New technologies are producing knowledge about cities with unprecedented detail, but are also introducing uncertainties that pose a challenge for long-term planning. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced major uncertainties for planners. Urban scenario planning responds to these developments by integrating modeling and simulation tools with an analysis of uncertainty. A methodology for long-term strategic planning that enables communities to create and analyze multiple plausible versions of the future, scenario planning can be used to envision sustainability or enhance resilience. Drawing on his recent book, Scenario Planning for Cities and Regions: Managing and Envisioning Uncertain Futures, Robert Goodspeed will highlight innovative examples of professional practice, touch on related research on urban informatics and planning support systems, and propose new ways scenarios planning can be applied to current issues such as pandemic response, evictions, mobility transitions, and climate change.
Robert Goodspeed is an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at Taubman College at the University of Michigan. He teaches in the areas of geographic information systems (GIS), collaborative planning, and scenario planning theory and methods. His research investigates how new information technologies can be used to improve the planning process and planning outcomes, and involves mixed-methods studies of innovative urban planning practice, the use of GIS to develop novel methods, and theoretical analysis of sociotechnical practices like crowdfunding and smart cities. He was named a Leading Thinker in Urban Planning and Technology by the website Planetizen.
He holds a Ph.D. in urban and regional planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.C.P. from the University of Maryland, and a B.A. in history from the University of Michigan. His dissertation, which examined the use of planning support systems in spatial planning, received the 2013 Donald Schön Award for Excellence in Learning from Practice from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning. His undergraduate thesis, a case study of Detroit’s Gratiot Area Redevelopment Project from the early 1950s, sparked his interest in cities and urban planning.
He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), and serves as a board member of the Consortium for Scenario Planning, an initiative of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Prior to pursuing a Ph.D., Goodspeed worked as a research analyst at the Boston Metropolitan Area Planning Council, and co-founded three award-winning websites, ArborUpdate, DCist, and Rethink College Park.
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