03-07-22 | News

APA Releases 2022 Planning Trends Report

2022 Trends Report
by Staff

The American Planning Association (APA) released their 2022 Trend Report for Planners which outlines nearly 100 trends which are structured into three-time frames titled Act Now, Prepare, and Learn and Watch. Within the time frames each trend falls into one of five categories which are Societal Trends, Technological Trends, Environmental Trends, Economic Trends, and Political Trends each have their own sub-categories. APA suggests using the report as input for long range and current plaining processes, to practice strategic foresight, to implement in scenario planning, and to inform future decision making. They also suggest evaluating each trend based on its potential impact and the certainty of the trends influence on the community.

The Act Now timeframe is heavily focused on planning for the climate. Some of the trends in this section include grid-connected solar and wind smart grids, climate migration, climate impacts on local economies, and water scarcity. The report explains this emphasis in saying, "Given the inevitability of disruptions due to climate change based on current levels of atmospheric warming, adaptation at the local, regional, and national level will be necessary in the coming years." Act Now also looks at trends related to digitalizing which looks at hybrid community engagement, smart cities the digital transformation of cities, and digital vulnerability.
The first major subcategory of the Prepare Now timeframe is titled Artificial Intelligent and Ethics. It contains trends such as AI-based planning tools and upskilling needs and Urban Infrastructure and AI. "Due to the availability of big data and increased computing power, the AI market has grown substantially over the last decade and is expected to grow 20 percent annually over the next few years. Because AI is already reshaping the local landscape, it is important to understand how planners can use AI equitably and productively." The other subcategories in this timeframe are Automation and Transportation, Data Collection, Use, and Protection, and Private-Sector Community Investment.
The Learn and Watch timeframe looks towards the future with categories of 3D printing, Community Funding for Equity, The Great Resignation and Dislocation of Work. Green Signals, The Metaverse, and Privatization of Outer Space. "While the future is more unknowable than ever before, there are a few signals on the horizon we should learn more about and keep watching, as they give us cues on how the future might unfold. Many of them are linked to technological innovations such as 3D printing, the metaverse, robotics, and the privatization of outer space. Others inspire us to try out new solutions to societal and environmental challenges, such as equitable community funding innovations and emerging green markets."


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