Establishing Vision and Goals

The success of the SA Tomorrow Sub-Area Plans depends on broad participation from area stakeholders. To ensure this success, City Staff worked with a wide range of community members throughout the planning process. These include neighborhood associations, business and property owners, residents, employers, educational and cultural institutions, public and nonprofit organizations, and other City departments to create a realistic and implementable plan for the Medical Center Area Regional Center.

The planning process was designed to be iterative, creating a “feedback loop” between the City and the community as the plan was developed. This approach ensures that the Sub-Area Plan reflects community values and priorities. A variety of tools and tactics were used to ensure that those interested were well-informed about the SA Tomorrow Area Plans; encouraged to participate in a range of stimulating events and activities; and engaged in providing constructive feedback on a preferred future.

For each public input exercise, this document describes what was asked, how the input was presented back to the stakeholders, and carried forward in further engagement exercises and eventually incorporated into the plan.

Results from the exercises and surveys are available in the website Documents Library and as an appendix to the Plan. In some cases, results have been summarized. Throughout the process, complete raw results from exercises have been posted on the plan webpage.

To facilitate public information and community participation, the Medical Center Area Regional Center website was created and made available to the general public on (insert date). The website includes a section for leaving comments which are sent directly to the project manager. These comments can be viewed here.

An initial Planning Team kick-off meeting was held on June 28th, 2017 at San Antonio College, Nursing & Allied Health Complex. At this kick off meeting, Planning Team discussed assets, challenges, opportunities in the Brooks Area as well as strategies for outreach efforts.
image of a cumminty exercise

Medical Center Area Planning Team Kick-Off Discussion Results

During the second Planning Team meeting, team members were asked to participate in an exercise to begin to develop the vision and goals for the area. Participants were asked what the major themes, opportunities and issues the plan should address. Planning Staff facilitated a discussion on the major themes so planning team members could openly discuss and elaborate on. The results of the discussion were recorded on flip charts and available to the planning team.
Results of exercise 2 were posted to the plan website and presented to the Planning Team at the next meeting. This exercise helped inform the draft plan vision and goals statements.
image of a cumminty exercise

The Planning Team provided their input on key plan considerations

image of a cumminty exercise
During the first Medical Center Area Community Meeting, attendees participated in two facilitated small group exercises similar to those previously completed by the Planning Team. First, participants used a map, color-coded stickers, and sticky notes to discuss and document the elements in the area that they would like to “Preserve, Add, Remove, or Keep Out” which is known as a PARK exercise. They were then asked to look at all the elements that were identified in the PARK exercise and begin to identify themes and issues.
The second exercise asked community members to draft a statement describing how they envision the future of the Medical Center Area. Facilitators encouraged the attendees to think about elements such as housing, connectivity, mobility, parks and open space, shops, restaurants, employment and other amenities- or what they had reviewed through the Existing Conditions Atlas. Small group members identified common themes and words amongst the group’s individual vision statements. From these common themes, each group completed a summary of their ideas which was then read aloud by one spokesperson from each group to the entire audience. Results of Exercise 3 were posted to the plan website. These results directly informed the draft vision and goals statement.
All group summary images can be seen here.
image of a cumminty exercise

Medical Center Area Community Meeting #1 PARK Exercise

image of a cumminty exercise
The purpose of Planning Team Meeting #3 was to review stakeholder input from the PARK and Visioning exercises from Community Meeting #1, as well as consider themes and analysis findings, reviewing and discussing the draft vision and goals.
The results were included into the revised draft vision and goals statement, which further refined the Medical Center Area’s vision and goals statement for the draft plan.
During Planning Team meeting #4 there was a recap on the revisions that had been made to the vision and goals to date and the revised vision and goals were reviewed for approval by the Planning Team. There was also a discussion on the concepts that could be included in the final version- which was confirmed with the Planning Team after the 4th meeting. The Planning Team members were informed that the newly revised version of the vision and goals would be presented to the public for comments. The results of the exercise posted to the plan website, these results helped to refine the Medical Center Area’s vision and goals statement for the draft plan.
The revised draft vision and goals were presented at Community Meeting #2. Feedback from attendees was strongly encouraged and discussed. The participants welcomed and supported the draft vision and goals.
These results finalized the Medical Center Area’s vision and goals statements for the draft plan, subject to further public requests for additional changes.
image of a cumminty exercise

Medical Center Area Community Meeting 2 Vision & Goals Poster

Establishing the Plan Framework and Recommendations

The Plan Framework map includes key physical improvements and strategic concepts that will influence development in the Medical Center Area Regional Center. These include priority focus areas for (re)development; pedestrian, bicycle, and street improvements; parks and open space recommendations; and priority areas to encourage mixed-use development.

