A Shared Vision

for a Socially Just and Ecologically Sound Local Economy in the Tompkins County Region


This vision was first created in pictures by over 100 local residents at the Building Bridges conference in November 2011.  The pictures showed people of all ages, in the city and in rural areas, celebrating life, enjoying lots of good, local food, working in successful local businesses, living in communities that are rich in culture, using renewable energy, and connecting across all kinds of differences.


Green Energy Jobs--029We tried to turn all these wonderful pictures into words.  This is a vision of a community that thinks about its impact on the earth, that thinks about how its choices affect all people, and that is fair, equitable, and values human rights.  We hope that Tompkins County will be a model for other regions and communities throughout the nation to live by these values, making a high quality of life possible for everyone. In this vision, all citizens can be heard, everyone recognizes their interdependence, and all are active in shaping the community’s priorities. Our commitment to Tompkins County is not meant to isolate us from other communities, ecosystems, or people across the world, but could help others enjoy the same benefits.

When our vision becomes a reality, here is how people will describe life in our region:

Equity–Fairness and Sharing:

Phoebe Brown--049

Our social, economic and political structures are based on a belief in the importance of equality, and a commitment to fairness and to sharing control, opportunities and benefits with everyone. This means:

  • Everyone has a purpose, is valued, feels safe and cared for, is included in the community, and is able to get their basic needs met.
  • Poverty, racism, and other forms of discrimination are eliminated, both on a personal level and in our organizations.
  • All of our educational institutions have eliminated achievement gaps across lines of race, class, gender, and disability status, and support all students to achieve their full potential.

Our Environment:

In all our social, economic and political decisions we remember our respect for the earth and our local and regional ecosystem. This means:

  • Everyone has enough clean and safe water, and our air is clean and safe to breathe.
  • Our energy comes from renewable sources as much as possible.
  • We reduce our waste as much as possible, and what waste we do create is reused, recycled or disposed of in a responsible way.
  • Our carbon emissions have been reduced to a level that our ecosystems can safely process
  • We have a countywide transportation system that is energy-efficient, accessible, and convenient.
  • We use sustainable methods to grow much of our own food for local distribution.

Our Economy:

JR, Beth, Mike K--021

Our economy supports the well-being of everyone who lives or works in Tompkins County including people who have been previously marginalized. This means:

  • We have full employment at a wage that sustains a high quality of life.
  • Our workforce development and preparation systems are efficient, effective and ensure that everyone who wants to work will find a job.
  • We invest our money locally and support local businesses and entrepreneurs.
  • Local money and skills are used whenever possible.
  • Housing is affordable, safe, and energy efficient.

One thought on “A Shared Vision

  1. Pingback: Reimagining Our Infrastructure | Building Bridges

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