Our Future Hamilton - Community Vision

The Our Future Hamilton Community Vision reflects the values and aspirations of the thousands of residents who participated in the year-long community visioning process.  It defines our residents’ expectations for the next 25 years and provides 88 key directions, 226 community-suggested actions, and 57 signs of success to guide long term planning.

Our Community Priorities

Our Future Hamilton engaged with nearly 55,000 residents and community partners to create a shared community vision.  It has informed the City of Hamilton’s new 10-year Strategic Plan and will guide future decisions to ensure that we are all working towards the same vision.   

The Our Future Hamilton Community Vision articulates six community priorities.  Each community priority includes a description of the community’s vision along with actions on how we get there and what success looks like.


Community Engagement & Participation

Our Future Hamilton is a collaborative place where...

  • People work together and make a positive impact on the community.
  • Citizens are consulted and involved in making the decisions that impact them.
  • A passion and sense of pride for the city exists among residents, driving volunteerism and community-based initiatives.

Community participation & engagement

  • Work to remove barriers that prevent and discourage women and racialized individuals from becoming community leaders.
  • Ensure that all people have the ability and opportunity to add their voice to community conversations about issues that affect them.
  • Support community-based initiatives, volunteerism and grassroots movements.
  • Involve youth in decision-making and community development.
  • Support and promote experiential learning, civic engagement, work experience and volunteer programs for post-secondary students.

Openness & access to information

  • Provide easy access to information about government operations and services.
  • Increase access to information about the programs offered by key community institutions and organizations.
  • Increase participation in City decision-making and promote the importance of inclusive community engagement.

Community pride

  • Celebrate Hamilton’s history, people and achievements.
  • Foster pride among Hamiltonians for their city and identity.
  • Women and racialized individuals are included in the decision-making processes and represented in leadership roles in the community.
  • Residents are well-informed about important government and community decisions.
  • Residents participate in community and civic initiatives.
  • More Hamilton residents are voting in elections.
  • Leaders reflect the diversity of the community.
  • Residents volunteer for local organizations and causes.
  • Young people are actively involved in their community.
  • Governments and community institutions embrace a culture of openness and transparency.
  • Engagement with residents is informed by Hamilton's Public Engagement Charter.

Man and woman standing at a vision board full of Post-It notes


Economic Prosperity & Growth

Our Future Hamilton is an ambitious place where...

  • People successfully provide for themselves and their families and have opportunities to grow and develop.
  • Post-secondary institutions and businesses collaborate with the City, contributing to the success of our economy.
  • Residents can work in the city in one of the increasing number of quality, well-paying local jobs.
  • A prosperous and diverse local and regional economy benefits all residents.

Strong local economy

  • Attract and retain new industries and innovative businesses.
  • Remove barriers for people starting and running a business.
  • Encourage people to support local businesses that contribute to the success of our economy.
  • Keep tax rates competitive to attract and retain businesses.
  • Keep public debt sustainable and taxes low for residents.
  • Governments and community institutions collaborate to eradicate poverty.
  • Respect and support people on social assistance.

Farming & agriculture

  • Support and promote local farming.
  • Protect agricultural land.
  • Sustain food production, processing and distribution systems that contribute to economic development.

Employment opportunities

  • Inspire diverse employment opportunities in Hamilton so people can work locally rather than commute to a job in another city.
  • Identify and remove employment barriers and provide opportunities for all.
  • Ensure childcare is available for parents and guardians so they can participate in the work force.
  • Establish a living wage in Hamilton.

