Although I have been interested in scenario planning methodologies for several years, to date I have not published much scholarly work on the topic. As my first foray into the field, I recently completed a working paper for the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy on how scenario planning should be evaluated. Here’s the abstract:
Professionals in urban planning have increasingly adopted scenario planning methods for projects that address urban land use, transportation, economic development, resilience, and other issues. This paper proposes an evaluation framework for urban scenario planning, derived from a review of scenario planning evaluation studies in the urban planning, environment, and management fields. The framework describes psychological, institutional, and system outcomes at the individual, organizational, and geographic unit levels. The proposed framework extends the performance approach to plan evaluation since it includes, but extends beyond, whether the plan was useful for public-sector decision making. A limited empirical validation of the framework was conducted by interviewing five professionals who have been involved in three urban scenario planning projects. Finally, the paper discusses how the framework can be applied in evaluation research, including preliminary evaluation instruments for the measurement of individual and collective learning, institutional changes, and community capacity.