APA remembers the life and work of Leon Eplan, FAICP, former Atlanta planning commissioner and former president of the American Institute of Planners (AIP), one of two organizations that consolidated to form the present-day American Planning Association (APA). Eplan passed on April 15, 2021.
Leon was an influential and dedicated planner with a storied career in advancing equitable community planning. He is credited with first introducing the concept of continuous and coordinated planning as central to Atlanta's planning process. His 1963 Ansley Park Plan was the city's first neighborhood revitalization plan and serves as testament to his admirable commitment to diverse resident engagement and the neighborhood planning process. In his role as commissioner, he also created the Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU) system, which has since become a national model for citizen participation.
As President of Eric Hill Associates, Leon's team consulted on the design of Atlanta's MARTA transit system, where they first raised the idea of planning around transit stations (a concept now known as TODs). In 1991, he also helped create the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, and his continued work with ANDP laid the foundation for affordable housing strategies and mixed-use community development throughout the entire region.
He co-founded what is now the APA Georgia Chapter, serving as its inaugural president. He was elected Vice President of AIP in 1974 and served two terms as AIP President. Leon was named to the AICP College of Fellows in 2000.
Leon spoke about his career and the planning profession as part of an APA Georgia Chapter history project in 2008.
Leon's life and work touched many and has left an indelible mark on the planning profession. He will be missed.