Confronting An Uncertain Future: Planning in the Era of Climate Change and Other Global Crises
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We are living in an age of uncertainty that is unique at several levels. The current economic downturn precipitated by the U.S. subprime mortgage debacle, the potential for catastrophic climate change, the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more generally the war on terror, profoundly affects our ability to plan for a secure future. These unfolding events point to an immensely complex world with multiple layers of uncertain drivers and unknown "tipping points" and “Black Swans”. Now, more than ever, the most significant issues impacting cities and regions are forces outside their borders. This presentation is about confronting these challenges and finding a pathway to articulate the uncertainties through a different form of planning. Along the way I will discuss the evolving concept of sustainability and an approach to planning with hierarchical scenarios. I will also illustrate our efforts to develop some novel modeling and visualization tools to monitor and communicate sustainability indicators.