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2020 Upholding Equity in Planning Workshop - Final Report

Updated: Mar 8, 2022

In 2019, the Illinois and Wisconsin Chapters of American Planning Association applied for, and was awarded, a $4000 grant from the APA’s Chapter Presidents Council to advance the capacity of APA chapters to address the complex issues of social equity and inclusion. To achieve this the APA-IL and APA-WI, with Co-Chairs Kevin Kuschel (APA-WI) and Nina Idemudia, AICP (APA-IL), created, coordinated, executed, and documented a virtual training workshop surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion (D/E/I), called “Upholding Equity in Planning: A Virtual Workshop for Advancing Urban Planning Principles.” The December 2020 workshop was geared toward planning practitioners in an effort to transform day-to-day planning work within communities.

A critical piece of this grant was to determine the training needs of Wisconsin and Illinois planners. A DEI Training Survey took place in January 2020. The final report DEI Training Needs Survey Results APA-IL APA-WI, 2020, authored by Nancy Frank, AICP (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and Curt Winkle (University of Illinois at Chicago) with the assistance of the Training Needs Assessment Subcommittee members, revealed the top ranked DEI training needs as:

  1. training for planning commissioners and elected officials;

  2. organizational/planning-process level (e.g., creating inclusive planning meetings);

  3. facilitation techniques for discussing difficult diversity, equity and inclusion topics;

  4. developing inclusive public meetings, planning documents and policies; and

  5. missteps in planning involving marginalized communities.

In July 2020, the Chapters released a Request for Proposals to solicit facilitators for a three-day workshop. The RFP included the results from the survey mentioned above. The “Upholding Equity in Planning” workshop’s curriculum, created and lead by Castillo Consulting Partners, acknowledged how institutional racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and white supremacy created inequitable outcomes for society’s most vulnerable populations and laid out how those inequalities directly affect the urban planning profession.

“Upholding Equity in Planning” had 72 registered participants from 14 states. Feedback from this workshop has provided firm evidence that this event had a positive effect on all participants. Having both the APA-IL and APA-WI Chapters create this 3 day workshop shows members that we are taking steps toward cultivating true institutional change in the planning profession, not just performative gestures. With that said, we can not stop here. This is just the first step. Our Chapters plan to continue these efforts through strategic plans, programming, membership / board member recruitment, and our community involvement.


Opening Session

Are you curious about the workshop and the information that the workshop covered? The workshop's Opening Session is available via the APA-IL's YouTube Channel and we invite you to hear from the Workshop's Co-Chairs Kevin Kuschel (APA-WI) and Nina Idemudia, AICP (APA-IL).


Complimentary Panel Event

On December 4, 2020, the APA-IL and APA-WI hosted a candid conversation about how our profession and organization can help to change many of the harmful effects of structural racism, disinvestment, and inequity that have historically been created and/or perpetuated by the planning profession. The event was titled “Undoing Harm: The Role of APA and Planners in the Fight for Social Justice”. This event was open beyond participants in the workshop (95 unique attendees, 177 registered, 54% attendance rate) via zoom. Guests included Angela Brooks, AICP, currently the Director at Large with the American Planning Association (APA) Board of Directors and Alejandro Sanchez-Lopez a long standing member of the APA Los Angeles Section, and moderator APA-IL DEI Officer Nina Idemudia, AICP



The CPC grant also funded the development of a one-page resource flyer that can be distributed widely, providing information on self-guided free and low-cost resources, as well as specifications for APA chapters that wish to replicate the training. Some of the resource flyer information is available below:

How can my chapter replicate the Upholding Equity in Planning Workshop?

The Equity in Planning Workshop was created to acknowledge how institutional racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, anti-Blackness and white supremacy have created inequitable outcomes for society’s most vulnerable populations. Actively addressing how those inequalities were perpetuated by the planning profession is vital for planners to help address them. Hosting a workshop can give participants real world tactics of how to embed equity into their professional work. This will help take participants from passive allyship to active accomplices in dismantling oppressive structures and institutions.

What steps do I need to take?

  • Identify funding.

  • Identify volunteers willing to organize and manage the training.

  • Select volunteers needed for subcommittees or working groups.

  • Pinpoint a location. (in-person/virtual)

  • Hire a trainer that specializes in D/E/I training and has knowledge of urban planning.

  • Identify and select key speakers who are experts in the field.

  • Define the audience and promote the training widely.

  • After the training, evaluate the training and make improvements for future training.

What resources should my organization identify?

  • Funding

  • Volunteers

  • Champions who will boost visibility

  • E-marketing (emails, social media)

  • Online registration

  • Venue (in-person/virtual)

Lessons Learned

  • Stay vigilant despite internal/external resistance

  • Many obstacles provide unexpected opportunities for change

  • Flexibility is crucial for organizing these events

Free and low-cost self-guided resources

Be sure to download the one-page resource flyer for more resource information!


About Us

The American Planning Association (APA) provides leadership in the development of vital communities for all by advocating excellence in urban planning, promoting education and resident empowerment, and providing our members with the tools and support necessary to ethically meet the challenges of growth and change.


Creating great communities for all


APA advances urban planning through leadership in education, research, advocacy, and ethical practice

The Wisconsin Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-WI) and the Illinois Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-IL) are two of the 47 state chapters of the APA. State chapters provide a valuable local connection that provides professionals with

  • Professional development and continuing education

  • Leadership opportunities

  • Networking with peers

  • Planning commissioner training workshops

  • Public information campaigns

  • Legislative programs

  • Scholarships

  • Awards

Interested in membership with the American Planning Association or the Illinois or Wisconsin chapters? Please click on the links below to learn more!


Please contact


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