Building a Local Vision


Building a Local Vision

Having a well-defined vision is essential for concentrating everyone’s energy in the same direction and making progress. Understanding what each team member is motivated by and dreams of is a process that needs the appropriate time, skill and processes to draw out. Those individual ideas, values and aspirations need to come together to build a local project vision so that team members understand one another and the local vision. This can be a great team building exercise at the beginning of a project; bring clarity to individual thinking; bring understanding amongst team members; inspire others to join your project; and bring back focus later on while lost in the thick of things.

Communitree works together with the local community to develop a shared, local vision for the space we work in. This is a very important step and it generally takes quite some time and energy. From our point of view, we aim to encourage participation and vision building among the local community members, rather than steering the vision building process. Throughout the process, we make it clear that our wish is to green the area, but this can be done in many ways and we leave it up to the community to come up with ideas.

The vision building process is supported by a series of local community activities, workshops, public meetings, and other events. The exact format depends on the area and the particularities of the community. Some of our activities include:

  • Public brainstorming: get-togethers with members from the community, in which everybody can raise their voice. These events are introductory events in which nothing is decided on and the only goal is to get as many ideas out there as possible. This is also a good way for the community to get to know the team of Communitree, as well as our partner organizations in their community.
  • (Drone) photography and filming: together with our local partner organizations we collect as much photographs and video clips from around the neighborhood, taking stock of the current setup and what is happening in the area. If possible, we use drone photography to get an aerial perspective which gives a birds-eye view of the layout as well as public spaces. This also helps the local community envision their neighborhood better, as it gives unparalleled insights into their own area.
  • Inspirational visit: we rent a minibus and invite community members to join us on a tour around the city or the region. We will visit urban greening or otherwise relevant projects that provide inspirational input. During these visits photos and videos will be taken and brought back to and shared with the rest of the collaborators in the community.
  • Mapping exercises: together with the community we will work on drawing up maps for how to implement our projects together. This includes greening, but also the other activities that the local organizations and community stand for (like reserving space for parks, sport fields, or urban farming).
  • Diorama workshop: we set up a workshop in which people in the community can create dioramas (as well as drawings, paintings, or other representations) of their area. We task them to envision their community in the future, in a dream scenario. These workshops will also be coordinated with local schools to include kids and young people, in addition to adults.

After all these efforts, various possible future scenarios will be developed, based on all the input from the community, the outcome from the workshops, etc. Communitree will work together with local artists to represent these visions, and they will then be exhibited during a final event within the community. During this event, and for a short period thereafter, people from the community will be asked to vote for their favorite vision. In principle, Communitree and its partner organizations will adopt the vision that gathers most support from the community. However, we will have to see if this approach proves viable or if it needs to be adjusted along the way.

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