A Path to an Enlightened Planning Future

Planners understand and anticipate change. Although we may not have anticipated a global pandemic, we help communities adapt to demographic, social, and economic changes. We are well-positioned to lead communities through recovery.

As the incoming AICP President, I believe that AICP certification helps planners make an even greater impact in the communities we serve. AICP will always represent leadership, professionalism, and integrity. Our values are encapsulated in the AICP Code of Ethics and our commitment to ongoing learning is fortified by the Certification Maintenance program.

Much as communities must adapt to an evolving world, so must AICP. Here are a few of the ways that we are ensuring that AICP certification remains relevant to planners and the communities they serve.

Removing Barriers

It is important that the body of AICP-certified members is diverse and reflects the experiences and perspectives of our communities. AICP is committed to removing barriers to certification and ensuring more equity in the certification process.

We are revisiting the AICP Certification Exam with an eye for equity, diversity, and inclusion. We are recruiting a diverse pool of members who serve as professional experience essay reviewers. As affirmed in AICP’s Aspirational Principles, financial assistance for certification to individuals from underrepresented groups will be provided through APA Chapters and the AICP Certification Diversity Scholarships.

Additionally, a new and more flexible certification process will make AICP more accessible for all planners. Learn more about the new options for your path to AICP Certification.

Evolving Professional Development

The Certification Maintenance program is evolving to meet the needs of today’s planners and the challenges communities are facing.

When the CM program was first implemented, the AICP Commission recognized the importance of ethics and law by ensuring members participate in education on those topics. But our world has not remained static, and neither can our professional development.

Beginning in January 2022, AICP certification maintenance will include new topics (in addition to law and ethics) by introducing two new mandatory credits for AICP members. In recognition of the need for communities to deliberately counteract and heal decades of inequity and injustice in policies and practice, one of the new mandatory credits will be Equity.

Another will be a topic-based credit that will change as needed to reflect emerging and important issues facing communities. This credit will start with the topics of Sustainability and Resilience, providing planners the knowledge they need to address issues like climate change mitigation and adaptation, hazard resilience, and public health.

The new mandatory credits will ensure AICP members are prepared for the critical issues of our time. And with these credits, AICP demonstrates its commitment to leadership. Once implemented, AICP will be the only credential in the built environment arena that ensures professional development in these two areas.

Support in Changing Times

This year of upheaval has made it clear how important it is to have a community of your fellow planners through organizations like APA and AICP.

When planners are faced with ethical questions, the AICP Code of Ethics has always supported and inspired us in making the right decision. We are in the process of updating the Code of Ethics, which will include placing an even greater emphasis on equity — giving AICP-certified planners the backing to make equitable decisions and recommendations for your projects and communities.

Finally, the new AICP digital credential benefit brings planners the power of certification in an increasingly digital world. Read more from AICP President Deb Lawlor, FAICP, PP, about the value of this new AICP member benefit.

I am proud to begin serving as AICP President in 2021 as we embark on these improvements that ensure AICP Certification continues to represent the best of our profession. Thank you to outgoing AICP President Deb Lawlor and the entire AICP Commission for their leadership and commitment in laying the foundation for a stronger and more enlightened Code of Ethics, professional development program, and planning profession.

Top image: Getty Images illustration.


Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP
About the Author

Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP

Mitchell Silver is the AICP President Elect. He became commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks in May 2014. An award-winning planner with 35 years of experience, Silver is internationally recognized for his leadership in the planning profession and his contributions to contemporary planning issues.

December 4, 2020

By Mitchell Silver, FAICP