Learning With The Future

What is APA Foresight?

The accelerated pace of change we experience in areas such as technological innovation, societal shifts, and climate change makes for a mind-bending task to prepare for disruption.

That's where we come in. APA Foresight is about understanding drivers of change that are outside of our control, how we can prepare for them, and when it is time to act. APA Foresight identifies emerging trends and how scenarios stemming from each may impact the world, our communities, and the planning profession in years to come.

The path forward requires adjusting, adapting, and even reinventing planning processes, tools, and skills to meet the needs of a changing world. Through APA's foresight practice planners will find support, training, and new research for making sense of the ever-changing future.


Jump to Foresight Findings

The future of planning is agile, people-centric, and technologically advanced

Adding Depth and Insights: the future of planning


Five trend categories are at the foundation of APA's foresight research. Through these five categories, APA connects emerging trends and potential future trends to planning (sense-making) and creates guidance on how planners can get future-ready (meaning-making).  

To understand what trends planners will need to learn about and prepare for, we rate and prioritize them based on the extent and severity of the expected impact and potential disruption, the estimated certainty of their occurrence, and how well planners are prepared for them.

What skills will planners need to navigate a rapidly changing world? What knowledge is required to ensure an equitable future?What role will planners play in their communities? How will emerging trends contribute to changes in the communities we serve, the built environment, nature, and society as a whole? How will these drivers of change impact planning processes and the tools planners use in their daily work?

These are the types of questions APA is asking as part of our foresight approach.

From Sense-Making to Meaning-Making


All Foresight Resources

Our Latest Work


Practical Guidance

Articles and viewpoints

The Future of Planning is Agile, People-centric, and Technologically Advanced

For planners to be well-equipped for an unknowable future, we must focus on the areas with both the potential for high impact on the profession and low preparedness in the planning community. In this article, Petra Hurtado, PhD, APA's Research Director, explores the patterns revealed and the agility and technological innovation planners need.

Created in partnership with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Why Planners Need to Prepare for Urban Air Mobility

By 2028, urban air mobility is likely to be a commercially viable market for air metro services in the U.S. In this podcast episode, APA talks with Heather Sauceda Hannon, AICP, of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Ric Stephens of NV5 about why it is so important for planners to prepare for this emerging transportation system.

Created in partnership with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

COVID-19, Communities, and the Planning Profession

APA research director Petra Hurtado, PhD, examines how we at APA are approaching the questions of what the impacts on cities and communities are and how this pandemic affects the planning profession.

Flying Taxis Are Coming and Communities Need to Prepare

Tech companies say they could launch advanced air mobility vehicles within this decade, but urban and rural policy is lagging behind.

What Planners and Public Sector Agencies Need to Know About Cybersecurity

With millions across the country now working remotely to curb the spread of COVID-19, cybersecurity and data protection issues are top of mind for just about everyone. In this podcast episode, APA researcher, Jo Pena talks with Nupur Gunjan, a public sector analyst at Cisco about what should planners do to make sure their agency's data and communications are safe.


Lincoln Institute of Land Policy logo


APA's foresight research is made possible in part through our partnership with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.