Blueprint for future

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Lately the tenor in the community seems to suggest an interest in new ways of working together. Headlines announce things like “CAN, city unite to seek new negotiations with MBC.” Citizens are writing editorials with titles like “shaping city’s future.” As a member of Malibu 2020 Vision Team, I would like to further this dialogue by raising and answering some questions along this theme.

Why should you care about the future of Malibu? Do you ever wonder what our community will be like when your children/grandchildren grow up? Do you ever feel that decisions affecting your neighborhood or community are made without you or that you do not understand? Do you ever worry about how changes in Malibu could change what you like about living here?

Why is a vision important for Malibu? We live in a world of rapid change. The question for every community is how that change occurs. One alternative is for change to happen without a vision for the future, which means that important community values and culture can disappear or be altered forever. The other alternative is for change to happen within the framework of a vision so that important community values and culture are retained for future generations.

What can we do to create a clearer Malibu vision? Visioning is a process by which all citizens in the city have an opportunity, together, to define what kind of city they want for their future, and their children’s future. It can give Malibu citizens a way to answer four important questions about the community: Where are we today? Where are we going if we continue on the same course? Where do we want to be in the future? How do we get there?

A vision for Malibu can give give citizens a way to: influence change rather than just reacting to it; focus diverse aspirations on common goals rather than arguing over the future; embrace our assets and address our liabilities; and learn from the experiences and viewpoints of others.

What can a city vision created by citizens be used for? A city vision can be used to: direct the comprehensive planning and zoning code; direct where our capital improvements go; protect and preserve important cultural and environmental values; provide priorities and benchmarks for city councils and city managers; stimulate economic activities; provide incentives for new educational, social, arts, recreational and cultural activities. Malibu is rich with a culture of civic participation. I believe we are entering a time where we, as a caring community, can refocus our vision, collaborate on important decisions, and move forward to preserve, protect, and improve those characteristics we cherish most.

Margaret Rose Shultz