Our Littleton: Planning Tomorrow Together
Littleton's mayor and city council spent much of 2012 listening to the community about their priorities for Littleton's future through both community meetings and the use of online tools. The city conducted a Citizen Survey and a Business Survey and spearheaded a community engagement initiative called "Inspire Littleton."
With the results of this community input in hand, the mayor and council sought to integrate the results into a comprehensive vision for Littleton—an image of the future that would be broadly shared and commonly understood, and which would help guide the council's decisions going forward.
From December 2012 through March 2013, Littleton's mayor and city council worked together on a visioning process for Littleton's future. They hired Civic Canopy, a nonprofit that specializes in stakeholder engagement and consensus building, to assist them with their work. Civic Canopy staff held one-on-one meetings with the mayor and council members in December of 2012 and asked the following questions:
- What makes Littleton great?
- What do we want to be sure to protect about Littleton?"
- What do we want for Littleton's future?
- What are the obstacles to achieving our dream for Littleton?
The mayor and council convened an offsite evening study session January 10, 2013, to engage in dialogue around these questions and set forth a collective vision for the city. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, they also used a strategic illustrator to graphically record the discussion and create a map to represent the vision for Littleton that emerged from the session. A follow-up working session was held on February 26, 2013 in which they further explored key themes and provided feedback to finalize the map.
Our Littleton: Planning Tomorrow Together
The illustration below, which was created during this three-month process, is entitled Our Littleton, Planning Tomorrow Together. It captures and sets forth the mayor's and council's vision for Littleton The map-like drawing shows familiar Littleton landmarks set in a series of three concentric areas corresponding to the three parts of the vision.
The center of the illustration defines Littleton’s warm, hometown feel and great neighborhoods and schools. It represents the heart of the city and much of what the council loves and wants to protect and maintain for the city. It shows a high quality of life with many families and parks, and an inclusive community comprised of people who care for each other.
The area "across the road" from the center of the illustration generally represents the existing commercial corridors, showing both existing activity as well as some of what is desired for Littleton’s future. Many of Littleton’s commercial corridors have great potential and are ripe for change. The illustration shows a welcoming Littleton, with a well-maintained infrastructure that has access to transportation, and a thriving business community with a mix of shopping and dining options that are accessible by bike, car or public transportation.
The outermost area of the map, much of which is not colored in, symbolizes possibility in Littleton’s future. There is an emphasis on creating great vibrancy along its wonderful natural amenity, the South Platte River. In it, residents and visitors can be seen enjoying the riverfront—some through the tranquil enjoyment of the outdoors—and many also through dining, strolling or catching a game or event at a shared community space at the river’s edge. The river is connected to the city both physically and in spirit. In this outermost area, there are buildings and other structures that do not currently exist, such as a bridge connecting downtown to the river and new paths and entertainment venues at the river. All around the peri-meter there is a clear opportunity for development and redevelopment of existing buildings, lots, housing, public infrastructure and commercial corridors.Note that, unlike a typical map that is designed to be an exact representation of the current landscape, this illustration is more symbolic than representational, intended to capture the spirit and essence of Littleton as it is now and how it will hopefully grow over time.