Emerging Socio-Economic & Technological Trends Affecting Planning Policy

APA Missouri Chapter


Thursday, October 19, 2017
11 a.m. - noon CDT

CM | 1

Add to My Log


A persistent challenge for communities is keeping up with the times.  Comp plans, neighborhood plans, capital improvement plans, and all regulatory mechanisms need to reflect the values and visions of communities based on changing demographics, economic forces, and desired lifestyles.  In turn, many of those forces and desires are affected by technological innovations (think digital and artificial intelligence but also construction techniques and online retail), economics (think postindustrial jobs but also the effects of student loans and low gas prices), and lifestyles (think smaller families and housing choices but also longer lives, multiple careers, and mobility).

This session will start with some introductory challenges about contemplating the future and what the implications could be for planning and adapting our communities.  Three panelists will then engage in a moderated discussion about a few specific trends and forces in which they are involved using a Q&A format.  These panelists include a long-time planner and real estate developer, a planner and economic developer who is now a manager of a business innovation center, and a young consultant advising clients on market-based strategic planning. 


Perspectives of time (looking back, looking forward) and from three “generations” will activate a lively discussion and will prompt insightful—sometimes controversial—observations and ideas.  Ample time will be allotted for questions and comments from the audience, though firm conclusions about “what to do” will likely be left for on-going conversations among planners for a long time.

Attendees will envision the future of their communities in the context of global forces of change; evaluate national and global change affecting local policy processes and procedures; and grasp the need for adaptation to new workplace, consumer, and residential lifestyles.


Robert Lewis, FAICP

Confirmed Speaker

Bob is both an urban planner and regional economist. He "retired" from the consulting firm of Development Strategies after 30 years at the end of 2017, and is now an assistant professor for urban planning and development at Saint Louis University. Prior to Development Strategies, Bob was with Team Four ... Read More

Elizabeth Letscher, AICP

Confirmed Speaker

Beth Letscher is Director of Project Development for Cortex. In this role she directs planning and construction initiatives for the 200-acre urban innovation district located in midtown St. Louis. Prior to this, Beth was Assistant Vice President for Real Estate and Community Development for the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership ... Read More

Julie Cooper

Confirmed Speaker

Julie is an associate at Development Strategies, where she provides market-based real estate, economic, and community development strategies for a variety of public, private, non-profit, and institutional clients. Her focus is on helping clients align their internal goals and objectives with market opportunities in order to identify and implement strategies ... Read More

Dean Burns, AICP

Confirmed Speaker


Contact Info

Michael Zeek, mzeek@marylandheights.com