Updated: Apr 13
As we near the one-year mark of quarantines, mask mandates, and a general upheaval of our lives, it seems like we might now be seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps there will be a time in this year where we can begin to see our planning friends and colleagues in person rather than over a video screen. I know that is a piece of my life that I truly miss. This last year has also been an interesting one to serve on the APA Board of Directors because we had to move forward with our organizational business while also making some very tough decisions such as going virtual with conferences and making choices on the budget to keep the organization financially sound while providing our members with continued value. With that, I thought I would provide our members with an update on what is happening at the national level of APA and some information on upcoming activities.
1. APA Strategic Planning
Right before the pandemic hit, the APA Board and AICP Commission were in the process of rethinking our approach to strategic planning. We wanted to focus more on the big picture of planning over the shorter-term operational activities. Over the fall of 2020 and the beginning of this year, the Board and Commission have been working virtually on both leadership development and strategic planning. We have set our strategic goals for the next two years as follows:
Prioritizing Equity. APA's inclusive and diverse membership, elected leadership, volunteer and staff workforce lead the way to more equitable communities.
Reframe the Voice of Planning. The role of planners is understood, valued, and sought after by decision makers and influencers.
Upskill Planners. Planners have the knowledge, insight, and skills to help communities effectively manage change.
Pursue Digital Relevance. APA's digital business focus ensures it remains relevant.
With our adopted goals, the Board and Commission will be working on fleshing out those goals with strategies much like our communities implement their plans. Overall, we are determined to build on the diverse talents, experiences, perspectives, and cultural richness of our community to ensure we emerge from the pandemic more impactful and resilient than before.
2. National Planning Conference
Unfortunately, the APA Board had to make the decision to cancel our planned national conference in Boston and move the conference to an online format. The good news is that we believe that #NPC21 is going to be an amazing experience. APA is working to finalize the program but have selected Valerie Jarrett to be the keynote speaker. Valerie Jarrett is a champion of equality and opportunity for all Americans, and advocate for politically empowering women around the world, Jarrett is a Senior Distinguished Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School, and a senior advisor to the Obama Foundation and ATTN.
In addition to our wonderful keynote, the program will include sessions with a focus on:
Addressing a legacy of inequality
COVID recovery and reinvention
Emerging transportation and infrastructure
Leveraging rapid technological changes
Planning practice innovation
Resilient planning in a changing climate
Registration is open now. Learn more at https://www.planning.org/conference/. 3. Legislative Priorities
I was recently appointed to serve as the Chair of APA’s Legislative and Policy Committee, one of the most active committees of the organization. Our committee has been working on new policy guides related to equitable economic development, legacy cities, and equitable zoning. Additionally, the committee is key to developing the annual legislative priorities that the APA Board ultimately adopts. We believe that 2021 will be a critical year for planners and the communities we serve. As communities begin to emerge from pandemic lockdowns, the work of recovering, rebuilding, and reinventing will be the focus driving much of what planners do.
The 2021 APA legislative priorities reflect this significant moment.
Transportation and Broadband Infrastructure
Federal action on these four issues — paired with the work of planners on the local and regional level — present an opportunity to ensure that recovery investments now build a foundation for an equitable, resilient future. For more information on our legislative priorities, visit https://www.planning.org/policy/.
4. 2021 APA/AICP Consolidated Elections
Every two years, the APA Board and AICP Commission facilitate a consolidated election process to elect new leadership at the national and chapter level, as well as for divisions and student representation. APA is committed to seeking a diverse group of leaders for the organization This year there will be an election for several seats on both the APA Board and AICP Commission, including for the president-elect of each board. The nomination window for potential candidates will be open soon, from March 15 to May 15, and potential candidates will be able to learn about opportunities to serve on the APA Board, AICP Commission, and in many chapters and divisions here www.planning.org/elections.
If you have the ability to think strategically and analytically, and to effectively communicate thoughts and the reasons for them, you should consider service in APA’s national leadership. It is a lot of fun and you will get to work with wonderful people on exciting activities… I promise!
Wendy Moeller, FAICP, is the Region IV Director for the American Planning Association and Principal/Owner of Compass Point Planning. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.