Chinese Mayor and Planner Training Program

As a Chinese State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) certified training service provider, APA has hosted nearly 1,000 Chinese mayors over the last decade, and we continue to add new subscribers at the provincial level in our program.

Thanks to thousands of supportive APA members, who are willing to offer their planning expertise, our training sessions come in a variety of formats based on individual needs. They range from a few days to a few weeks, on a specific topic or a variety of topics. Training may also involve a combination of classroom experience and hands-on demonstrations. Some of the topics that have been of particular interest in recent groups include: water management, urban-rural interface, urban design, historic preservation, tourism, housing policies, real estate development regulations and management and citizen involvement techniques.

Participating APA members always tell me they enjoy sharing information about their communities and the lessons they've learned — good and bad — with the mayors. We also arrange for AICP members who prepare talks and tours to receive CM credits for their exchanges. The delegations normally conduct their trips during summer and fall each year.

If you are interested in engaging the delegates as speakers, or exploring more networking opportunities in China, please feel free to contact our program manager Andy Fang at

Training Sessions

2013 Training

2013 was a busy year for APA's Chinese mayors training program. We welcomed over 100 mayors from seven delegations coming from all over China, including Shandong, Yunnan, Sichuan, Hainan, and Guangdong provinces. After training sessions ended, many signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with APA for future collaborations and assistance.

Shandong Mayor Training I (2013)

Cities visited: Washington D.C., Baltimore, Boston, New York, Los Angeles

APA kicked off 2013's international leadership training program by welcoming 23 mayors and party secretaries from Shandong province this summer for 21 days. Cities visited were Washington D.C., Baltimore, Boston, New York, and Los Angeles.

The mayors learned about American government structure and urban planning, comparisons of American and Chinese ideas of "urban design" and "urban planning," regional planning and intergovernmental cooperation, public participation and planning process, and green community.

Other study topics for the mayors included the Monument Core Framework Plan, America's land use and zoning, capital improvement plan, Urban Growth Boundary, and urban rail systems.

Previous Training

Chengdu Mayor Training I (2010)

Cities visited: Washington D.C., Baltimore, New York, Chicago, Portland, San Francisco

Classes: American government structure and urban planning, comparison of American and Chinese ideas of "urban design" and "urban planning," regional planning and intergovernmental cooperation, public participation and planning process, green community, Monument Core Framework Plan, America's land use and zoning, capital improvement plan, Urban Growth Boundary, urban rail system, etc.

  • Chongqing Planning Bureau professional training I, II
  • Wuxi City leadership training I, II, III
  • China Ministry of Land and Natural Resources Policy Research
  • China State Administration of Cultural Heritage Leadership Training
  • Jiangsu Mayors Training
  • Shanghai Xuhui District Leadership Training
  • Shanghai Pudong New District Leadership Training
  • Jiangsu Senior Planners Extended Training
  • Chongqing Mayors Training
  • Shanghai Land Planning Leadership Training
  • Wuhan Central South Architectural Design Institute Training

American Lecturers

Eugene Alford
International Trade Specialist at the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration. Alford serves as the industry specialist for planning, architecture, engineering and construction services. As a senior services industry specialist, he has participated in negotiations in the World Trade Organization's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and in other multilateral trade and economic fora, as well as negotiating bilaterally with more than 100 trading partners globally. For the past three years, Alford has led a team of commerce trade specialists and representatives from the American Planning Association in support of APA's China Program, which was awarded a Commerce Department Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) grant in 2006. Alford has spoken at the Global Planners Network Congress in Zhenjiang, China, and at APA's National Planning Conferences, to provide U.S. and Chinese planners with insight into the successful cooperation between the Commerce Department and APA, and to educate U.S. planners on the department's many resources available to them.

Gerdo Aquino
Managing Principal, SWA Group. Oversees SWA Group's Shanghai office. Work focuses on a variety of urban and suburban infill sites that are under-utilized or abandoned. Extensive experience in the design and planning of corporate campuses in Silicon Valley, California, and Shanghai, China. Earned a Master of Landscape Architecture from Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, 1996; and Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from the University of Florida, 1994.

