Friday, May 6, 2016

Greater Philadelphia Future Forces: The future ain’t what it used to be

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission has published a short version of its Future Forces report (available here), an innovative effort to inform long-range planning through envisioning the big trends that will shape our world in 2045.  I have had the privilege of being part of this effort, which brought together a core group of smart and knowledgeable people, along with DVRPC staff, to wrestle a lot of data, predictions, and ideas into what is (hopefully) a useful guide to forward-looking decision making in transportation, infrastructure, housing, and other fields.
The process identified five key “future forces” that will likely drive events over the next 30 years:
·      Enduring urbanism – the return of cities and continued growth in urbanized places
·      The free agent economy – the transformation of the employment experience from careers to jobs to gigs
·      Severe climate – climate change and extreme weather events
·      Transportation on demand – Uber and beyond
·      The U. S. energy boom – natural gas and renewables are making the energy future look a lot different
For each of the forces, the DVRPC report set out what-if scenarios, metrics, challenges, and desirable actions, tailored to the needs of the greater Philadelphia region (5 counties in Pennsylvania and 4 counties in New Jersey).

This is really a cutting edge effort, and anyone interested in long-range planning should take a look at this report.  Better yet, you can also go to the full technical report, available here.

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