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Photograph of several people standing around a table on which there is a colorful plan showing streets and buildings. Some of the people lean toward the surface of the table to place colored stickers on the plan. A laptop computer on the table shows another version of the plan.

Scenario Planning

Embracing Uncertainty to Make Better Decisions

Robert Goodspeed

March 2019, English

Faced with an unprecedented array of uncertainties, American cities and regions increasingly turn to scenario planning, a procedural tool that enables planners to analyze multiple versions of the future, incorporate outside input, and make better decisions about planning for the unknown. In this four-page Policy Brief, University of Michigan urban planner Robert Goodspeed defines different scenario types, processes, and tools that shape better and more inclusive planning practices. The brief draws from Goodspeed’s forthcoming book, Shaping Places with Scenarios: A New Approach to Urban and Regional Planning, which presents scenario planning as an emerging but critical tool for contemporary planners.


Climate Mitigation, Environmental Planning, Planning, Scenario Planning