This photo shows an aerial shot of the city of Youngstown

Scenario Planning

Consortium for Scenario Planning Announces Winners of RFP for Impactful Projects
By Emma Zehner, January 14, 2019

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.The Consortium for Scenario Planning, an initiative of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, has announced the selection of four projects that will work to advance the state of scenario planning, a practice by which communities and regions can make better decisions about the future by incorporating data and diverse stakeholder input.

Four teams, representing the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, GreaterPlaces, the National Center for Smart Growth, and the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning, will receive a combined $35,000 to apply scenario planning to challenges ranging from population decline to climate change.

Scenario planning is a decision making process that helps governments and citizens consider alternative futures by comparing the outcomes of various policies, and by visualizing data such as demographic and economic indicators, and different land use and transportation patterns. Founded in 2017, the Consortium works at the forefront of this practice and is focused on benefiting urban and rural professionals, such as those working in planning, development, or city operations, to expand capacity in and understanding of scenario planning processes and software tools.

“The Consortium works to make scenario planning accessible to those new to the practice while continuing to support experienced professionals, and we congratulate the winners on undertaking projects that will advance this dual mission,” said Amy Cotter, Associate Director of Urban Programs at the Lincoln Institute. “These projects demonstrate a clear commitment to improving the state of scenario planning, and they have the potential to create new approaches for better integrating uncertainty, flexibility, and resiliency into planning.”

The projects were selected from proposals submitted in response to a Request for Proposals for Impactful Projects, which was first announced at the Consortium’s annual conference in September. The Consortium chose the four projects based on their potential impact, feasibility, and connection to the Consortium’s other initiatives. The RFP also asked that projects address one of the Consortium’s key areas of focus, which include capacity building and peer exchange, software interoperability, and scenario planning process design.

With the award money, Sara Daugherty, Economic Development Program Manager for the Youngstown, Ohio- Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, will research how to best adapt scenario planning tools to address population decline. She will develop and test software to support different strategies for addressing this challenge.

Lisa Nisenson, co-founder of GreaterPlaces, an urban design consulting firm in Arlington, Virginia, will create example ‘scopes of work’ for multiple types of typical scenario planning projects, so that organizations in need of a draft scope of work for a procurement effort won’t need to start from scratch. 

Uri Avin, Planning and Design Director at the National Center for Smart Growth, will pilot several scenario planning workshops. As part of this effort, the Center will match organizations in need of particular scenario planning services with subject matter experts who can offer the type of workshop required.

Arnab Chakraborty, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning and Associate Dean at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, will explore the precise impacts of scenarios on a range of past planning efforts and resulting decisions. By gaining such insights, high impact aspects of scenario planning can be further integrated into the Consortium’s capacity building initiatives.

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy seeks to improve quality of life through the effective use, taxation, and stewardship of land. A nonprofit private operating foundation whose origins date to 1946, the Lincoln Institute researches and recommends creative approaches to land as a solution to economic, social, and environmental challenges. Through education, training, publications, and events, we integrate theory and practice to inform public policy decisions worldwide.