Celebrate World Town Planning Day 2020

November 8, 2020

World Town Planning Day is an opportunity to unite planners and celebrate planning around the globe. The American Planning Association in partnership with APA's International Division is sponsoring activities celebrating this year's World Town Planning Day.

The International Division invites planners, as well as urban aficionados, to participate in the 71st anniversary World Town Planning Day online conference on Sunday, November 8, 2020. The focus on the social pillars of equity, diversity, and inclusion aims to create a space in which all community stakeholders can join together to find solutions to thrive after public health crises.


2019 World Town Planning Day Online Conference

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Addressing Climate Change

The American Planning Association's International Division presented an online conference covering topics spanning resilience, environmental regulations, and sustainable cities. By adopting the holistic approach of equity, diversity, and inclusion, we hope to inspire to action as well as to promote urban planning as a pertinent field when addressing climate change worldwide.

Webinar 1: Shared Experiences in Advancing Inclusive and Equitable Climate Adaptation and Resilience Planning and Coastal Management

November 8, 2019

60 minutes plus 15 minutes Q&A

CM | 1.25

Missed the live webinar? View it free at APA Learn and claim CM credits.

Four panelists from the New York-New Jersey region discussed their ongoing efforts to undertake inclusive efforts to engage diverse, socially vulnerable, and environmental justice communities in planning for climate adaptation and resilience. Panelists presented their own experiences and shared common insights, lessons learned, challenges, and opportunities for the future.


Learning Objectives and Speakers

Learning Objectives:

  • Introduce participants to concepts associated with integrating equity considerations into climate change adaptation planning, including identification of opportunities and challenges;
  • Present strategies and case examples of efforts in which broad, inclusive participatory processes were applied as part of climate adaptation and resilience planning; and
  • Share common lessons and takeaways from current efforts to advance inclusive, equitable adaptation planning that can be replicable in other planning practice and experiences.
  • Provide a learning opportunity about initiatives for advancing equity in coastal management and efforts to assist equitable resilience planning across the coastal management community.


Drew Curtis is the Senior Equitable Development Manager at the Ironbound Community Corporation where he works on community organizing, public policy advocacy, neighborhood planning & revitalization, environmental justice, economic empowerment & and housing justice initiatives. Prior to joining ICC, Drew oversaw compliance with federal fair housing, labor and environmental regulations at the Bergen County Division of Community Development. He holds a Master of Science in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy at the New School University. Drew sits on the board of the Essex Community Land Trust.

Robin Leichenko is Professor and Chair of Geography at Rutgers University and Co-Director of the Rutgers Climate Institute. Robin co-chaired the Community Equity Working Group of the New York City Panel on Climate Change. She has authored or co-authored three books and more than 70 articles and book chapters. Her 2008 book Environmental Change and Globalization: Double Exposures won the Meridian Book Award from the American Association of Geographers. Her latest book, Climate and Society: Transforming the Future, shows that climate change is a critical challenge for society and an opening for transformation to a more sustainable and thriving world.

Kate Boicourt is Director of Resilience for the Waterfront Alliance. She oversees the organization's portfolio of resilience work including convening a Task Force, developing a regional resilience campaign, Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines, and the Harbor Scorecard. Kate served as Restoration Program Manager for the NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program, where she focused on cross-jurisdictional coastal issues related to habitat restoration, public access, and climate change. Previously, Kate led development of a Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the State of Maryland. She holds a Master of Environmental Science from Yale University and a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Kenyon College.

Jeanne Herb directs the Environmental Analysis & Communications Group at Rutgers University's Bloustein School. She leads multidisciplinary research, policy analysis and community projects related to human interactions with the environment. She works on issues related to climate change, health equity, environmental health, consensus building and science communication. Jeanne was Assistant Commissioner for Policy, Planning and Science at the NJ Department of Environmental Protection and oversaw sustainable development, climate change, coastal management, environmental health, and Environmental Justice. She's a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leader, has a Master's degree in science journalism and an undergraduate degree in environmental studies.

