Announcing Future Regions
The Local Government Institute of Wisconsin is excited to announce the kick-off of Future Regions!
What are Future Regions?
It is an initiative to bring key community stakeholders together to discuss the future of their community and prepare a plan for addressing an important issue that involves multiple organizations.
We will be using a planning process called Strategic Foresight. This entails looking at the future through a lens of multiple scenarios – different events that might unfold in the community over the next 20 years. Most planning processes look at the future through a single lens – the shared vision, the single desired future for the community. We believe the act of key stakeholders discussing multiple possible futures and then together creating a plan to address an important issue affecting them will make communities better able to deal with any issue that arises over time.
One of our objectives, since we are the Local Government Institute, is to engage local units of government as key community stakeholders. Future Regions will model the characteristics that local governments need to remain relevant to their communities:
How Does It Work?
Future Region workshops will engage local units of government, key community organizations, businesses and involve members of the community that are typically not seen when decisions are made. If your community is accepted as a Future Region you can expect to actively participate in three day-long workshops. The first workshop will focus on trends impacting your community/region (see updated STEEP Trends document). The second workshop will engage participants in discussing various scenarios that may unfold and impact the community either positively or negatively. Common threads are found between the responses to the scenarios that allow a realistic/viable vision to emerge. From that point participants will work backwards to understand what they need to do together today to address the important issues. Finally, the third workshop will be all about getting things going through Strategic Doing.
We know that many Wisconsin communities are facing big issues and dwindling capacity to deal with them. We have created this program to explore whether collaboration and engagement can help communities build capacity to achieve their goals.
How Can We Become A Future Region?
We will be selecting three Future Regions per year for the next three years. A Future Region may be a small City or Village and their surrounding townships, several nearby municipalities and their County, or multiple counties and their key municipalities and townships. The possible configurations that could comprise a Future Region are endless. The key thing is the desire to start talking together about an important issue facing the region – however you define it.
The first round of applications will be due June 30, 2017. Application forms will be available May 1st. If you are interested in applying, start talking to your prospective collaborators now!
There is a cost to participation. LGI is contracting with Rebecca Ryan of Next Generation Consulting to facilitate the Future Regions workshops. LGI will be underwriting 50% of the cost of each workshop. The cost of participating in the Future Regions initiative depends on the population of the communities participating. Costs are estimated as follows:
Population Cost LGI Share Local Share
Less than 150,000 $35,000 $17,500 $17,500
151,000 – 499,999 $48,000 $24,000 $24,000
Over 500,000 $70,000 $35,000 $35,000
In addition to the costs shown above, the local share also includes expenses for hosting the events associated with the program such as room costs, lunch for participants and refreshments. Participation in the program includes access to the Polco civic engagement platform - https://polco.us/ - for each participating community group.
For example, let’s assume a municipality and three of its surrounding townships and a community organization are interested in participating. Forty miles away, another set of communities is interested. They could both participate in a Future Region event for their region. The population threshold will be determined by adding the populations of all participating jurisdictions within the region. The cost to all participants will be the local share shown next to the population category. Within each region, participants will decide how to come up with their local share. Allocating the local share across the multiple jurisdictions participating should make this an affordable event for just about any locality wanting to participate.
Future Regions Press Release V3.pdf
Future Regions Program Summary.pdf