In January 2016, Asheville City Council created a 20-year vision for the city. This Council vision reflects Asheville’s unique character and the aspirations for the community. While recognizing that portions of the vision are not in direct control of local government and resources may be constrained, Council plans to use the vision as a guide when developing policies and priorities.
City management will use the adopted Council vision and the three-year short-range priorities to create a strategic work plan. In developing the strategic work plan, management will analyze existing and potential resources. The Council vision and progress on the strategic work plan will be communicated through an engaging multi-channel communication effort to include traditional and social media as well as communication networks involving community groups, boards and commissions.
Asheville City Council’s 2036 Vision
Asheville is a great place to live because we care about people, we invest in our city, and we celebrate our natural and cultural heritage. Our city is for everyone. Our urban environment and locally-based economy support workers, entrepreneurs and business owners, families and tourists, and people of all ages. Cultural diversity and social and economic equity are evident in all that we do. Our neighborhoods are strong, participation in civic life is widespread, and collaborative partnerships are the foundation of our success.
Here’s what makes us special.
An Equitable and Diverse Community
Asheville is an inclusive, diverse community. We define diversity broadly, including but not limited to all races, ages, sexual orientations, gender identification, socio-economic backgrounds, and cultural beliefs. We have created an equitable community where everyone can participate and has the opportunity to fulfill their potential because they have access to healthy, affordable food, transportation, quality education, and living wage jobs. Asheville promotes and supports minority business as a means of strengthening our local economy. We use a racial equity lens to review and achieve our city’s strategic goals in health, education, housing, and economic mobility.
A well-planned and livable community
Asheville promotes community through thoughtful, resident-led planning that results in pedestrian oriented development for all ages and abilities throughout the City, harmonized with an integrated transportation system. Asheville’s unique character is reflected in our regional planning, land use, preserved in our historic structures, and honored when incorporated in new development. Thoroughfares are lined with thriving businesses mixed with residential and commercial uses. Neighborhoods are safe, socioeconomically diverse, and have a range of affordable housing choices. Open spaces, parks, greenways, community gardens, and edible landscapes are abundant throughout the city.
A clean and healthy environment
Asheville continues to be a leader in innovative technologies and conservation efforts in response to global climate change. The City is powered by locally-generated, clean sources of energy, and air quality problems have disappeared. Views of surrounding mountains have regained clarity unknown since the late 1800s. Clean energy is not the only priority when preserving our high quality of life. Recognized as a Tree City USA for decades, streets, greenways, and parks embody an urban forest. Emphasis on local resilience spurs the use of municipal land for gardening, farming, and urban orchards.
Known as a food destination city, most restaurants serve locally grown foods. Thanks to an extremely high-quality water source nestled in the gentle folds of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville continues to attract companies that depend on clean water – from breweries to high tech start-ups to restaurants and food manufacturers. Our modern transportation system has increased options that reduce carbon emissions. Successful waste, recycling, and curbside composting programs have greatly reduced the city’s landfill needs.
Quality affordable housing
Asheville is a city with abundant housing choices for people at all economic levels and stages of life. Chronic homelessness is a thing of the past and rapid rehousing strategies abound thanks to an effective network of service providers. Housing is affordable not only because of reasonable prices but also because of low energy and transportation costs. Innovative and historic housing options, from tiny homes and co-housing to apartments and single-family homes, are available throughout the city. Asheville’s former public housing communities have been transformed into a diverse mix of affordable and market rate homes within vibrant neighborhoods.
Transportation and accessibility
Whether you drive a car, take the bus, ride a bike or walk, getting around Asheville is easy. Public transportation is widespread, frequent, and reliable. Sidewalks, greenways, and bike facilities get us where we want to go safely and keep us active and healthy. It is easy to live in Asheville without a car and still enjoy economic, academic, and social success.
A thriving local economy
Asheville is unique in its locally-focused economy. Our local businesses are vibrant and, no matter where you are in the city, you see a diversity of customers, employees, and business owners. Our historic buildings are home to funky, eclectic businesses that reflect the character of the city, and a creative economy of artists, makers, and innovators is thriving.
As an employer, the City values its workers by paying living wages and offering benefits that ensure both security and opportunity. Businesses of all types that share those values locate, start, and grow in Asheville, offering a wide range of career opportunities and economic mobility. Plentiful educational options, workforce development, access to capital, economic incentives, and a culture that values homegrown businesses make our economy strong. Our public and private partners have demonstrated a unity of purpose. If you do your part, you will find opportunity for success.
A connected and engaged community
We pride ourselves on building and growing partnerships – with regional and state governments, nonprofits, the private sector, and neighborhood associations to name a few – to achieve our vision. If you live, work, or play here, you want to be involved and you have a voice. When you join a citizen board or commission, the City provides training and support. Diverse interest groups work together to tackle problems, and neighborhood engagement enables residents to express thoughts, visions, and concrete plans that build a collective and harmonious community. City leaders, officials, and staff members are trusted. City government is transparent, and we use the latest technologies and methods to communicate with, engage, and empower community participants. When you live in Asheville, you belong and are valued.
A financially resilient city
Asheville has an AAA bond rating. We use our debt capacity and revenue wisely in order to maintain and improve the City’s infrastructure and invest in our public employees. We strive to control our costs and still provide the highest possible level of service. We have a diverse revenue base that enables us to plan far into the future and to benefit from our growth. Our individual and corporate citizens generously invest in our community through partnerships and public/private projects that enrich the quality of life in the city.