Dream session

In a dream session stakeholders develop a vision or dream for the future of the area, and then identify what actions are needed to make the dream a reality. The ecosystem services provided by an area are identified, as are the values assigned to these services and ideas for concrete action.

Scale level and phase to be applied

The target group: Users of ecosystem services (citizens, NGOs, entrepreneurs, big firms, employees, etc.) and suppliers (land owners, farmers, nature management organisations, etc.). No public servants, politicians

The application in the planning process
As a start, the GI and functionality maps give information on the (potential) users of the landscape. Based on that the users of ESS provided by the green-blue infrastructure and their organizational structures are mapped, and stakeholders to involve are selected and invited for a "dreamsession "/ workshop.

First part of the dream session: Identificate and prioritize ecosystem services (45 minutes)
For information and inspiration the film is shown. In small groups (appr. 6-8 persons) –based on theme’s like "water", polder, inner city, children, dunes etc- the stakeholders are individual asked which services (provided by the green-blue infrastructure) pop up while thinking about the future of the area (indicate services/ESS) and which sevices are important and which of these constitute the top 5 (or 10).

Second part of the dream session: Ideas and dreams / goal finding (30 minutes)
In the second part of the dream session the group members individual are asked to write down dreams or ideas (on A4) about how your landscape look like in 2030 providing the top 5 or top 10 selected (dreaming your future landscape / goal finding). In one dream session mostly hundreds of dreams and ideas are collected.

Third part of the dream session: Prioritization of the collected dreams and ideas:
In the last ten minutes all the dreams and ideas (of all groups) are collected and shown to all participants. Every participant gets 10 stickers to prioritize the drams and ideas.

At the end of the dreamsession we have:

  • Identificate and prioritize ecosystem services (bottom-up)
  • Ideas and dreams (goalfinding) and a prioritization of the dreams / goals

Dream sessions are especially useful if an area has a variety of different functions and the resulting range of stakeholders. Consider, for example, a zoning change for a housing development; the design of city's master vision for spatial planning; or when you would like to flesh out local or regional biodiversity policy. A basic BAP can be developed in just two meetings

Contact person: 
Menko Wiersema, WP2 leader GIFT-T for the Province of South Holland, mu.wiersema@pzh.nl
Full description of the tool:
1) Film that is used in the dreamsessions (tool 2.3) :
2) Links to examples of application in practice