In a few short weeks, the people in our region – you and I – will have an opportunity to make a difference in influencing how future decisions are made that can affect the way our region will look in decades to come.

Imagine Greater Tucson, a regional visioning initiative, recently unveiled a trend scenario, a map of how our region will develop in the future based on current trends and how decisions are made today.

In comparison to the many things we value – access to our great outdoors, urban renewal, reduced sprawl, minimal time in our cars and easy access to employment and other activities – the map shows our future outlook at odds with what we value.

On May 18, 24 and 25, Imagine Greater Tucson is hosting “scenario-building” workshops where the various stakeholder groups and citizens of our communities are encouraged to participate in order to share your ideas for alternative solutions to the way decisions are made today.

Using game-style chips, you will be able to map out your preferences for the future you would like to see in our region.

The many ideas shared during the workshops will be collected and analyzed, and they will be inserted into a software program that will help produce approximately three alternative scenarios to the map that was presented on April 7.

In the fall, the public will again have the opportunity to review and provide feedback on what they prefer from each of the alternative scenarios, and that will lead to one final, preferred scenario.

Why is it so important for you to participate now? By participating at one of these workshops, you will be part of the group that helps build a foundation for a prosperous future for us and future generations. Your personal voice is important in shaping the future. Don’t let others speak for you.

Unlike other past visioning efforts, Imagine Greater Tucson will develop a vision based on our shared regional values and the preferred scenario. The vision will be supported by strategies, or guiding principles, that may be considered by Pima County and other jurisdictions as they update or amend their general or comprehensive plans.

Imagine Greater Tucson also will develop performance measurement tools to monitor the progress of the strategies. In the next few months, Imagine Greater Tucson will identify how it plans to address the values that do not fit on a map.

You may look around you and like what you see today. Doing nothing is no assurance that things will stay the same. All you need to do is look at how our current trends will negatively impact our values, our future, and see your participation is needed today to make a difference.

I fully support the efforts of Imagine Greater Tucson. Shaping the future needs your voice … many voices will lead to one vision. I strongly encourage you to attend one of the upcoming workshops. To learn more or to register by May 12, visit

Lou Waters is a member of the Oro Valley Town Council.

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