APA Ethical Principles in Planning

This statement is a guide to ethical conduct for all who participate in the process of planning as advisors, advocates, and decision-makers. It is a guide, and not a code by which individuals may be held accountable.


APA is governed by a Board of Directors that works in partnership with the leaders of its professional institute, AICP, to set strategy, provide oversight and ensure progress toward goals. Our large network of volunteer leaders collaborates to advance the organization's mission and vision.

  • APA Board of Directors
  • AICP Commission
  • Chapter Presidents Council
  • Divisions Council
  • Student Representatives Council
  • APA Foundation

International Strategy

Challenges and successes often cross geographic, national, and institutional borders. Here are some examples of how APA is involved worldwide:

  • World Town Planning Day
  • Global Planners Network
  • United Nations
  • World Urban Forum


Media Center

Learn about APA, its members, and the latest planning-related news.

APA Senior Staff

APA programs and services are managed by a highly competent team of association executives whose goal is delivering value to APA members and customers.

    APA by the Numbers

    Membership and financial data are presented quarterly to offer insights into the association's current and year-over-year performance in key areas.

    A Brief History of the American Planning Association

    On October 1, 1978, the American Planning Association emerged from the consolidation of the American Institute of Planners and the American Society of Planning Officials. Both memberships and boards had overwhelmingly approved the consolidation earlier in the year and decided to create a single independent, not-for-profit educational organization that was:

    ... organized exclusively for charitable, educational, literary and scientific purposes to advance the art and science of planning and the activity of planning — physical, economic, and social — at the local, regional, state and national levels.

    Within APA would be a professional institute — the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) — that would be responsible for the national certification of professional planners.

    Although AIP was incorporated in 1917 as the American City Planning Institute (renamed the American Institute of Planners in 1939), and ASPO in 1934, we trace our roots even further back to 1909 and the first National Conference on City Planning in Washington, D.C. From that and subsequent conferences, the organized planning movement emerged.

    This model of a single organization — a "big tent" for everyone interested in planning, with an internal institute to advance the interests of the profession — was unique at the time and has attracted great interest around the world.

    The planning movement has been well served by APA. We have grown from an organization of 13,000 to more than 40,000 members, of whom more than 17,000 are certified by AICP.

    Collections of historical papers about the beginnings of these organizations reside at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at the national planning archives at Cornell University.