Planning Practice

Many decisions made by planners will have effects that last for decades, highlighting the importance of making the right decisions now. The Lincoln Institute helps planners innovate, stay abreast of trends and research, and grow and evolve through shared learning, peer engagement, and technical support.

Scenario Planning

In 2019, we hosted a two-day workshop for staff of the City of Vancouver, BC, on how to tailor the scenario planning process to meet their needs as they embark on the first city-wide comprehensive plan since 1928.


Planners are facing a range of issues including climate change, pandemics, rapid urbanization, and other unprecedented twenty-first-century challenges. As a structured approach for participatory and evidence-driven decision-making, scenario planning helps cities and regions prepare and plan for this uncertain future. Through research, peer-to-peer learning, networking, training, and technical assistance, our Consortium for Scenario Planning helps communities adapt in sustainable and resilient ways. Our Scenario Planning work includes:

Scenario Planning Workshops

Communities facing uncertainty can use scenario planning workshops to navigate issues and identify solutions to problems such as natural disasters, population decline, or housing affordability, to name a few. We support and conduct scenario planning workshops in these communities as part of technical assistance programs.

Annual Research and Implementation Cycles

The Consortium for Scenario Planning runs annual cycles to support research into the use and best practices of scenario planning around the world. The consortium will also support the workshops developed as part of these research cycles.

Annual Consortium for Scenario Planning Conference

The consortium’s annual February conference is a gathering of scenario planning experts and practitioners sharing their work and learning from each other.

Peer Exchanges

The consortium hosts two free, virtual peer exchanges annually to highlight scenario planning work that has been supported or initiated by the Lincoln Institute.

Learn More About the Consortium for Scenario Planning

Our Other Work

Big City Planning Directors Institute

The Big City Planning Directors’ Institute is an annual collaboration of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, and the American Planning Association that has been happening for more than 20 years. By convening planning directors from the nation’s largest cities, we examine emerging public policy questions and shared challenges that influence the planning and design of large cities and their metropolitan regions.

APA Foresight

We partner with the American Planning Association (APA) on the development of an annual Trend Report for Planners that features a list of over 100 existing, emerging, and potential future trends that the APA Foresight team, together with our Trend Scouting Foresight Community, identified as relevant to helping planners navigate change and prepare for an uncertain future.

Visualizing Density

We’re currently revamping our Visualizing Density web application, which will serve as a guide to density in all its different forms. Planners, policymakers, practitioners, journalists, and citizens will be encouraged to explore how different densities fit into the context of cities and towns around the world.


Recent Publications

Scenario Planning for Cities and Regions
Robert Goodspeed


Planificación urbana y regional

Working Paper Cover
Emma Walters and Arnab Chakraborty

Documentos de trabajo

Planificación urbana y regional

Cover of the report titled "How to Use Exploratory Scenario Planning (XSP)" by Jeremy Stapleton. Cover is an abstract design with a black background and lines going in several directions.
How to Use Exploratory Scenario Planning (XSP)
Jeremy Stapleton

Enfoques en políticas de suelo

Planificación urbana y regional

Megaregions and America’s Future
Robert D. Yaro, Ming Zhang, and Frederick R. Steiner


Planificación urbana y regional


Consortium for Scenario Planning 2024 Conference

This in-person annual conference showcases new and existing scenario planning projects around the country.

Learn More About the Conference


Sowing Seeds

This video follows Mesa County’s experience participating in an exploratory scenario planning (XSP) workshop and explains how XSP works and what the process entails.

Watch the Video

Otra multimedia

What is Exploratory Scenario Planning

This explainer video gives an overview of the exploratory scenario planning process

Watch the Video


Exploratory Scenario Planning with Multi-Stakeholder Platforms in Food Systems: A Toolkit 

This toolkit is designed for those interested in holding a workshop for exploratory scenario planning (XSP) with multi-stakeholder platforms working in food systems.

View the Toolkit


Scenario Planning for Food Systems: Workshops with Food Systems Foresight

The Lincoln Institute and Food Systems Foresight led a discussion and Q&A on using scenario planning to explore shocks and stressors food systems around the world are facing.

Watch the Webinar


Land Matters Podcast: Staying Calm and Planning On

Planners have traditionally labored largely behind the scenes but are becoming more visible as they explain their work and try to keep the peace, said author Josh Stephens on this episode of the Land Matters podcast.

Listen to the Podcast
scenerio planning-legacy cities webinar


Scenario Planning for Legacy Cities: A Case Study in Lakewood, Ohio

This workshop focused on using scenario planning to explore growth and housing challenges in legacy cities like Lakewood, Ohio.

Scenario Planning for Legacy Cities: A Case Study in Lakewood, Ohio

Our Experts

Heather Hannon

Associate Director of Planning Practice & Scenario Planning

Ryan Maye Handy

Policy Analyst