Sarah van der Schalie is a coastal management specialist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office for Coastal Management. In this role, Sarah is a liaison to the California Coastal Management Program, develops learning products for coastal managers, and provides regional and national support for a variety of coastal management issues. Sarah also focuses on building partnerships among state and federal agencies on coastal resilience and has a particular interest in tools, resources, and strategies that support and advance equity in resilience efforts. Sarah is located in Oakland, California.

Webinar 2: Fast and Fun Series

November 8, 2019

60 minutes plus 15 minutes Q&A

CM | 1.25

Three quick and informative presentations in 60 minutes, plus time for questions. Click a title for details.


Smart and Sustainable City Framework

This webinar introduces the Smart and Sustainable City Framework focusing on "People, Place and Planet" with technology as an enabler.

The Smart and Sustainable City Framework developed by the Institute for Sustainable Urbanisation (ISU) emphasizes the importance of Smart Thinking, Planning and Design. "Smart Thinking" starts with the preliminary thoughts and ideas to the visions and processes of developing a Smart and Sustainable City with a focus on "Smart People," "Smart Place," and "Smart Planet" to ensure innovative solutions to help create a liveable, walkable, resilient, and happy city for all to enjoy.

"Smart People" refers to citizens having a healthy lifestyle caring for environmental and social sustainability

A "Smart Place" is designed for people to enjoy and "Smart Planet" means that the natural environment and the built environment work together in harmony.

"Smart Living" improves the quality of life by ensuring liveability, affordability as well as the provision of sufficient open space and community facilities.

"Smart Environment" focuses on sustainability and resiliency, which includes green buildings and neighborhoods; high-quality open space and public space; energy and resource efficiency to ensure environmental sustainability.

"Smart Mobility" refers to accessibility and connectivity with multi-modal public transit, including Transit and Pedestrian Oriented Development (TPOD) prioritized with non-motorized transport options including walking and biking.

"Smart Infrastructure" encompasses basic infrastructure such as roads and utilities enabled with ICT technology including smart grid and sustainable monitoring.

"Smart Governance" refers to strong leadership with a common vision while engaging the community in a transparent and inclusive manner ensuring good governance with sound decision-making processes.

"Smart Economy" includes a diverse economy that promotes knowledge-based and other clean industries while being locally viable and competitive on a global scale, nurturing entrepreneurship and offering employment opportunities to all. The above six key elements work together with technology as an enabler to help create smart and sustainable cities and communities for all.

The above six key elements work together with technology as an enabler to help create smart and sustainable cities and communities for all.


Dr. Sujata S. Govada, AICP, is a qualified urban designer, certified town planner and a registered architect in India, with over 35 years of diverse international experience on award-winning design and planning projects in Hong Kong, China, Philippines, U.S., and India. She is the CEO and Managing Director, UDP International; Founding Director of the Institute for Sustainable Urbanisation (ISU); Adjunct Associate Professor, CUHK; Past President, AIA Hong Kong; Global Trustee, ULI; Founding Vice President of HKIUD and Former member of the Harbourfront Commission.

Planning and Provision of Public Infrastructure: A Case Study of Drainage Canals in Tema, Ghana

Rapid urbanization is a threat to the efficient and proactive provision of basic urban infrastructure. Nonetheless, existing formal regulations and design standards in Ghanaian cities are often outmoded, too expensive, cumbersome to implement and inconsistent with the incremental urban development practices that are prevalent. In response, many urban residents have resorted to self-financing and -provision of their basic infrastructure based on their resource capacities- time, money, and labor.

The research explores a situation in Tema, a Ghanaian city with both planned (estate) and unplanned neighborhoods, with a focus on its drainage systems. The study seeks to address the broader question: How are drainage systems planned and provided in the rapidly urbanizing city of Tema? Using a comparative analytical and multi-scalar approach, the study examines the quality, condition, and connectivity of drains and its relationship with formal regulations, standards, and approaches adopted in three neighborhoods. The local government is expected to finance and provide drainage canals. However, currently, the financing and provision of drainage canals by local residents have become the norm due to delays or the lack of proactive provisioning of drains by the local government.

