What is a Masterplan?
A masterplan is a guide for the future development of a particular area. A comprehensive masterplan can help shape not only the physical development of a community, but also its social, cultural, economic and political future as well. Masterplans articulate both short-term and long-term goals of a community, providing a vision for the next 20 to 25 years.
As a process, a masterplan works to bring a community together to determine its shared values and its shared vision for its future. Town meetings are held and surveys conducted to solicit public input into the plan. Goals are discussed and objectives are articulated to allow these goals to be accomplished. Community assets are identified which may help achieve these goals, and liabilities are identified which may hinder these goals. The community votes to adopt the plan, which is then sent to the county for adoption. Regional, state and federal officials also review the masterplan, though they neither adopt nor reject its outcomes.
As a product, a masterplan provides an economic tool to recruit new business and investment in the community, and to strengthen existing businesses; a political tool to encourage civic improvements and ensure appropriate municipal services; and a legal tool to give the community a greater voice in outside decision-making processes which affect their town.
Masterplans are intended to be flexible, 'living documents,' which can be changed and amended over time to respond to the changing values of a community. The masterplanning process should set in motion a continued conversation about the goals and objectives of a community and its future.
25 Years Ago Today...
A masterplan helps shape a vision for the future of a community. Typically, a masterplan will imagine a community 20 to 25 years into the future. It is often a difficult task, particularly in a small town, to imagine things any differently than they are today.
One exercise that can be useful in imagining a possible future 25 years from now is to remember back to how different life was just a generation ago. 25 years ago today...
© 2008 The Institute for Small Town Studies