The ultimate goal of the First Impressions program is to give communities the feedback they need to plan future development. Hundreds of communities in the U.S. and Canada have already taken advantage of First Impressions (see map).

Short-term learning

Community leaders will:

  • Learn about their own community’s assets and opportunities or view them in a new light.
  • Develop a list of action items for community improvement.
  • Learn about basic concepts in community place-making and development.

Local residents, elected officials, business owners, and economic development practitioners will:

  • Strengthen an existing cohort of community leaders and residents by providing them with an opportunity organize based on valuable feedback about their community from first-time visitors.
  • Begin to take action on community improvements with financial assistance from funders.

Medium-term action

Community leaders will:

  • Identify priority action items.
  • Make immediate improvements to the physical/built environment in areas such as signage, beautification, historic preservation, recreation, infrastructure, business recruitment, or lodging.
  • Integrate action items into community plans.
  • Create plans that integrate data from a variety of stakeholders including visitors and local residents.
  • Establish a system for monitoring change based on priority actions.
  • Obtain external funding to address priority issues.
  • Cooperate or communicate with nearby communities on projects or programs.

Long-term conditions

Communities will:

  • Implement appropriate long-term plans based on priority issues and opportunities.
  • Gain efficiencies through municipal sharing and cooperation.
  • Improve community wellbeing and quality of life for residents.
  • Improve the local economy.