Report: 100 Trends Urban Planners Need to Know About

APA’s third annual Trend Report for Urban Planners is out and offers a comprehensive look at potential drivers of change that could impact communities and the work of planners for decades to come.

1 minute read

February 11, 2024, 11:00 AM PST

By Mary Hammon

Close-up of signs being held up at climate change protest

DisobeyArt / Climate change protest

The American Planning Association (APA), in partnership with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, recently released its annual Trend Report for Planners. The report provides insights into 100 existing, emerging, and potential future trends to help planners in their current and long-range planning work.

Trends are organized into three time frames — Act Now, Prepare, and Learn and Watch — and then grouped into themed clusters. Of the trends needing immediate action, planners likely will not be surprised to find climate change, housing, transportation, and artificial intelligence. Less expected, however, may be the value of youth involvement in planning processes and the impacts of growing political polarization and societal division on planners’ work.

Looking to the future, the themes in the Prepare and Learn and Watch touch upon the changing economic landscape, including changes in work and retail; how new technologies and innovations will affect the world, and potentially universe, around us; and longer term implications of and potential solutions for climate change.

The report concludes that, “knowing about these external drivers of change, understanding how they may impact our communities and the work we do, and preparing for and proactively including them in our plans for the future of our communities is more important than ever before.”


Wednesday, January 31, 2024 in American Planning Association

Rendering of electric scooters, electric cars, light rail train, and apartments in background.

Arizona’s ‘Car-Free’ Community Takes Shape

Culdesac Tempe has been welcoming residents since last year.

February 14, 2024 - The Cool Down

Aerial view of New York City architecture with augmented reality visualization, blue digital holograms over buildings and skyscrapers

4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design

With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.

February 20, 2024 - ArchDaily

"It's The Climate" sign over street in Grants Pass, Oregon.

Oregon Town Seeks Funding for Ambitious Resilience Plan

Like other rural communities, Grants Pass is eager to access federal funding aimed at sustainability initiatives, but faces challenges when it comes to meeting grant requirements.

February 18, 2024 - The Daily Yonder

Close-up of bottom half of stroller being pushed onto sidewalk with no curb cut by person in jeans and brown shoes.

How Infrastructure Communicates Values

The presence and quality of sidewalks, curb cuts, and other basic elements of infrastructure can speak to much more than just economic decisions.

9 minutes ago - Strong Towns

Greyhound and Amtrak buses at a temporary bus terminal in San Francisco, California.

Despite High Ridership, Intercity Bus Lines Are Eliminating Stations

Riders on the ‘forgotten stepchild’ of the U.S. transportation system find themselves waiting for buses curbside as Greyhound sells off its real estate in many U.S. cities.

1 hour ago - Governing

Buffalo, New York

Buffalo Residents Push Back on Proposed Cap Park

State and local officials say the $1 billion project will heal neighborhoods divided by the Kensington Expressway, but community members say the proposed plan will exacerbate already poor air quality in the area.

2 hours ago - Bloomberg CityLab

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

The Walkable City

Harvard GSD Executive Education

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.