Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at APA, and the NPC19 Plan4Equity Forum

The Plan4Equity Forum and the Arts & Planning Group Program and Social at the 2019 National Planning Conference are part of a larger and ongoing effort and commitment by APA in the areas of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

APA believes that it is the responsibility of planners to serve diverse populations and build better, more inclusive communities. Achieving a culture of diversity and inclusion is more important than ever before — and is an evolutionary process that requires ongoing renewal of our commitment and efforts.

Together with the Diversity Committee, Social Equity Task Force, Planning for Equity Policy Guide Working Group, the Arts and Planning Interest Group, and APA’s population-based divisions, APA has committed to ongoing development of resources to be made available to planners and allies alike, in order to accomplish this cultural shift in planning.

Fifteen Years of APA Diversity Efforts

In 2004, the American Planning Association held its first Diversity Summit to advocate for greater visibility of key issues. As a result of this summit, and many other efforts over the past 15 years, APA has elevated such issues as a top priority and is actively working on them on various fronts.

In 2018, APA adopted a Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and is currently in the process of developing a Planning for Equity Policy Guide. Additional efforts include a recent Planning Advisory Service (PAS) Report, Planning With Diverse Communities, which offers the information and tools that planners need to engage diverse communities in planning and to improve quality of life for all in ethnically and racially diverse communities. In addition, a joint survey with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning is measuring the climate of diversity in our workplaces (the data from this survey is currently being compiled).

New publications and resources will continue to be released, including an upcoming PAS Memo to be published in May that examines the challenges of the historical lack of diversity in planning and offers recommendations for planners to help improve equity and inclusion within the planning profession.

These milestones mark a new chapter in APA’s history, setting the direction for addressing some of the most challenging planning obstacles affecting vulnerable communities. 

Plan4Equity Forum

The Plan4Equity Forum at NPC19 will reflect and discuss these key issues in the setting of a deep-dive session, from 2:45–5:15 p.m. on Sunday, April 14.

The session was organized by the APA Diversity Committee, Social Equity Task Force, and Planning for Equity Policy Guide Working Group, with the goal of providing an opportunity for participants to learn first-hand about ongoing efforts and progress in addressing diversity, inclusion, and equity, both within and outside the planning profession.

In this forum, participants will be able to engage with other planners at a facilitated roundtable to discuss the many obstacles and opportunities that are present in the path to achieving diversity, inclusion, and equity in planning.

Attendees will also have the ability to provide input to APA on what steps and additional approaches the organization should take to further advance and implement the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, the Planning for Equity Policy Guide, and other related efforts.

Arts & Planning Group Program and Social

For those of you who will be at NPC19, immediately following the Plan4Equity Forum, make your way over to the Arts & Planning Group Program and Social where you can continue the conversation about equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Hosted by the APA Arts and Planning Interest Group (APIG), this fourth annual program and reception is sure to be the premier NPC19 social event for those seeking to network with local artists in the Bay Area and connect with fun, creative, curious, imaginative, and like-minded planners and artists attending NPC19.

The social will be held from 5:30–8 p.m. in the Zappa Room of 111 Minna Gallery, and attendees will celebrate the role that the arts and culture play in advancing a more diverse, inclusive and equitable planning profession and practice. Meet with APA Arts and Planning Interest Group and APA Diversity Committee leaders and hear brief remarks from movers and shakers in the arts and culture field. While this event is free, you must RSVP to attend.

Looking for Sessions Related to Inclusiveness and Social Justice?

The Plan4Equity Forum has been identified and peer-reviewed as significantly pertaining to inclusiveness and social justice. View all inclusiveness and social justice-related activities.

View the Program and Register Now

If you haven’t already, you can register for NPC19. View the full program to get a better understanding of all 325-plus sessions offered this year!

Top image: Audience at 2018 National Planning Conference session. APA photo by Riverview Photography.


About the Author
Nicole G. Smith is APA's interim senior content marketing associate.

April 10, 2019

By Nicole Smith