Future Plans

The Regional Plan is not a single, unified document, but rather a series of related plans and strategies that build upon the comprehensive plans that individual communities develop. We need to look at these comprehensive plans in the context of other regional goals and objectives to help chart a course forward into the next generation.

Comprehensive Plans

Every municipality in Wisconsin is required to produce a comprehensive plan, which is a broad planning document designed to guide the future decisions of the community. This plan, developed with public involvement at every stage, establishes a vision for the future and lays out goals and objectives across a range of issues that face each and every community. There are 9 core elements required in every plan; each plan must be updated every 10 years. As a result of this legislation, there are 33 town, 20 village, and 8 city comprehensive plans.

Work on A Greater Madison Vision will run from 2015 through 2019, culminating in the adoption of a regional plan shortly thereafter. The next five years are critical in terms of Dane County municipalities’ comprehensive plan timelines. Eleven towns, three villages, and three cities have a required update to their plan prior to 2020. A number of other municipalities will update their own plans on either side of the AGMV process.


This means that AGMV presents a unique opportunity to improve cooperation and coordination on issues of regional importance in the Greater Madison Region. The next time a significant number of communities will be updating their plans at once is 2035.

Future Land Uses

One of the primary outcomes of a comprehensive planning process is the production of a Future Land Use Map, which identifies on a map where communities see future land use changes occurring. Identifying these areas can give us a big clue as to how the future might look if each community, going about its own business, were to develop along the lines of its comprehensive plan. CARPC staff analyzed a consolidated map of future land uses from all these comprehensive plans, providing a standardized overview of what general development types are envisioned where. Check out this map below!

An important caveat is that this map of possible future development does not include transportation or right of way, and it is generalized to gloss over small pockets of wetlands, woodlands, steep slopes, and small parks that would be surrounded by a broader development type. The general location and orientation of these general development types is the important factor here.


There is common sentiment found across the 1,000+ goal statements in the comprehensive plans of all the area communities. In 2012, a regional consortium analyzed these goal statements from local and regional comprehensive plans and prepared 10 regional goals (below) that communicate common themes from all the plans.

Community members prosper and leverage their assets to ensure ample and sustainable education, employment, business, and investment opportunities.
Community members have access to a diverse supply of high quality, safe, affordable, sustainable housing and neighborhoods integrated with existing communities.
Community members have access to a diverse supply of high quality, safe, affordable, sustainable housing and neighborhoods integrated with existing communities.


Utilities and Community Facilities
Community members have access to safe and efficient public services and facilities using environmentally sound infrastructure and resources.
Community members celebrate and participate in strengthening our arts and creativity, history, diversity, civic life, community character, and native ecosystems and historical landscapes.
Land Use
Community members preserve and enhance the natural environment, ensure the vitality of working lands, and live in healthy, efficient, and well-integrated neighborhoods with distinct urban and rural communities.


Natural Resources
Community members preserve, restore, and enhance the region’s land, air, and water resources and interconnected ecological systems.
Working Lands (Agriculture)
Community members support, enhance, and benefit from food and fiber production, processing, and distribution sectors that are productive, profitable, and sustainable.
Intergovernmental Cooperation
Municipal and special purpose governments work together to identify and implement shared goals in local and regional plans.