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A vision statement is an important component of a comprehensive plan that is used to tell the reader what Kansas City aspires to be in the future. It is a very broad and aspirational statement that gets to the heart of what the comprehensive plan and Kansas Citians want to accomplish.
Below is the vision statement for our current comprehensive plan, FOCUS. As we start the process of writing a new vision statement for the KC Spirit Playbook, it is important to look at where we've been. Over the next few weeks, we will be seeking your input as we create a new vision statement.
Please review the FOCUS vision statement and let us know what you think about it. What is your initial reaction to it? Do you feel the vision statement accomplished what it intended to do? What would you include in a new vision statement for the KC Spirit Playbook?
"We, as Kansas Citians, envision our city as a people-centered community. From economic development to the readability of street signs, we consider people first. Kansas City shapes and guarantees its future by examining first and foremost the impact of every decision on future generations. We, as Kansas Citians, are full of hope. We demonstrate this hope through our investment in our families, our homes, or neighborhoods, our schools, our businesses, and our city."
This statement doesn't say a lot about what Kansas City wants to be. Memphis, TN recently adopted a new plan, and I thought the boldness of their vision statement was really good: "IN OUR THIRD CENTURY, MEMPHIS WILL BUILD UP, NOT OUT. Memphis will be a city that anchors growth on strengths of the core and neighborhoods; a city of greater connectivity and access; a city of opportunity for all." This makes it very clear the direction the city intends to go. I'd like Kansas City to be bolder in communicating what we want to be.
When I first read this I was annoyed by it. We have failed to do what this vision states. We may as well say, "We as white Kansas citians…. While everyone uses street signs why pick that? It says to me "driving is super important here!" How about a vision that supports opportunities for everyone of every sex, age, color, ability and mode of transportation? We have wasted the talents of so many people of color, women, sexual orientation, age, various abilities and poverty. Let's uplift everyone and back it up with actions, not hope.
What characteristics make for an ideal neighborhood? What made you want to live in your neighborhood? How can we make our neighborhoods in Kansas City stronger?
I want to be able to live in a neighborhood with well-kept sidewalks, dedicated and protected bike infrastructure, and access to transit.
I love shady neighborhood streets. Trees make the neighborhood more beautiful and the shade is nicer for walking and biking around. Where we are losing mature trees to Emerald Ash Borer (or other pests/disease), we need to be replanting new trees.
More density and infill
The ideal neighborhood has a mixture of single-family homes, duplex/townhouse, and many middle-scale apartments (4-10 Plex). Ideally there is also affordable housing.
Responses to our 5 Big Questions survey have shown us that Kansas Citians really take pride in their city, especially the culture we have here. People talk about the history, the architecture, the art, the food, the innovative spirit, and the diversity among other things. What about Kansas City's culture is most special to you? What aspects of our culture should we highlight as we move into the future?
The support networks for KC's small business and non-profit communities are fundamental to the strong local collaborations and innovation in social entrepreneurship, food systems, technology, and design.
Expand and promote existing opportunities to "break bread" with other Kansas Citians from varied ethnic, socioeconomic, religious and geographic groups in order to "build bridges not walls"
The second question of our 5 Big Questions survey asked you what you enjoy about other cities you've visited. It wasn't even close: a vast majority of respondents said they enjoyed the transportation options in other cities the most. Particularly, people enjoyed the ease and options of those cities' public transportation systems. Use this page to tell us in more detail what you like about other cities' transportation systems. Also, what aspects of those cities' transportation systems do you think would work well in Kansas City?
When visiting cities like Portland, we opt to bike everywhere we can due to the availability of bike lanes, signals, and the attitudes of drivers toward bicycles. One of the main reasons we don't bike in KC is because it feels unsafe with lack of protected bike lanes and aggressive drivers.
Minneapolis is one city that does a great job of repurposing spaces that already exist for their well-integrated bike transit—especially in how they use railroad lines. KCMO doesn't have as many useable railroad lines, but there are thin strips of green space/empty pavement all over the city, ready for a safe, alternative use. For instance, all of KC's boulevards that have maintained their green space (Ward Pkwy, portions of Paseo, etc.), have ample room for two-lane bike paths down their middles, with room even for dedicated walking paths too. Cyclists and drivers would no longer have to share the road in these spaces, creating safer transit environments for both. Plus the boulevards are great connectors for different portions of the city.
I visited Vancouver, BC a couple years ago. What was most impressive about their public transit was how seamlessly routes connected with one another, in addition to key destinations around the city.
I would love to see our airport be more connected to the main city, either by more frequent buses/shuttles, or ideally some sort of high speed rail!
In our 5 Big Questions survey, we asked you what the one thing you love about Kansas City is. Out of all the responses, the livability of Kansas City was the most commonly used theme. Livability is comprised of various factors that add up to a community's quality of life. In evaluating the survey responses, we heard a lot of positive things about Kansas City's sense of place, the aesthetics of the city, the affordable cost of living, and that the city is big but not too big to be overwhelming. We would like to know more about what makes Kansas City such a livable city. What makes a city livable to you? How could Kansas City be a more livable place? How could your quality of life in Kansas City be improved over the next 20 years?
We have some gorgeous neighborhoods, and so much beautiful green space that make our city stand out. I would love to see us invest even more outside of downtown, specifically in the areas surrounding each of our neighborhood schools. Let's create a sense of safety as well as pride for all of our students to grow up in. I think it would have a positive impact on crime (see Broken Windows Theory) as well as foster civic pride in out next generation of Kansas Citians.
While it is easy to get to most places around KC by car, it's not nearly as easy to get around by transit, walking/rolling, or bicycling. Far too many places around the city require an absurd effort to get to groceries/pharmacies/banks in under 20 minutes without a car. That substantially reduces the city's livability.
So much of the neighborhoods between downtown and brookside need street trees to be replaced! Areas like Columbus Park, the River Market, and Crossroads are super hot these days!!
The food system includes urban farmers, food hubs, farmers markets, grocers and restaurants, food banks and pantries, consumers, composting services and more. Supporting the local food system benefits the local economy, mitigates the impacts of climate change and increases community food security.
Although they require maintenance planting trees near roads would do a lot of good. Trees provide shade for pedestrians walking, pose a natural “obstacle” that slows down car speeds, and improves air quality. Green roofs and accessible rooftop parks (like near power and light) are essential when space is limited and also help towards lowering felt temperatures. Finally, allowing any undeveloped lot to be used as greenspace/gardens to provide utility to the community these lots reside in. Focusing on how development and community is experienced at the ground level should be the top priority.
Continue to promote the Three Trails history in Kansas City. The three trails were along the Blue Ridge and the Blue River to the south in the flattened area of KC past the bluffs and eddys and the 'last chance' outfitting posts and grist mills there with the 'newer' commercial businesses, trying to copy the success of "West Port" just to the north, up the hill, from the MO River. Eventually, farms were platted all around, the outfitters continued with their better livestock and fresher grain as time went by, the tales of the riches to the West inspired both local settlers and pioneers... and mountainmen returned during and after the Civil War to live in Kansas City, e.g., Jim Bridger and friends. (Bridger's homestead and "last stand" was at state line to Wornall Rd., Indian Creek to the eventual Red Bridge Rd.)
City Planning and Development
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City Planning and Development
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City Planning and Development