At the twenty-year anniversary of 9/11, that tragic day is still imprinted on our minds. For us, it is also a time to reflect on the immensely powerful impact of visioning even in the most challenging of times.
In the wake of the profound loss of human life and the physical and emotional damage caused by the destructive violence that was inflicted, we (then ACP Visioning + Planning and co-led by Gianni Longo and Jamie Greene) were challenged with bringing community members together to begin to heal and plan for the future. “Community,” we knew, had to be defined broadly to include everyone living, working or owning property (in Lower Manhattan, the rest of the city and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut), as well as many others who were impacted by the event, some even by the loss of life of a loved one.
From mid-March through late-April 2002, our team—led by Gianni’s genius and the tenacity of Municipal Society of New York—facilitated gatherings of over 4,000 residents in 230 workshops of the New York metropolitan area. Participants had the chance to share their thoughts and ideas about the memorializing of the World Trade Center tragedy, rebuilding Lower Manhattan and bolstering the strength of impacted communities. The activities resulted in early 20,000 ideas that were distilled into 49 vision statements and culminated in a Summit in June 2002. This work helped to inform the next phase of physical development, and perhaps even more importantly a new phase of emotional recovery and positive forward momentum.
Two decades later, the landscape of Lower Manhattan has transformed. And it is our fervent belief that the visioning process itself helped bring forth an energy and optimism that persists today.