Even with all the high-tech aids at our disposal, getting from the proverbial ‘point A’ to ‘point B’ these days can be a daunting task. There is one old-school approach, however, that still has its merits. That is, one can still find direction and goal-setting to be much easier with a little bit of planning.
Strategic planning is a tool that is useful for guiding day-to-day decisions and also for evaluating progress and making course adjustments along the way. Its principles can be applied on a personal, organizational, or community level.
On a community level, it could be referred to as comprehensive land use planning. Why would one want to create or update a comprehensive land use plan?
- To revisit the vision of what residents want for the future of their community
- To see the big picture of how the community’s economy, environment, and culture are intertwined
- To obtain a reassurance that everyone in the community shares in its improved well-being
- To select and agree on some common goals of the community
- To find out how much time, money, and other resources are needed to support positive community change
- To gain the support of Federal, State, private and non-profit partners in developing one’s community
Strategic planning principles were applied as part of the recent enVision Fayette County effort. Fayette County Extension played a central role in convening local and external resources and community residents to revise and update the Fayette County comprehensive land use strategic plan.
One of the partners was OSU’s Knowlton School. Graduate students from the City and Regional Planning program helped with data collection and development of the final report. In addition, to engage a diverse group of county residents, students used an online survey to collect feedback on priorities and goals and a website and Facebook page to communicate the planning process and opportunities for engagement. They participated in community events and engaged with residents to discuss community needs and concerns. Furthermore, they hosted four interactive public meetings to familiarize community stakeholders with the planning process.
The participating stakeholders were many, and included, for example: townships, villages and municipalities, county government, school districts and the non-profit/for profit organizations and agencies. In addition to identifying directions and resources available for pursuing them, participants realized the value of working together in pursuit of community goals.
‘Old-school’ strategic planning mixed with high-tech tools for engaging a variety of stakeholders; a winning approach for moving a community from point A to point B.
To learn more about this local effort, contact Godwin Apaliyah. To learn more about ways to engage others in organizational or community planning, see OSU Extension’s organizational capacity programs.
Godwin Apaliyah is a County Extension Educator in Fayette County (Miami Valley EERA).