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Thread: Strategic planning for municipalities: future trends for discussion

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    Cyburbian munibulldog's avatar
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    Strategic planning for municipalities: future trends for discussion

    We are working on a strategic plan for our municipal organization, through the various boards, commissions and departments.

    The focus of the plan is first on the organization itself, a review of each board and department to see if it is doing what it is chartered to do, and if changes need to be made in the City Code to change the role of individual boards.

    Second, the plan is to look at goals and objectives over near term and long term periods. Here the focus is on goals and objectives as definable projects. Next year we hope to tie the goals and objectives to municipal budget decisions.

    We are considering adding a dimension to the planning process: identifying trends and challenges which may occur in the future, and asking each board and department to imagine how the city could prepare itself to react to those trends and challenges. For example, one trend in particular seems to overshadow all others: Peak Oil.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/ENG408A.html
    http://www.geologie.tu-clausthal.de/...l/lecture.html

    This is a challenge that could dramatically change how a city develops and does its municipal business. There is some argument about whether this is a real trend or if it is just doom and gloom.

    Can anyone help provide books, websites or other sources for lists of future trends that we could use to generate discussion on the strategic plan?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian munibulldog's avatar
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    A couple more big trends:

    Globalization
    Baby Boomer Demographic

    Can anybody name any others?

    Any futurists out there?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
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    For our region the issues would include a wider definition of energy (not just oil) and address increasing per capita consumprion of energy.

    Water management.

    Are you on a coast? Sea level changes.

    Globalisation and demographic changes are too big in their own right - I think you should be teasing out the implications further. For example the baby boomer bubble has implications for the workforce, taxation, housing, transport, health care. These sub-topics are big enough in their own right.

    [edit]Another issue you could think about is health care in its own right. Apart from the demographic pressure on health care consumption, we are treating many illnesses more intensively now than we used to. We didn't have the technology or resources to deal with many of the things we now attempt to heal. So more often now, people who were once sent home to pass away, spend weeks and months undergoing treatments and therapies not previously countenanced.[/edit]
    Last edited by Rem; 06 Jan 2005 at 9:14 PM.

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    Cyburbian munibulldog's avatar
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    What I would like to do is to find a few good books that cover these trends, and then drill down to our municipal level and look at the way we are doing things.

    Example: we have a long term street renovation plan. Assume that the trends show that construction costs will rise rapidly with fuel costs, should we accelerate our street renovation program using low interest bonds?

    Example: as the cost of liquid fuels rises, where does the future lie for our city, in individual transportation or transit? What technology? Can we build a competitive advantage with an electric tram system? When should we start? Is our town small enough to be served by individual electric vehicles, which would limit demand for a tram? How long will it take the consumers to make the mental shift to lower oil consumption lifestyles?

    Example: After the disappearance of cheap oil, will freight be hauled by electric rail on existing railways or will the interstate highway system be converted to an electric freight system of some kind (to be determined). Should we preserve an old rail line for future use? Are highway interchange industrial parks a good idea in the future or will they become dinosaurs?

    The thing is, our organization tries to plan about 20 years out, and after just scratching the surface of reading about future trend effects, 20 years puts us in the start of major changes in our economy, technology and policy. What assumptions can we make about the future with some reliability that they will be accurate?


  5. #5
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
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    Future Eaters is an Australian Book but I think you would find the themes transferrable to the US.

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    I can't recommend a book, but one of the key trends is the hispanicization of the US. It has not, unfortunately, reached far enough into New England to get us a really good Mexican restaurant in Burlington, but it has made it form Arizona and CA as far as NJ and PA. It will be very unusual if your community is not touched by that trend.

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