Planning With Foresight

PAS QuickNotes 94

By Petra Hurtado, PhD



This PAS QuickNotes was developed in partnership with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and is free to all.

The accelerated pace of change and increased uncertainty about the future make it ever more difficult to imagine what is to come. Creating a community vision and planning for it require knowledge about potential drivers of change and a nimble process that allows planners to pivot while the future is approaching.

Foresight (also called strategic foresight) is an approach that aims at making sense of the future, understanding drivers of change that are outside of one's control, and preparing for what may lead to success or failure in the future. Applying foresight in cycles creates agility and enhances one's preparedness for disruption before it happens. In today's quickly changing world, it is important for planners to integrate foresight into their work to make their communities more resilient.

This edition of PAS QuickNotes introduces the concept of foresight to help planners imagine and prepare their communities for the future.


Date Published
July 1, 2021
American Planning Association

About the Author

Petra Hurtado, PhD
Petra (Stieninger) Hurtado is the Research Director at the American Planning Association, heading APA’s research programs and foresight practice. In this role, she is responsible for expanding a future-focused research agenda, advancing planning practices that assist communities in navigating change, and developing APA's foresight practice to inform APA's strategic governance. Her areas of expertise and research include urban futures and foresight, urban sustainability, smart cities, emerging technologies, nature-based solutions, and environmental psychology. In addition, Petra teaches a course on "community visioning with foresight" at the University of Maryland. Prior to joining APA, she worked as an advisor, planner, researcher, and educator in the global urban sustainability arena. She has a Ph.D. in urban planning from the Vienna University of Technology, where she teaches on urban sustainability and environmental psychology. Additionally, she has been a guest lecturer at Harvard GSD, Loyola University Chicago and the Universidad Tecnologica de Bolivar. Petra has authored and co-authored multiple books, research papers, publicly funded reports, and articles and has presented as a subject matter expert at numerous conferences around the globe.