Strategic Visioning Workshop

2-5 days
Participatory Activity
Toolbox Themes
  • ParticipationInclude diverse stakeholders, sectors, and perspectives to improve and make more inclusive the urban planning process and results.

Define a shared vision, supported by goals, to guide the Strategic Development Plan and the overall planning process.

  • Definition of the vision and goals of the Strategic Development Plan (the Strategic component of the Plan).


The Strategic Visioning Workshop aims to collaboratively identify the long-term intentions of the city (for the next 15 years or the agreed timeframe of the plan) and set the basis of the strategic development plan. The strategic development plan localises the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda at the city level and aligns the global agenda with the national, regional and local planning framework. The vision acts as a trigger and guides the plan ambitions, creating opportunities and deconstructing challenges into goals and targets. 

“A strategic vision shapes a preferred future for the city. Many of the issues affecting cities partially stem from the lack of comprehensive strategic planning before making spatial decisions. Spatial planning is enriched if it is linked with a vision for the future that is holistic and is legitimised if this vision is collectively held. A successful vision has a spatial dimension that reflects a city’s unique cultural and physical traits; it provides direction for the activities of all stakeholders, encourages them to work cohesively and ensures everyone is working towards the same goal.” - United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) (2014) Urban Planning for City Leaders. 2nd Edition, Nairobi, Kenya.

The visioning workshop starts with an introduction on the international and national urban planning frameworks, to align the city's planning intentions with the national and global agenda. Present the reference documents and the main observations gathered in the T3 Matrix of References.

Secondly, the facilitators brief the participants about the outputs of Block D Analysis and Diagnostic, including the data collection and analysis, T21 S.W.O.T. Analysis, and T16 Participatory Incremental Mapping. Have printed versions of these materials for consultation during the activity. Participants are divided into smaller groups, according to the Sustainable Urban Development 5/6Ps (People/ Planet/ Partnerships/ Prosperity/ Peace/ Planning), in which they brainstorm key concepts for each of the vision components: image, purpose, mission, and values. Then they combine all ideas to formulate a sentence (the vision) that describes and represents their future city.

Example: “By 2030, Bissau will be a socially inclusive city with a sustainable urban development which is compact and resilient to climate change, functioning as a catalyst for the country’s economic development.”

Thirdly, participants identify the goals to achieve the vision, which are the main topics of the Strategic Development Plan. Sometimes targets can also be defined and linked to each of the goals. The goals and the targets should make linkages with the local, regional, national and international agenda, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement, and the New Urban Agenda.

Technical team, advisory committee, steering committee, and further key stakeholders.

  1. Prepare any required material for the session (T7 Workshop Checklist).
  2. Present the international and national urban planning frameworks previously gathered in T3 Matrix of References.
  3. Divide participants into smaller groups to brainstorm the main vision components: image, purpose, mission and values (T24 Strategic Visioning Workshop Guide). 
  4. Formulate the vision collaboratively and then vote on the best version. 
  5. Define the goals and targets aligned to the vision.
  6. Close the session presenting the final results. 
  7. If possible, include another participatory moment to invite other stakeholders, including the general public to vote and provide their input.
  8. The technical team consolidates the work and shares it publicly. 
Suggested agenda of a 1-day workshop

An agenda of the workshop should be presented by the team leader and made available for all participants to understand the development of the session. The time, length of each exercise and content are adjustable to the cultural context and the availability of the participants.

08:00 Registration and breakfast
08:30 Opening by the Mayor or the project manager followed by an introduction of each participant
09:00 Plenary session: Presentation of the international and national urban planning framework (key takeaways from the Matrix of References), outputs of previous planning activities
11:30 Coffee break
12:00 Discussion group: Formulation of the vision
13:30 Lunch break
14:30 Discussion group: Definition of the goals and targets
16:00 Presentation of the final results of the session
17:00 Closing remarks