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PPS.org Home » Planning and Design Services » Our Approach » Building the Vision

Building the Vision
Even the worst place can turn into a great one if the local community shares a compelling vision for its future. To build a vision that resonates deeply with people, PPS facilitates a community-based process that engages the full range of local stakeholders. We bring diverse interests together to exchange ideas, producing high-quality, workable recommendations with broad impacts.
Before traveling to your site, PPS works with you to review all relevant background information, such as previous planning reports, historic data, studies, graphic materials, and recent media coverage. The review informs the agenda for the meetings and workshops that follow.
When we arrive, we conduct on-site observations and discuss the project with local stakeholders--civic leaders, municipal staff, professionals, and community representatives. These discussions set the stage for the heart of the process: the community workshop. The workshop engages the broadest possible range of local stakeholders--residents, business interests, neighborhood organizations, public officials, property owners, cultural institutions--to build a vision for improvement based on their needs and aspirations. It is a highly effective focused public discussion which creates a forum for the public, local government, not-for-profits and private interests to work together, laying the groundwork for successful implementation.
Using a method we call the Place Performance Evaluation Exercise ("Place Game" for short), we take groups of stakeholders on-site, where they harness their knowledge and intuition to determine how the place can best serve the community as a whole. The groups then reconvene to share their ideas for short- and long-term improvements, such as new programs, amenities, or design changes.
Whether the participants are schoolchildren or professionals, the exercise produces dramatic results because it relies on the expertise of people who use the place every day, or who are the potential users of the place. Those who know the space most intimately are the ones who really shape the vision. PPS makes recommendations based on these ideas, producing a report that summarizes the opportunities for improvement and outlines an overall implementation strategy.
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