2024 Trend Report for Planners

By Petra Hurtado, PhD, Sagar Shah, PhD, AICP, Joseph DeAngelis, AICP, Ievgeniia Dulko, Senna Catenacci, Scarlet Andrzejczak



APA Foresight helps planners navigate change and prepare for an uncertain future. With foresight in mind, planners can guide change, create more sustainable and equitable outcomes, and establish themselves as critical to thriving communities. Foresight is not about predicting the future — it is about understanding drivers of change that are outside of our control, how we can prepare for them, and when it is time to act. APA Foresight identifies emerging trends and how scenarios stemming from each may impact the world, our communities, and the planning profession in the years to come.

This is the third Trend Report for Planners developed by the American Planning Association (APA) in partnership with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. As in previous years, the 2024 Trend Report features a list of over 100 existing, emerging, and potential future trends that the APA Foresight team, together with our Trend Scouting Foresight Community, identified as relevant to planning. The trends are structured within three timeframes (Act Now, Prepare, Learn and Watch), which indicate the urgency of planners’ action. Within each timeframe, trends are grouped into themed clusters. For each trend, the report gives insights and explains why it is important for planners to know about and consider the trend in their work. All trends and signals are based on facts and are neutrally described without judgement.

The purpose of the report is to share potential drivers of change and shifts that will possibly impact the work of planners and/or the communities we serve as planners.

This report was developed in partnership with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.


Page Count
Date Published
Jan. 31, 2024
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Authors

Petra Hurtado, PhD

Sagar Shah, PhD, AICP
Sagar Shah serves as the Manager of Research and Strategic Initiatives at the American Planning Association (APA), leveraging over 15 years of rich experience in community planning. With a focus on the nexus of planning and health, his research delves into effectively integrating health and equity considerations into planning practices. Within APA, Sagar spearheads the 'upskill planners' initiative, dedicated to empowering planners with new skills to thrive in evolving environments. He also plays a pivotal role as a core member of APA’s Foresight Team, actively studying influential external factors - such as AI - that significantly impact planners' roles. Sagar earned his Ph.D. in Regional Development Planning from the University of Cincinnati and holds a Master’s degree in Planning from the University of Southern California. He is a certified planner accredited by the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Joseph DeAngelis, AICP

Ievgeniia Dulko
Zhenia, a planner and researcher with an MA in Planning from the University of Illinois at Chicago, currently works at the American Planning Association. Her role primarily involves developing educational and research products in the areas of Upskilling and Foresight.

Senna Catenacci
Senna is a graduate of the University of Michigan with degrees in Environment and Political Science, and currently works at the American Planning Association. She conducts research for APA's grant-funded projects and Foresight initiative, primarily in helping with the development of the annual Trend Report.

Scarlet Andrzejczak
Scarlet Andrzejczak is a Research Associate in the Department of Research & Advisory Services at American Planning Association. Her specialties and interests include hazard mitigation, habitat restoration, resilience planning, artificial intelligence, and planning for equitable community outcomes. Scarlet obtained a Master of Community Planning degree and Graduate Urban Design certificate from University of Cincinnati in 2023.

Table of Contents

The Framework

About this report
About the American Planning Association, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

APA's Trend Universe

The Trends We Need to Act on Now

The AI Era
Looming Climate Impacts and Adaptation Challenges
Climate Mitigation: Skilled Workers, Tech, and Policies
Housing Challenges and Solutions
Political Polarization and Societal Division
Persisting Transportation Inequities
The Value of Youth

The Trends We Need to Prepare For

Global Dynamics and a New Economic Landscape
Immersive City for and by the People
The Future of Jobs
Moving toward a Polycrisis
Emerging Forms of Transportation
The Continuing Evolution of Work and Retail

The Trends We Need to Learn and Watch

Innovations in the Energy Sector
Mitigating Climate Change through Geoengineering
Curiosities and Game Changing Innovations
The New SpaceUpskilling: Planning Competencies and

The Future of Planning

Upskilling: Planning Competencies and Skills