Scenario Planning Tools Workshop in Salt Lake City

Last week, PlaceMatters and Envision Utah hosted a Scenario Planning Workshop in Salt Lake City for grantees of the HUD/EPA/DOT Sustainable Communities Initiative. In addition to overviews of how scenario planning fits within broader planning projects, the workshop gave attendees a chance to get hands-on training in the nuts and bolts of using scenario planning tools. All of the tools experts provided excellent resources for the grantees, and two things stood out to me in particular:

First, Bill Lennertz from National Charrette Institute gave a great presentation about the charrette process, which uses iterative design sessions in a compressed time frame to generate both design strategies and community buy-in to the process and the solutions. It got me thinking about ways to incorporate Bill’s charrette approach into how we do scenario planning projects; for instance, are there ways that more in-depth working sessions with stakeholders and design-oriented approaches to scenario creation and exploration could plug into typical scenario frameworks? That’s something we’ll be exploring more in the coming months.

I also really enjoyed going under the hood of Envision Tomorrow +. Alex and Nadine from Fregonese Associates went through the details of several of the spreadsheets that drive the Return on Investment model and some of the other features of ET+, which really cemented my own interest in using it both on its own and in concert with other scenario planning tools that we use in our own shop.

All in all, the workshop was a great opportunity to connect with grantees and find how both how they’ve been using scenario planning tools in the past and the strategies they are putting together for their current projects.


Brad Barnett is Planning Analyst at PlaceMatters, where he focuses on connecting scenario planning and spatial analysis to civic engagement strategies.

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