Frank Beal
Executive Director of "Chicago Metropolis 2020." Beal was formerly director of the Illinois Department of Energy and Natural Resources. Beal served as the state's first deputy director of the Institute for Environmental Quality. Beal graduated from the University of Illinois with a master's degree in urban planning in 1965 and has a bachelor's degree in engineering from Antioch College.

Gil Kelley
An urban and strategic planning consultant based in Portland, Oregon. He advises city, county, and regional governments on strategies for addressing climate change, sustainable urban development, and organizational aspects of local planning and development functions. Prior to starting his own firm, Kelley served as director of planning for the City of Portland for nine years and as director of planning and development for the City of Berkeley, California, for 10 years. He has also been a planning consultant in California and Oregon for both public and private sector clients. He speaks nationally and internationally on planning and climate change and sits on a number of advisory boards for organizations concerned with public health, climate change, and sustainable urban development.

Joe MacDonald, AICP
Program Development Senior Associate at the American Planning Association. MacDonald received his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Master of Urban and Regional Planning from Florida State University; and B.S. in Atmospheric Science from the University of Michigan.

Dennis McClendon
Dennis McClendon's career has been in publication production and graphic design, including 11 years at the American Planning Association. In 1994 he started a design firm, Chicago CartoGraphics, which specializes in maps and other information graphics. He has a B.S. in urban studies from the University of Tulsa and a law degree from the University of Texas.

Karl Moritz
Deputy Director, Long Range and Strategic Planning, City of Alexandria, Virginia. Assists the director in planning, directing and managing the department of planning and zoning's community planning and geographic information systems programs. For over 15 years, at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Moritz assessed the need for infrastructure to support growth, including transportation systems, water and sewerage systems, schools, public safety facilities, and other facilities.

Donovan Rypkema
Principal of Place Economics and President of Heritage Strategies International. Both firms provide services to clients who are dealing with commercial district revitalization and the reuse of historic structures. Heritage Strategies International was established in 2004 to provide services beyond North America. Rypkema has worked in 49 states and more than 30 countries. He is the author of numerous publications and a book, The Economics of Historic Preservation. Rypkema holds a master's degree in historic preservation from Columbia University.

Michael Sherman
Chief of Staff, National Capital Planning Commission. Provides strategic planning and analysis, ensures the implementation of agency directives, and provides expert advice to the executive director. During his 15 years at NCPC, he has served as a community planner, a special assistant to the executive director, and as director of technology. Prior to working at NCPC, Sherman served as a geographic information systems (GIS) manager for the Massachusetts Port Authority and as an associate planner with Sasaki Associates in Watertown, Massachusetts. He received a Master of City Planning and a Master of Science in Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

William Siembieda, AICP
Department Head, City and Regional Planning Department, California Polytechnic State University. Siembieda is an internationally experienced land use planner and a nationally recognized planning educator. He has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Planning Education and Research (JPER), and the Journal of the American Planning Association (JAPA). His international work experience includes consultancies on land policy, land information systems, housing and strategic planning for various ministries in Mexico, Chile, Columbia, and Cuba. Siembieda also has expertise in disaster mitigation planning in Latin America.

Jeffery Soule, FAICP
APA Policy Director; secretary general and government planning policy chief, National Endowment of Arts Design Program; administrator/director, National Small Town Association; initiator, Center for Rural Pennsylvania; director, American Historical Preservation Association. Master of Architecture at Harvard GSD; Master of Public Administration at Kennedy College; Bachelor of Architecture and City Planning at Colgate University.

David Tuchmann
Development Manager, Akridge. Tuchmann is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the development cycle including acquisitions, entitlements, budgeting, design, marketing, financing, leasing and construction of residential, retail and office projects in the Washington, D.C., region. Currently, Tuchmann manages the design and approval process for Burnham Place, a 3-million-square-foot, mixed-use, air rights development adjacent to Union Station. This project will be constructed atop active rail lines and requires the approval of more than five federal and local agencies.

Michael Vanderbeek
Manager of Strategic Planning, Executive Office at Port of Long Beach. Participated in the making of Long Beach Port's 10-year strategic plan, and several industry-leading environmental programs, such as the San Pedro Bay Clean Air Action Plan. Vanderbeek also played a key role in developing the port's $1 billion annual budget in each of the past four years.