What is a Foresight Community?

A Foresight Community is a multidisciplinary group of select experts who meet regularly through a series of facilitated workshops. The community members are thought leaders in their fields and are chosen based on their ability to provide forward-thinking perspectives. APA currently convenes two types of Foresight Communities: "deep dive" communities on specific foresight topics and a trend scouting community dedicated to trend scouting and horizon scanning.

Trend Scouting Foresight Community

The purpose of the Trend Scouting FSC is to seek input from community members on emerging trends and potential future trends relevant to planning. Community members are asked to provide insights and observations from their daily work as a planning practitioner, academic, or allied professional.

The Trend Scouting FSC occurs on a yearly basis, with four meetings total over the course of the year.

This FSC is conducted in partnership with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. As part of this partnership, APA publishes an annual trend report, providing a list of emerging trends and guidance on how to navigate them. The aim of the report is to help planners prepare for an uncertain future.

The observations from the Trend Scouting Foresight Community provide an important input to this report. For a list of our trend scouts, see the respective trend report:

2022 Trend Report for Planners

Cover of 2022 Trend Report for Planners

APA Foresight

The 2022 Trend Report for Planners features nearly 100 existing, emerging, and potential future trends that APA identified as relevant to planning. The trends are structured within three timeframes which indicate the urgency of planners' action.

Artificial Intelligence in Planning Foresight Community

Artificial intelligence is expected to be one of the biggest disruptors of the 21st century, with impacts affecting the economy, the built environment, society, and most professions, including the planning profession. If deployed right and responsibly, AI has the potential to assist planners in their work and improve existing planning processes. However, it also bears the risk of exacerbating existing inequalities in society. The primary purpose of the Foresight Community on "AI in Planning" is to understand the potential role AI may play in the planning profession and the work that planners do, with a deliberate focus on equity and the need for equitable deployment.

AI in Planning: Opportunities and Challenges and How to Prepare

AI in Planning: Opportunities and Challenges and How to Prepare

APA Foresight

This white paper summarizes the findings from APA's "AI in Planning" Foresight Community and suggests initial ideas on how planners can prepare for AI and its potential impacts, how planners can ensure AI-based planning tools are used in equitable and inclusive ways, and what the role of the planner should be in developing and using AI-based planning tools.

FSC Meetings

Ten meetings of the AI Foresight Community were held between June 2021 and June 2022 focused on the following topics:

  • Meeting 1: Introduction & General Pain Points relared to Technology in Planning
  • Meeting 2: Building Bridges between Tech & Planning and Academia & Practice
  • Meeting 3: Sense-Making I — Connecting AI and Planning: Definitions and Similarities
  • Meeting 4: Sense-Making II — Connecting AI and Planning: Using AI in Planning
  • Meeting 5: Planning-related implications on equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Meeting 6: Potential AI-related implications on equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Meeting 7: Ethical AI in planning tools for equitable outcomes
  • Meeting 8: Upskilling Needs for Planners
  • Meeting 9: The role of APA — what can APA do to help prepare planners?
  • Meeting 10: Conclusion and final discussion

Community Members

  • Nader Afzalan, Senior Advisor, California Governor's Office of Planning and Research
  • Clint Andrews, Professor and Associate Dean for Research, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University
  • Keith Cooke, Industry Manager - Planning and Community Development, Esri
  • Justin Hollander, Professor, Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Tufts University
  • Theodore Lim, Assistant Professor, Urban Affairs and Planning, School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech
  • Neda Mohammadi, Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Tech
  • Tom Sanchez, Professor, Urban Affairs and Planning, School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech
  • John Taylor, Associate Chair for Graduate Programs and Research Innovation; Frederick Law Olmsted Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Tech
  • Natalie Veal, State and Local Government Marketing, Esri
  • David Wasserman, Data Science Practice Leader, Alta Planning + Design
  • Violet Whitney, Product Manager, Sidewalk Labs
  • Sarah Williams, Associate Professor, Urban Planning; Director of the Civic Data Design Lab, MIT
  • Norman Wright, Director of Community Development, City of Salem, Oregon