‘Scenario Planning for Cities and Regions’ Published

The day has finally arrived! My book, Scenario Planning for Cities and Regions: Managing and Envisioning Uncertain Futures, is now available for sale directly from the distributor (Columbia University Press). A number of online retailers have listings and are accepting pre-orders, but none show copies in stock yet. In the case of Amazon, it may be due to their decision to prioritize certain items in their warehouses which they have begun to phase out.

Book Cover

Several years in the making, the book describes a new way of making urban plans and long-term decisions about cities, and the contents are described in a bit more detail in my publisher’s article about it. Although aimed squarely at urban planning students and professionals, with the help of some excellent editors I sought to present the book’s ideas in a way that make them accessible to all types of curious people.

In the book I argue that too often long-range plans for cities have focused only on what stakeholders want to happen, or in other cases on accommodating the trends predicted by others. Unlike these approaches, at the heart of the scenario planning methodology is the careful analysis of uncertainty, which I think makes it timely given the COVID-19 pandemic. Since I am focused on urban planning, I do not describe the practice of using scenario planning within public health and emergency management fields to conduct planning specifically for pandemics. The scenario planning cases I discuss mainly focus on the link between uncertain demographic and economic trends and land use and transportation decisions. So while not replacing other forms of planning, these plans are especially appropriate in the current environment of broader uncertainty. The method that I describe is also flexible, and my book can support urban planners who want to go beyond existing scenario approaches to consider public health more centrally.

Given the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on local businesses, if you’d like to buy the book I strongly encourage you to place an order directly with your local independent bookstore. One convenient way to do this is through a new B-Corp called Bookshop. To use it, simply use this page to find an affiliate bookstore in your area, and then find my book by searching for the title. The book will then ship directly from a distributor’s warehouse, but the local store earns a 25% commission. An additional 10% of Bookshop sales are shared with a network of independent stores.

I realize some people are avoiding even online purchases due to ethical concerns about how it may contribute to exposure risks among warehouse and delivery workers. Ultimately if, and when, you buy is a personal choice. An e-book is also planned, but my publisher and I decided (pre-pandemic) this would come a bit later, perhaps in 6-12 months.

If you are among those who choose to order the book, thank you! After completing it I encourage you to leave a short review on Bookshop, Amazon, Goodreads, or whatever site you use.

Author: Rob Goodspeed