Employment & skills development

  • Provide education, training and skill development programs that help people reach their goals and find rewarding careers.
  • Advance and promote the role of educational institutions as key contributors to innovation, entrepreneurship and community development.
  • Identify opportunities to support and apply our post-secondary institutions’ research for the social and economic betterment of the community.
  • Develop and use technology to increase access to education for all ages.
  • Nurture ambitious career and life aspirations in people from a young age.
  • Ensure that young people receive education that prepares them for good jobs.
  • Ensure that all children have access to learning that leads to success at school and in life.
  • Poverty rates are low. 
  • Reliance on social assistance programs has decreased.
  • Those who rely on social assistance do not live in poverty. 
  • High school graduation rates are at or above the provincial average.
  • The unemployment rate for young people is decreasing.
  • Technology is used to advance access to education.
  • Children are thriving in school and at home.
  • Residents are able to work locally.
  • People are earning a living wage.
  • Affordable childcare is available for everyone who needs it.
  • More people are working in secure jobs.
  • Local businesses are thriving.
  • Hamilton is less reliant on the residential tax base to find municipal services.
  • Farmers are successful.


    Healthy & Safe Communities

    Our Future Hamilton is a caring place where...

    • People lead happy lives in safe neighbourhoods and friendly communities.
    • We all have access to the services and supports we need to be healthy and active.
    • Our city is safe and inviting, and people continue to work together to take care of and support each other.

    Healthy lifestyles

    • Create an environment that promotes active and healthy living to support a high quality of life for residents.
    • Improve the health of Hamiltonians by actively working to address the social determinants of health.
    • Encourage all food providers to offer local nutritious food options, education and information about nutrition.
    • Support people to disengage from drug, cigarette and alcohol addictions.
    • Facilitate physical and economic access to healthy, locally sourced and nutritious food for residents.
    • Provide outdoor and indoor recreation spaces to people in all parts of Hamilton.
    • Provide opportunities for people of all ages, abilities and income levels to participate in sports and activities.
    • Make it easy for people to be physically active by providing safe routes for walking and biking around the city.

    Healthcare services

    • Integrate the healthcare system to make it easy for people to navigate.
    • Provide advocacy, support and treatment for people experiencing mental health challenges and addictions.
    • Facilitate access for people to healthcare services in a timely manner.

    Safe caring communities

    • Encourage police and community members to work together to keep neighbourhoods safe and inviting.
    • Foster a respectful, caring culture among people for their community so that people take care of their own, and each other’s property. 

    Housing

    • Provide sufficient, affordable and good quality social housing.
    • Support development that provides affordable housing options for people of all income levels and needs across all neighbourhoods.
    • Advocate for safe, clean and affordable places for renters to live.
    • Encourage communities to support home and healthcare facilities for the aging.
    • People eat healthy food.
    • People lead active lifestyles.
    • Less crime, people feel safe in their homes, streets and neighbourhoods.
    • People have timely access to healthcare services.
    • Supports are available for people with mental health issues and addictions.
    • Fewer people use tobacco products.
    • Homelessness has been eliminated or substantially reduced in Hamilton.
    • Social housing wait lists are short.
    • Housing is affordable and there is a variety of housing options.


    Clean & Green

    Our Future Hamilton is an environmentally sustainable place where...

    • A flourishing natural environment enriches the quality of life for community members.
    • Organizations take a leadership role and operate in a sustainable manner.
    • Everyone has a deep understanding and respect for the natural environment and its important contribution to our lives.

    Natural features

    • Foster pride in and protect Hamilton’s unique natural environment including its waterfronts, waterfalls, escarpment and other natural areas.
    • Enhance and maintain trails so people can enjoy Hamilton’s greenspaces and natural amenities.
    • Protect wildlife and plant habitats.

    Leadership & awareness

    • Integrate environmental education and stewardship across the city to instill a respect for the environment.
    • Encourage governments, institutions, schools and businesses to demonstrate leadership by operating and promoting environmentally sustainable practices.
    • Recognize indigenous knowledge and values in respecting the natural environment.

