VISION 2020 is a vision of a strong healthy, sustainable Hamilton shared by citizens, City Council, businesses and organizations. Since its adoption in 1992, the VISION has been renewed every five years since.
The VISION accepts that it is critical to consider all three of the economic, social, and environmental effects our decisions have, because a decision in one area can affect the progress of other areas. No longer can ignorance be used as an excuse, the long-term consequences are known and need to be considered.
VISION 2020 is based on four main principles:
Fulfillment of human needs for peace, clean air and water, food, shelter, education, arts, culture, and useful and satisfying employment;
Maintenance of ecological integrity through careful stewardship, rehabilitation, reduction in wastes and protection of diverse and important natural species and systems;
Provision for self-determination through public involvement in the definition and development of local solutions to environmental and development problems; and,
Achievement of equity with the fairest possible sharing of limited resources among contemporaries and between our generation and that of our descendants.
Out of these principles, fourteen key theme areas were defined by which to focus the actions of the VISION. Specific goals were set in these areas to guide the city towards integrating environmental, social, and economic well being.
Overview - The VISION
Hamilton supports a population that allows us to maintain our environmental integrity together with our social quality and economic prosperity. People live in a city made up of compact urban core areas, surrounded by a rural landscape that includes productive family farms, hamlets and a continuous network of natural areas.
We are an economically, socially and culturally diverse community that encourages opportunities for individuals, reduces inequities and ensures full participation for all in community life.
We are a caring community that gives opportunity and support to all its members, including children, the aged, people with disabilities, immigrants, refugees and the disadvantaged. People live longer in good health.
We are an environmentally conscious community where the existence of all living things is cherished and where all can breathe fresh air, swim in clean streams and lakes and have ample opportunity to observe and experience the wonders of the natural world.
Hamilton is a vibrant community, which builds on existing strengths and attracts businesses that work in partnership with government and the community to create a diverse, sustainable economy. Economic growth incorporates businesses in new and existing sectors that are leaders in creating a competitive advantage through environmental and social responsibility.
Business, government, labour and the community have great capacity for innovation in response to local and global change.
Quality of Life
All of us achieve our full potential in a safe, non-violent environment. Everyone has adequate food, shelter, income and education. Everyone has a valued role to play in family, work and community. Healthy lifestyles, improved safety measures and quality healthcare have progressively reduced disease and disability. We have access to affordable and appropriate health care, regardless of geography, income, age, gender, or cultural background.
Cultural institutions and the arts community are recognized, supported and celebrated for their enhancement of community life and contribution to economic health. Cultural institutions reflect our historical development and the contributions of our diverse population. Our heritage buildings are conserved and re-used.
All of us take responsibility for citizenship and public decision-making. As citizens, we are active participants in co-operative community planning and we take action to ensure community improvement. Government is open, accessible, efficient, effective, and participatory. Policies, plans, strategies and operations implement sustainability.
A well-educated, literate population is seen as a total community responsibility. Schools are leaders in effective learning and excellence in teaching. Lifelong learning is valued and supported across the community. All citizens are knowledgeable about sustainable communities. Educational, cultural and business institutions and community groups advocate values consistent with sustainability. Citizens pursue sustainable lifestyles.
The health and beauty of the countryside and townscapes is a source of great civic pride. Our quality of life is enriched by a protected system of natural areas that threads throughout the City, preserving and improving our natural heritage. This system of natural areas and connecting corridors allows wildlife to migrate, enhancing their chances of reproducing and finding food and shelter. A recreational greenway gives residents access to this system of natural areas, in ways that do not threaten ecological processes. Recreation and the needs of wildlife for a protected habitat co-exist.
As a community, we cherish a clean, healthy environment. We work to prevent ecological degradation. Waste-reduction, energy-efficiency and respect for ecological systems characterize all aspects of community life and public and private decision making. Citizens and businesses abide by environmental laws and regulations and help educate each other on ways of living in harmony with the natural world. They are leaders in environmental monitoring, protection and remediation. Hamilton is a model for other communities in the way in which we integrate short-term economic benefits, long-term environmental and social costs, and indirect economic costs in our evaluation of public and private initiatives.
Rural and urban areas are designed in ways that maintain community character, respect our cultural and natural heritage, and satisfy people's needs and desires.