The Medical Center Area Regional Center Plan Framework was developed through a combination of technical analysis and community input. The Framework illustrates and outlines the overall long-term vision for the Medical Center Area Regional Center, including areas where new development may be focused, recommendations for key mobility improvements, opportunities for additional parks and open space, and other “big moves” or ideas that will shape the future of the area.

At the beginning of the planning process, the project team developed an in-depth study and analysis of the Medical Center Area Regional Center to understand the history and development of the area as well as the existing conditions. The Planning team provided their input on the area’s existing assets, challenges and opportunities to develop a better understanding of the Regional Center and the community’s priorities and values. City staff also organized and facilitated additional stakeholder input and public outreach to capture a broad range of Medical Center Area residents’ considerations. Through a series of facilitated work sessions and interactive exercises, the Planning Team provided input and direction that is reflected in the Plan Framework.

Over several months, project staff and the Planning Team worked collaboratively to build upon the Framework to identify the key priorities, improvements and strategies that will shape the Sub-Area Plan and guide growth, development and investment in the Medical Center Area Regional Center. A series of draft recommendations on several topics were developed for stakeholder feedback and are reflected in the Plan.

During the first Planning Team meeting, the team discussed assets, challenges and opportunities in the Medical Center Area. At the second Planning Team meeting, staff presented existing conditions related to demographics, employment, land use, transportation and mobility, public investment, amenities and access, and natural systems within the Medical Center Area.

These discussions and exercises created a foundation for future discussions related to the Plan Framework. The existing conditions presentation was shared during the first Medical Center Area Community Meeting, attendees also participated in a mapping exercise that was incorporated into the framework diagram.

image of a cumminty exercise
image of a cumminty exercise
image of a cumminty exercise

Medical Center Area Community Meeting #1 PARK Exercise

At the third Medical Center Area Planning Team meeting, the Planning Team completed an exercise to identify areas within the Medical Center Area that they would like to see improvements, additional parks, plazas, corridors, and streetscape improvements among other items. These elements were drawn on trace paper over transportation and amenities maps. The Planning Team members worked in small groups to complete and present these maps.

The Planning Team identified multiple areas and streets in need of improvements. These were then mapped on the Plan Framework diagram.

The Planning Team further refined the focus areas at their 4th Planning Team meeting.. For the selected focus areas, the Planning Team identified purpose, future character, appropriate building heights and areas of transition. This exercise was also completed at Community Meeting #2.

image of a cumminty exercise
image of a cumminty exercise

Medical Center Area Planning Team members participated in the mapping exercise

The Planning Team met for their 6th meeting to discuss future land use and review the initial draft future land use map. The meeting began with an overview of the proposed land use classifications to be used throughout San Antonio, the methodology behind the draft maps, and then a presentation of the draft land use map created by city staff. A follow-up discussion on future land use to address requested edits and staff considerations was discussed again at Planning Team Meeting # 7. After the adoption of the Land Use Categories in October, Planning Department staff reconvened with the Planning Team to review the new categories and discuss its impacts in the plan area. The Planning Team supported the revisions to the draft land use map.

The draft land use map will be available to the public for comments at the third and final Community Meeting on March 26, 2019. Participants will be encouraged to fill out comment cards about the proposed land use designations, recommendations and strategies. The public will also be invited to review the proposed land use map and submit additional comments through the Medical Center Area project website.

image of a cumminty exercise
image of a cumminty exercise

The Planning Team met for Meeting #5 to discuss preliminary housing concepts and strategies. The Project Team presented and facilitated a discussion on housing objectives, case studies, and strategies applicable to the plan boundary. Planning Team members explored key issues and potential strategies such as affordability, opportunity, safety, sustainability, and quality of life. Notes from the discussion were recorded on flip charts.

