Planning Ethics and Today's Challenges


  • How to identify the ethical conflicts that modern technology poses (and potential solutions), as well as changes in planning ethics over time
  • How to frame the ethics of complicated situations and your ethical choices
  • How the AICP code does — and does not — address the ethical challenges of a data-driven and increasingly technical profession


This course summarizes the key insights of a 2017 special issue of the Journal of the American Planning Association that took a new and critical look at how planning ethics have changed over the last half century, what conflicts that today's planners face, and how practicing planners view their ethical responsibilities. The individual speakers address the ethical challenges that new technologies pose for planners because big data are often gathered and disseminated without people's permission and there is an increasing skill divide in using and understanding data; conflicts between planning ethics and those of other professions like public administration; how planners in the public and private sectors view their ethical responsibilities; and how the values and ethics of today's planners differ from those of four decades ago. Learn how the AICP code has – and has not – kept up with societal changes and new tasks that face today's planners. All of the presentations are empirically based, reporting on studies of practitioners and how they address real-world ethical issues and conflicts.