continue that dialogue.
A Good Place to Start
Buffalo Niagara’s recent planning work provides a head start for defining where we want to go as a region.
Our region is not starting from scratch. We have collected, read, and analyzed more than 160 plans for Buffalo Niagara and the many parts of the region — counties, cities and towns, districts and neighborhoods.
For the broader regional planning efforts we are seeking to build on and coordinate with – the Framework for Regional Growth, A Strategy for Prosperity, and others, we have paid extra special attention.
A careful content analysis of these plans reveals a shared concern for a range of pressing issues. This is not the last word about our regional vision and values, but it is a familiar place to start the next conversation.
The Region Weighs In
Concerned citizens, community leaders, representatives from our business community, and our region’s elected officials were afforded an opportunity to weigh in on the initial regional vision during a series of meetings in late 2012/early 2013. Results of those meetings can be seen below.
Community Congress Vision & Values Meeting #1
January 29, 2013 Erie County
Over 200 citizens and community group representatives made their voices heard at our first Community Congress meeting in downtown Buffalo, NY.
Community Congress Vision & Values Meeting #2
February 2, 2013 Niagara County
Over 70 citizens and community representatives made their voices heard at our second Community Congress meeting in downtown Niagara Falls, NY.
Private Sector Council Vision & Values Meeting
November 14, 2012
Local chamber of commerce representatives and members of the development advisory council of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership were invited to provide perspective from our business and development community.
Local Government Council Vision & Values Meeting
November 13, 2012
Over twenty elected officials attended our first Local Government meeting to learn about One Region Forward and provide their input on the regional vision and values that can guide the plan.
Our Regional Vision & Values
- Build a more competitive, creative, prosperous, broadly shared, locally rooted, and sustainable 21st century regional economy.
- Manage infrastructure strategically, investing in existing areas and maintaining, removing, or extending urban systems to lower costs, improve efficiency and enhance quality of place.
- Expand transportation options to improve access to jobs, services, and recreation; meet the needs of students, elderly, and the transit dependent; move goods to market; and promote energy efficiency and safety.
- Repair, renew, redesign and preserve our housing stock and to provide healthy, affordable, and efficient choices to a changing population in neighborhoods that are great places, safe, accessible, well-served and distinctive.
- Protect farmland and forests, support farmers, promote sustainable farming, encourage urban agriculture, connect farms to local markets, foster value-added processing, cultivate agri-tourism, and ensure access to healthy, affordable, locally-sourced food.
- Use less energy, promote green energy through direct incentives, technology development and pricing policy, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while we prepare to cope with the impacts of climate change.
- Restore and protect our water, air, soil, wildlife habitat and other natural resources to promote a healthy ecology, economy and community.
- Protect and develop cultural, heritage, and architectural resources to preserve community identity, enrich daily life, create great places, attract visitors, and build our economy.
- Maintain, improve, expand and connect our parks, trails and greenways, waterfronts, recreation areas, and open spaces for a wide range of users, to protect the environment, attract visitors, and grow the economy.
- Foster collaboration, coordination, and strong implementation, share information widely, educate broadly, and plan with a diverse and engaged public including not-for-profit and community-based organizations, public bodies, and citizens in general.
How the Vision & Values Will Guide the Work Ahead
We have compiled all the public commentary from these events — from keypad polling and related discussions, from wall surveys and comment cards, and online input.
We’ll take the record of this dialogue, as well as from further invited conversations this spring, to produce a revised statement of regional vision and values. This will be shared on-line for further review and presented again at our Community Congress in fall 2013.
In the meantime, the revised draft statement will guide the efforts of the steering committee, staff, and working teams moving forward as we translate vision and values into more specific goals and objectives. These, in turn, will guide the development of tangible action items and performance measurements — also for further review in fall 2013.