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This article addresses how elected and appointed local government leaders can help develop an authentic and comprehensive community vision to steer their communities during times of upheaval or relative calm. We discuss community visioning and strategic planning as tools that help communities understand current realities and trends, articulate desired conditions for the future, and develop and implement strategies for achieving those conditions. We begin by defining “community visioning,” its relationship to strategic planning, and the place of these ideas in a broader stream of collaborative governance concepts. Then, drawing on the experiences of three North Carolina communities, we outline general principles of successful community change, highlighting how they specifically relate to community visioning and strategic planning. Finally, we suggest some issues for local government leaders to bear in mind as they consider how their community might benefit from visioning.

Cite as:

Altman, L., S. More, R. “Creating Their Own Futures: Community Visioning and North Carolina Local Governments.”

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Lydian Altman, Ricardo S. Morse
Strategic Planning