    Environmental impact

    • Consider the environment in decisions about growth and development.
    • Re-purpose past industrial or commercial locations (brownfields) as a preferred alternative to using undeveloped or rural spaces (greenfields).
    • Reduce and eliminate pollution so that everyone has clean air, water and land.
    • Reduce harmful health, environmental and economic impacts of waste - reduce, reuse, and recycle.
    • Use clean energy to protect our air quality and reduce our contributions to global climate change.
    • Improve public transportation and active transportation options to reduce our impact on the environment.
    • Improve buildings and operations to reduce energy use.
    • Maintain clean streets and public areas where people do not litter.


    Built Environment & Infrastructure

    Our Future Hamilton is a people friendly place where...

    • The quality of life, well-being and enjoyment of its residents influences design and planning
    • It is easy to get around our city and Hamilton’s transportation systems are well-connected regionally. 
    • Hamilton is connected to its rich history through architecture.
    • Public spaces are well maintained and vibrant, with greenspace and attractions for residents and visitors.
    • Neighbourhoods have a variety of homes and amenities.

    Transportation network

    • Develop complete streets that meet the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, motorists and movement of goods.
    • Create a well-connected transportation network that allows people to get around conveniently without a car.
    • Ensure strong transit connections to post-secondary institutions and other significant locations to support accessibility for member of our community and enable growth.

    Modern infrastructure

    • Build and adapt public infrastructure and buildings to withstand extreme weather events.
    • Construct and renovate buildings to meet environmental standards.

    Building & development

    • Design and modify streets and buildings that are safe and accessible for people of all physical abilities and ages.
    • Preserve and re-purpose heritage buildings.
    • Consider the impact of urban sprawl in planning decisions.
    • Develop mixed-use neighbourhoods where it is easy to walk to everyday destinations.
    • Develop neighbourhoods that have a variety of housing options.
    • Identify opportunities to expand the presence and impact of post-secondary institutions in ways that serve and support our community.

    Public spaces

    • Provide well-maintained public spaces that serve as places for community activity.
    • Collectively care for shared spaces.
    • Build a vibrant waterfront with greenspace and attractions for locals and visitors to enjoy.
    • Build and maintain parks, trails and beaches for all residents to enjoy.

    • We use other forms of transportation (active and public transit) instead of driving.
    • Heritage buildings are re-purposed.
    • The intensity of urban land use has increased.
    • Public spaces are beautiful and well used.
    • Infrastructure is maintained.
    • Hamilton has more greenspaces including parks, trails and beaches.
    • Greenspaces and public parks are close to home.


    Culture & Diversity

    Our Future Hamilton is a vibrant place where...

    • People of all ages, backgrounds and abilities are accepted and celebrated.
    • There is always something to do in Hamilton, with a year-round calendar of events and a thriving local arts scene.
    • All of our downtown areas are bustling centres of economic and community activity.
    • People of all backgrounds, ages and abilities call Hamilton home and have access to the support and opportunities they need to succeed.

    Celebrate culture

    • Host year-round local events that celebrate Hamilton’s diverse cultures and unique heritage.
    • Recognize and celebrate indigenous traditions.
    • Support and invest in the arts and local artists.
    • Ensure Hamilton’s downtown areas are vibrant and inviting to businesses, residents and visitors.
    • Support and grow our diverse food scene that includes restaurants, farmers markets and food trucks.

    Inclusion & equity

    • Respect and include all residents in community life regardless of age, ethnicity, race, gender, ability and background.
    • Provide activities and gathering spaces to help seniors maintain active and productive lifestyles.
    • Provide opportunities and supports for all children and youth to achieve their goals and aspirations.
    • Create a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for new residents and students from outside Hamilton, Ontario and Canada.

    Community support services

    • Provide excellent and sustainable settlement services to newcomers in Hamilton.
    • Provide services and supports for people living with disabilities to live active lives.

    • Hamilton is free from all forms of discrimination.
    • Hamilton is home to successful cultural institutions and enterprises.
    • Newcomers to Hamilton feel a sense of belonging.
    • Local events and festivals are well-attended.
    • Artists are thriving.
    • All people are able to be involved in community and civic activities.
    • International students choose Hamilton to settle and work after graduation.