Step 4: Vision and objectives

The following advice is provided to help with the development of a vision, however it is important to note that a vision should always be unique and there is not one simple formula for creating a vision for a site.

Getting started:

In the first instance, the development of a vision and of objectives is best achieved through dialogue with key interested parties. However, in the interests of efficiency, it is recommended that a reasonably small core group of representatives carry out the task rather than involving all interested parties.

To aid effective transformation of previosuly developed land (PDL), it is important to consider the following factors:

  • ensure that all parties involved in developing the vision and objectives are fully familiar with the baseline information gathered to inform the project
  • ‘seeing is believing’ – promote capacity building by providing the project team with examples of other initiatives and schemes. Picture diaries and presentations can help to inspire and enthuse
  • be mindful of the available funding opportunities
  • a workshop discussion can be helpful in identifying opportunities
  • consider risks and potential constraints and showstoppers – this will help the team to begin to consider potential barriers and also potential solutions.

The vision statement should be kept as short as possible, and avoid providing details on how a vision will be achieved. Instead, the three key ingredients of a vision should include:

  1. an indicative timescale, for example: “by 2020…”
  2. reference to the open space project beneficiaries, for example: “the community of X will…”
  3. a statement on what the main features of the open space will be, for example: “an open space with a rich and varied wildlife, with space for walking and exercise and information available for education and learning…”

An open space project could also benefit at this stage from an early artist’s impression of how the open space may appear. It may, for example, be possible to find a member of the partner network capable of creating a simple visual drawing or digital scheme.

In addition to setting a vision, it is important to have clear objectives. Each objective should be kept short and specific and be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time specific.

Once established, objectives can provide the basis for developing more detailed action plans to enable delivery of a project.

By the end of this process you should know the following:


Vision and objectives

Have confidence that there is consensus for the type of open space development proposed


A clear vision for the way forward


Agreed set of project objectives


Update risks and solutions