Anticipatory Governance: Planning for High Uncertainty


  • Issues and trends in your community that defy a "predict-and-plan" paradigm
  • How to apply anticipatory governance to existing planning processes
  • How to draft a rough outline for applying anticipatory governance to your existing planning processes


Predicting or choosing a future, planning for it, and then it not happening as planned can be quite disruptive to the management of urban areas and planning careers. Unfortunately, given the high degree of uncertainty associated with climate, the economy, even politics and community values, if we continue to embrace a “predict-and-plan” approach to planning, many planners will experience this disruption firsthand. Fortunately, another planning paradigm, anticipatory governance, is proving effective for issues of high uncertainty. Rather than trying to predict or choose a future and plan for it, a wide range of futures (desired or otherwise) are anticipated. Strategies are identified that are robust across all futures, have no regrets, preserve future options, avoid worst-case or undesirable events, can be flexible and change, and identify critical resources and events. This course presents the theory behind anticipatory governance, both anticipation and governance, and provide real-world examples of how it is being used for public policy.