Sightline’s mission is to foster healthy, lasting prosperity grounded in place. To this end, Sightline stands for these values, as well as the principles listed below:


I. Community. We stand for communities that create opportunity and promote responsibility, that are neighborly and safe, that engage citizens in democracy, that guard human rights, and that celebrate diversity.

II. Fairness. We stand for an economy governed by rules that ensure fair play. Well-governed markets yield widely shared prosperity. They are open, competitive, accountable, and transparent. They honor work, inform consumers, and reveal the hidden effects of production such as pollution.

III. Responsibility. All of us are trustees for a common inheritance: our forests, climate, and other ecological systems, and our schools, transportation systems, and other public institutions. We stand for sustaining and improving this heritage.

IV. Opportunity. We believe our communities are stronger when we expand opportunity for all. Building a level playing field means that no matter where we live, we all have the right to affordable housing, quality education, a living wage, quality health care, clean air, and good food.


Sightline’s research shows that five action strategies, or principles, best support these values:

1. Measure what matters. What gets measured gets fixed. Better yardsticks of progress focus attention on the slow-changing trends that are shaping our future: the health and well-being of our families, the strength of our communities, and the integrity of nature.

2. Build complete, compact communities. Growth in well-planned neighborhoods safeguards our health and economy, saves our time and farmland, strengthens our communities, and conserves our natural areas. Poorly planned growth wastes all those things.

3. Make prices tell the truth. Prices influence billions of decisions every day. But they often ignore social and environmental effects, yielding prices that are sometimes too high and sometimes too low. To correct these flawed economics, we can tax “bads” such as resource depletion rather than goods such as paychecks; make the polluter pay through fees and permits; and align markets with public goods to stimulate creative solutions.

4. Ensure every child is wanted. Preventing unplanned pregnancies brings compounding benefits: far fewer abortions and infant deaths, less child abuse, and more-sustainable future populations. And a future of wanted children is within reach if we combat poverty, guard against sexual abuse, and expand access to reproductive healthcare.

5. Put safety first. Human action often risks both human health and our natural heritage—from wildlife to the global atmosphere. Putting safety first means taking a precautionary approach to decisions that may cause serious, long-term, or irreversible harm. It means evaluating risks and alternatives, and it means preserving options for the future.

March 7, 2005