Residents who are able to afford planned estate areas have the opportunity of having drainage canals provided as part of their purchased/mortgaged housing. Yet, this opportunity is not accessible to most residents who purchase non-estate self-build housing, representing 90 percent of Ghana's housing stock. As a result, in planned estate areas, relatively high levels of connectivity and quality in the drainage system were found as compared to non-estate areas where drains are mostly self-provided without regard for regulations. This uneven access to adequate and quality drains leads to different levels of vulnerability to flooding hazards.

Learning Objectives

To explore the relevance of inclusiveness in public infrastructure provision in cities under rapid urban growth and climate change


Kwadwo Afari Gyan is an urban designer, planner and graduate student at Iowa State University. He is passionate about issues concerning infrastructure development, housing, disaster risk, and hazard control and urban resilience. Growing up in urban, rural and suburban communities, he found the distinct characters and identities of these settlements to be intriguing. This interest is expressed in his recent research paper which explores the interface between orderly/regulated development and organic/self-build practices. His works lay emphasis on the need for public engagement, bottom-up development, incrementalism, and systemic planning.

An Approach for Inducing the Incorporation of Equity Measures into Development Management Practices


A fundamental threat to the revitalization of our democracy is the wealth divide and its associated impact of denying kids growing up in poverty the ability to move up. The "three E's" of economy, ecology, and equity must regain their balance to achieve true sustainability. The UN's Brundtland Commission in 1987 reported its assessment of the world's greatest perils, in which they defined sustainable development in the context of that balance. They exhorted each successive generation to leave the world better off than they found it, in two key concepts:

  • "the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and
  • the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs"

But we find ourselves in an increasingly dangerous imbalance. Presently, the economy is booming for only a very few, ecology is taking a severe hit over the last couple of years, and equity continues to slide ever deeper, a victim of the ever more monetization-dominated makeup of the world's economic structure. Recognizing economic realities, the proposal here is to recognize, reward, and promote good development behavior by incorporating community benefit measures into the development process.

Modelling the success that the LEED environmental sustainability measures have had, why not identify and promote social and economic equity measures into development practices? Community activists, my students, and I developed a schedule for such measures under the categories of Employment/Education, Housing, Services, Transportation, Infrastructure and Small and Start-up Business Support. It took LEED about 10 years to gain momentum, yet now it's a central metric in evaluating a development's success. Along the same lines and for similar reasons, why not Create Sustainable Equity Leadership? CSEQUIL?

Learning Objectives

Participants will understand the opportunities in the use of regulatory authority and public resources to shape development for sustainable purposes.


Mike Dobbins, FAICP, FAIA, is a city planner, urban designer, architect, and teacher who has practiced mainly in the public sector over the last 50 years. Since serving as the Commissioner of Planning, Development, and Neighborhood Conservation for Atlanta (1996–2002), he has been a Professor of Practice in Georgia Tech's College of Design. Before Atlanta, he led planning agencies in New York, New Orleans, Birmingham, and UC Berkeley. Informed by this experience, he dedicates his energies toward narrowing the wealth divide, advocating that public authority and public resources be directed to benefit people whose needs are greatest.

World Town Planning Day Resources

Global Planners Network

Global Planners Network YouTube page

A Guide to Using Your Planning Skills Abroad

APA International Division Planner Exchange Program

About World Town Planning Day

World Town Planning Day is celebrated in 30 countries on four continents each November. It is a special day to recognize and promote the role of planning in creating livable communities.

World Town Planning Day presents an excellent opportunity to look at planning from a global perspective, and APA encourages its members to consider planning challenges and solutions around the globe on that day.

The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) endorses World Town Planning Day as a strategy to promote a broad-based awareness, support, and advocacy of community and regional planning among the general public and all levels of government through activities in recognition of American accomplishments on World Town Planning Day of each year.

Program History

The international organization for World Town Planning Day was founded in 1949 by the late Professor Carlos Maria della Paolera of the University of Buenos Aires to advance public and professional interest in planning, both locally and abroad.

Why Celebrate World Town Planning Day?

  • To draw attention to the aims, objectives, and progress of urban and regional planning around the globe.
  • To engage local citizens and officials in the value of planning and to participate in shaping their community.
  • To highlight the valuable contributions sound planning has made to the quality of global human settlements and their environment.
  • To give worldwide coverage to the ideals of urban and regional planning not only within the profession but also among the general public.