Vision – January 2024-March 2024 – Complete!

Northfield has finished up the second phase of Northfield 2045: Vision. This phase takes what was learned in the discovery phase from the community and existing plans to develop a statement of what Northfield will be in 2045 along with guiding values to apply to every decision. The remainder of Northfield 2045 will point at this vision while identifying more specific goals and the tools to achieve them.

Northfield 2045 DRAFT Vision & Values

Vision, 1st draft: Northfield is a welcoming and diverse community known for its small-town feel, historic riverfront downtown and colleges. All who want to live here can find an affordable home with easy access to daily needs. Our city embraces sustainability and equity, creating places where businesses and residents thrive.

2nd draft: Northfield strives to be a community that is diverse, sustainable, resilient, and provides equitable access to all that makes the city a great place to live. We recognize that past actions have created disparities in access to housing, services, and recreation for our neighborhoods. Instead, we will work to meet these needs in every part of the city while fostering human connections in our increasingly diverse community.

3rd draft: Northfield continues to tell its story as a city with a strong identity rooted in history, while growing as a diverse, inclusive, and sustainable place. We maintain our integrity as an independent and distinct city shaped by our historic downtown, the Cannon River, rural neighbors, and our colleges. Everyone has equitable access to all that makes the city a great place to be.

These drafts were was generated from early engagement results by consultants, staff, me and the Vice Chair of the PC. The goal was not to get it right, but to give the Planning Commission and Steering Committee something to work on/from. Here’s the result:

Latest draft: Northfield is a welcoming city, providing equitable access to a high quality of life. We are a city with a strong identity rooted in history, while growing as a diverse, inclusive, and sustainable place.  We maintain our integrity as an independent and distinct city shaped by our historic and natural resources, the Cannon River, rural neighbors, and our colleges.

Guiding Values

The draft vision is accompanied by values to guide the city’s decision-making. For instance, when planning a street project or a housing development the city would use these principles to determine if the project is aligned with the Comp Plan. The vision is where we imagine Northfield will be in 20 years while the values offer greater detail and shape how we get there.

  • Northfield prioritizes equity in all decisions, to remedy past disparities and ensure access to housing, goods & services, and open space.
  • Northfield challenges itself to implement best practices and find creative solutions to local problems.
  • Northfield designs its infrastructure, policies, and practices to mitigate the effects of climate change.
  • Northfield plans and budgets in an economically responsible and sustainable way to ensure sufficient revenue to support its work for the long term.
  • Northfield fosters human connections in our increasingly diverse community through neighborhoods, gathering places, and business districts that are inclusive of all differences.
  • Northfield has affordable, safe housing, in a wide variety of types and sizes, that provides increased walkability for everyone who wants to live here. 
  • The City has mobility options so that Northfield residents can get where they need to go with or without a car.

Vision documents and process

Versions of visions: For comparison with the 4 drafts above, here’s the 2008 Comp Plan vision along with more about version 1, version 2, version 3, and version 4

Public engagement: Consultants have been taking the draft vision and values out to targeted groups including The Key, Laura Baker Services and other representatives from the disability community. Here’s a summary of the engagement conversations.

Steering Committee: The Steering Committee reviewed and commented on the vision and values in late February

Discovery phase documents like summaries of the early engagement which lead to the Vision, the Community Profile, and more, are over here. The official Northfield 2045 page is still over here and is updated periodically.

And podcast: Jake Reilly and I talk about the vision on KYMN in February 2024.

Envisioning future Northfield (Photo)

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