Big changes for planners explored in Engaging the Future

Miércoles, Mayo 23, 2007

For Immediate Release
Contact: Anthony Flint 617-661-3016 x116

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Volatile weather and floods from global warming. Population increases of 120 million by mid-century, and burgeoning immigrant communities. Urban revival and suburban reinvention.

The challenges facing the planning profession are changing fast. A new book by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy explores innovations in planning practices and new ways of engaging the public.

Engaging the Future: Forecasts, Scenarios, Plans, and Projects (2007 / 392 pages / Paper / $35.00 ISBN-13: 978-1-55844-170-5), edited by Lewis D. Hopkins and Marisa A. Zapata, both at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is an invaluable guide to help planners communicate with elected officials, community leaders and citizens. The subtitle reflects four ways of representing, manipulating and assessing ideas about the future.

This richly illustrated volume, which grew out of a symposium sponsored by the Lincoln Institute in 2005, includes a variety of tools and examples that reflect a new approach to planning. The authors sought to examine a more complex view of planning practice, acknowledging recent arguments from academic planners that seemed to undermine the usefulness of plans, but arguing that plans were still useful in particular ways.

Engaging the Future includes chapters on the use of forecasts in creating visions for regional growth, using scenarios to make urban plans and build planning capacity, engaging the public in narrative-based scenarios and a model request for proposals. In addition, the editors include a glossary of planning terms and an introduction, “How to Read This Book,” to help the intended range of readers—planning students, seasoned practitioners, activist public participants, and specialized planning academics—find numerous ways to engage the ideas presented.

Hopkins, a professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, is set to deliver a talk on the book in the final Lincoln Lecture of the spring season at Lincoln House in Cambridge, Mass. June 6 (

Hopkins also led the team that created a new Web site, Visual Tools for Planners, at, in the Resources and Tools section of the Lincoln Institute Web site. The site includes 19 model visual presentations to be used by planners to illustrate issues in transportation, the movement of people and businesses over time, ecosystems, and disaster scenarios, among other topics.

About the Editors:

Lewis D. Hopkins is a professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. He has served as editor of the Journal of Planning Education and Research and chair of the Planning Accreditation Board, and was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Nepal. He is currently a member of the Urbana Planning Commission. His B.A. in architecture, Master of Regional Planning, and Ph.D. in city planning are from the University of Pennsylvania.

Marisa A. Zapata is in the Ph.D. program in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, where she completed her Master of Urban Planning in 2004. She formerly worked for Congressman Charles B. Rangel in Washington, DC, and completed her B.A. in anthropology at Rice University.

About the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy: The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, a think tank in Cambridge, Mass., sponsors research, training, conferences and demonstration projects on land use, urban planning and tax policy as it relates to land. The Web site is The 2007 catalog of all Lincoln Institute publications is at

# # #

Back to top