2018 National Planning Conference

Addressing Future Unknowns with Scenario Planning

Sunday, April 22, 2018 from 10:45 a.m. - noon CDT

Location: 206

CM | 1.25

Cost: Included in Registration

Activity Type: Educational Sessions

Activity ID: NPC188006


  • How to communicate effectively with the public about trade-offs and consequences for situations that are often unclear or complex
  • How to create an appropriate set of planning actions to implement as future unknowns become clear over time
  • How to explain interconnectivity and interdependency among various issues (such as transportation, land use, environment, and economic development) to both specialists and the public


Planners working in metropolitan/urban, suburban, and rural environments are constantly faced with increasing uncertainty as they plan for the future. Whether it is population growth, impact of technology on jobs, longer periods of drought, increased intensity and/or frequency of natural disasterss, or other uncertainties impacting the environment, transportation, land use and other planning issues, the future seems to require a different method of planning than was applied decades ago. Other factors such as budget cuts, the future of transportation as it relates to connected vehicles and autonomous vehicles, and public concerns over localism/regionalism add more elements into the mix. With a number of unknowns and complex factors, it can be difficult to understand and communicate through the planning process how they all come together or can be addressed in a variety of settings. Therefore, responding effectively as the situation evolves over time can seem insurmountable, especially to the public. Learn how to apply scenario planning techniques to address future unknowns with skill and effectiveness.

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Session Speakers

Arnab Chakraborty, AICP
Univ of IL at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign, IL

Jeremy Stapleton
Resilient Communities and Watersheds, Sonoran Institute & Lincoln Institute

James J. Garland
Washington, DC

Janae Futrell, AICP
Civic Sphere
Atlanta, GA

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