2020 National Planning Conference

Technology’s Impact on the Planning Practice

Saturday, April 13, 2019 from 2:45 p.m. - 4 p.m. PDT

CM | 1.25

Activity Type: Educational Sessions

Activity ID: NPC198177

Location: 2002

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  • Compare and contrast a broad range of current technology and tools that can be applied to planning, engagement, and decisionmaking.
  • Craft planning processes that leverage current technology and tools, balanced with traditional tools and methods.
  • Target skills for career development and skill set criteria for the hiring of future planning staff.


In this age of ubiquitous computing and democratized information, a swirling mix of technological innovations is fundamentally changing the practice of planning. There is hardly a planner who does not have to consider in some way the benefits and pitfalls of data analytics, geo design, social media, mobile apps, interactive engagement platforms, smart cities, parametric design, virtual and augmented reality, rapid prototyping artificial intelligence and more. While these technologies are increasing accessibility and transparency, they also raise fundamental questions around equitable representation and ethics.

Panelists share their experiences with these current and emerging technological concepts and tools and their impact on the planning profession. Hear them debate several important questions:
• What are the game-changing innovations that planners need to look out for?
• How are these tools affecting traditional planning methods and skills?
• How can/should emerging planners (AICP candidates) integrate technology into their career development plans?
• How can planners maintain a critical perspective to prevent unethical and invasive uses of technology against communities?
• How do the claims of democratization of data and ubiquitous computing weigh against the pernicious and thorny digital divide?
• Are our young planners being prepared to thrive in a technology-immersed practice?

Session Speakers

Megha P. Sinha, AICP
Columbus, OH

Kimberly A. Burton, AICP CTP
Ohio State University
Westerville, OH

Bradley Calvert, AICP
City of Glendale
Glendale, CA

Bobbie A. Albrecht
American Planning Association
Chicago, IL