In the year …

A vision statement is description of an aspiration. It is intended to serve as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action. This activity will help you work with community members to develop a collective vision statement for a space that you’re looking to improve.

Time Frame
20 - 40 minutes
Group Size
In a quiet workshop setting, with tables and chairs.
Focus Areas
Cities, neighbourhoods, streets, parks, and public spaces
Age Group
8 and up
Materials List
  • Markers
  • Small sticky notes (3″x3″)
  • Large sticky notes (8″x6″)

STEP 1: Get into groups

Divide everyone into smaller groups of 5 – 10 people. Each group should have a stack of small sticky notes (around 10 per group member), large sticky notes (around 10 total), and markers (at least 1 per group member). Each group should have a facilitator to make sure that the activity runs smoothly.

STEP 2: Individual brainstorming.

For 5 minutes on their own, ask group members to use the small sticky notes to write down as many different ways they would complete the following sentence:

In the year…, [insert year & name of space] will be ______________________________.

Instruct them to use one sticky note for each idea. For example, if I had three ideas, I would use three sticky notes to complete the above sentence:

Sticky note #1: “a pedestrian paradise”

Sticky note #2: “a family-friendly destination”

Sticky note #3: “the most well-used public space in the city”

Once the five minutes is over, each participant should have a small stack of sticky notes one idea per sticky note.

STEP 3: Idea sharing

In each small group, the facilitator should ask each participant to take turns sharing what they wrote on their sticky notes and provide any additional explanation/detail. As each person shares out an idea, they should post the associated sticky note on a nearby flat surface, such as a table or a wall, so that the entire group can clearly see it.

STEP 4: Categorize

Once everyone in the small group has shared their ideas and all the sticky notes are clearly displayed on the table/wall, ask group members to identify any major themes that emerged from the sticky notes. Re-arrange the sticky note ideas into columns, so that each column represents one clear theme. Some ideas will fit nice and neatly into a single theme, while others may end up in a “miscellaneous” or “other” column.

Place one large sticky note at the top of each column. On each large sticky note, write down a short description of the theme that was expressed in the associated column.

STEP 5: Form a collective statement.

Looking at the column headers, work collectively to craft a vision statement that captures all the major themes that your group developed. For instance, if the theme headers are “AGE-FRIENDLY”, “WALKABLE”, “A DESTINATION”, and “SAFE”, perhaps your vision statement looks sounds a little bit like this:

“In the year 2030, [location name] will be a walkable destination that is safe and welcoming towards people of all ages.”

Each group should write down the full vision statement they developed on a separate large sticky note.

STEP 6: Share-outs

Once each small group has developed a vision statement, ask a representative from each group to share their group’s vision statement with the rest of the room.

Collect the vision statements from each group and use them to create a cohesive vision statement that will guide the next phases of your project.