Urban development occurs within firm boundaries. Green corridors bring nature into the city, giving people easy and convenient access to the open countryside, natural areas and continuous public open space along the bay shore and lakeshore. Architecture, green building technology and environmental design are commonly used to create neighbourhoods that are models of energy-efficiency, waste-reduction and respect for nature. Human needs for space, privacy, safety, and aesthetic appeal are fulfilled.
We know our neighbours. People of all ages and walks of life live in neighbourhoods, not subdivisions. There is a full range of housing types and prices allowing people to live in their communities throughout their lives. Different kinds of compatible activities and land uses are mixed together, so that we can walk to meet our daily needs for work, recreation and other services. Neighbourhoods have a central gathering place where essential services such as shopping, health care, education and recreation are clustered around an attractive, pedestrian-oriented common open space. This gives everyone an opportunity to participate in all aspects of community life.
Hamilton is a warm and friendly place where people actively care for their community and are concerned for one another's welfare. The streets and public areas are safe at all times. Neighbourhoods have strong local identity. Residents actively participate in community life, to a large extent, controlling the pace and design of change. The decision-making process is easily understood and open to involvement by all. Politicians and public employees at all levels act cooperatively to achieve long-term plans developed with the community.
Employment opportunities are distributed among home-based businesses, central urban cores and neighbourhood gathering places, as well as industrial business parks that are accessible by public transit and a city-wide system of trails. Containing a range of activities and amenities, these areas serve the needs of workers, businesses and customers. Agriculture provides many employment opportunities in the rural area.
We have many transportation choices. We are not dependent on automobiles and trucks. An integrated transportation system serves the entire city in an affordable, efficient, and accessible way. Our transportation system improves community health by reducing the need for automobile use and making it easy and attractive to walk, cycle, skateboard or roller-blade.
Public streets are designed and managed to safely and comfortably accommodate public transit, cyclists, pedestrians and automobiles as complementary forms of transportation. The integrated transportation system gives access to all basic needs. Public transit provides all citizens with easy access to activity areas. Most people can walk or cycle to work because jobs and housing are near one another.
Rail service brings people to Hamilton for recreation and work, and makes travel to other cities and regions easy and affordable. Our regional transportation system supports both our economy and environment. Rail and marine services offer efficient movement of goods and services, giving our businesses and industries a competitive edge. Major roads have minimal noise and pollution impacts on adjacent lands, and follow routes that cause little damage to the natural and human environment.
A stable, flexible economy is achieved through the effective use and development of all community resources. This means not only land, capital equipment, and community services, but the continued improvement and retention of a skilled workforce. Economic strategies, set through a cooperative process involving citizens, business, government, education and labour, include effective job-training and re-training programmes. All people can find employment opportunities in the city.
Hamilton is home to numerous firms that carry out research and development and manufacturing in sustainable economic sectors. Successful companies are characterized by high quality production, worker productivity and innovative employment practices such as on-site day-care, job-sharing, work-at-home arrangements, and cooperative, community-based job creation. These companies provide a solid tax base for the city. Business and industry actively participate with government in advanced skill training programmes, including programmes designed to enhance employment accessibility for people with disabilities.
Firms find a competitive advantage in being located in an attractive, safe and healthy community and operating at the forefront of energy efficiency, pollution prevention and control and material re-use and recycling. Environmental health and safety is a priority in the workplace.
New jobs are created in sustainable businesses that build on the community’s strong academic, commercial, industrial, and cultural resources.
Hamilton is home to a whole new economic sector based on the cultural and natural resources of the city. Hamilton Harbour is a base for nature-oriented tourism and recreation that includes the Niagara Escarpment, waterfalls and Carolinian forest areas of the city. The harbour is a vibrant centrepiece for the community and is accessible, clean, and humming with diversity. Recreation co-exists with use of the harbour as an essential marine transportation link. Hamilton’s heritage sites, farms and arts community complete the picture, promoting tourism and investment.
Agriculture is supported as a community resource and a vibrant part of the local economy which makes a valued contribution to our overall quality of life. All citizens recognize prime agricultural land as irreplaceable. Strong policies and programs ensure its continued use for food production. The farming community is economically viable and environmentally sensitive, capable of supporting family farming operations that are competitive internationally. The farming community is in harmony with neighbouring urban areas. Agricultural soils are continuously improved and water quality is protected through the widespread use of sustainable farm practices.
We all have a role to play. Citizens, business, academic institutions and government form partnerships, work cooperatively and innovate to achieve the goals that will make our vision a reality.
The VISION is Hamilton's goal for a more sustainable future and a better tomorrow. Let's get to work making it a reality!