image of a cumminty exercise

Housing exercise results from Planning Team Meeting #5

Also during Planning Team meeting #5, the Planning Team members explored economic strengths (including the large institutions in the plan area); weaknesses (such as the area’s high reliance on automobile access and retail food options); economic opportunities for the area (including connecting health to the built environment); and finally, economic challenges and ideas to support new business creation and continuing to support the area’s healthcare mission. The notes from this discussion were recorded on flip charts for future reference.

image of a cumminty exercise

Results from the Economic Development discussion from Planning Team Meeting #5

Using the plan framework exercise from the 4th Planning Team meeting, Community Meeting #2 participants were asked to complete two activities to help City Staff prioritize different routes for different types of transit, and to see what type of street features are desired by the community.

Major corridors were identified on the mobility framework diagram. Participants then voted using stickers with bus, car, and bicycle icons to symbolize what mode of travel they thought needed to be prioritized on each street. The other activity featured two major thoroughfares in the area. Participants then chose elements such as bike lanes, turn lanes, and medians to design streets for their preferred modes of transportation.

Mobility was discussed in more depth during Planning Team #7. A variety of transportation options were considered when planning for the Medical Center Area. Attendees were asked to discuss priority areas for mobility, and asked to provide solutions to the issues or concerns they had raised during the discussion. Trails, transit routes, bicycle routes, streetscape improvements, pedestrian safety, and traffic congestion were discussed in order to create layered multimodal transportation network.

image of a cumminty exercise
image of a cumminty exercise

Community Meeting #2 provided their input at the Mobility Framework Station

The Planning Team also discussed amenities and infrastructure at Planning Team Meeting #7. Meeting participants were first briefed by city staff on what elements make up a complete neighborhood such as active recreation opportunities, natural features, social spaces, and stormwater management, among other things.

After seeing examples of the elements that create complete neighborhoods, Planning Team members discussed which elements were most critical and should be prioritized to create complete neighborhoods and corridors in the Medical Center Area. After the presentation on complete neighborhoods, the team broke out into two groups for a mapping exercise to identify areas for amenities and pedestrian improvements, followed by a review of the exercise results.

image of a cumminty exercise
image of a cumminty exercise

Planning Team members provided their input on Infrastructure and Amenities during Planning Team meeting #7


The project team conducted over 100 engagement activities such as interviews, intercept events, and focus groups with stakeholders from the following groups, in addition to conversations with community leaders, small business owners, and individuals not listed below.

Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG)

Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (AAMPO)

American Institute of Architects (AIA)

Apple Creek Home Owners Association

City Council District 7

City Council District 8

Castle Hills Forest Home Owners Association

Churchill Estates Homes Association

City of Balcones Heights

City of Leon Valley

City of San Antonio Development Services Department

City of San Antonio Department of Sustainability

City of San Antonio Economic Development Department

City of San Antonio Neighborhood and Housing Services Department

City of San Antonio Transportation and Capital Improvements Department

City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District

City of San Antonio Office of Innovation

City of San Antonio Office of Sustainability

City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation

Clarity Child Guidance Center

CUDE Engineers

Disability SA

Deerfield Homeowners Association

Dreamhill Estates Neighborhood Association

Edwards Aquifer Authority

Elm Creek Owners Association

Great Northwest Community Improvement Association

Harmony Hills Neighborhood Association

Joint Base San Antonio

Kaufman | Killen

Methodist Healthcare Ministries

Methodist Health Systems

Mockingbird Hill Neighborhood Association

North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce

Northside Independent School District (NISD)

Northside Neighborhoods for Organized Development (NNOD)


Pre-K for SA

Rockwell Village

San Antonio Independent School District

San Antonio Medical Foundation

San Antonio Public Library

San Antonio River Authority (SARA)

San Antonio Water System (SAWS)

South Texas Medical Center Alliance

South Texas Medical Center Infrastructure Committee

Stewart Title Company

TBG Partners- San Antonio

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)

Texas Public Radio (TPR)

The Village at Rustic Oaks

University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio (UTHSCSA)

UTHSCSA Police Department

United Services Automobile Association (USAA)

Vance Jackson Neighborhood Inc

VIA Metropolitan Transit