National Centers for Planning

APA's National Centers for Planning conduct applied, policy-relevant research to identify, evaluate, develop, and disseminate best practices that address critical issues for the planning profession.

The Role of the Centers


The centers provide our nation's urban, suburban, regional, and rural planners with the knowledge they need to effectively guide policymakers who turn to them for advice about communities' built and natural environments. The centers are dedicated to helping planners create communities of lasting value: safe, healthy, and sustainable places that respect the values of their citizens.


The centers focus on best practices, innovative solutions, and leading-edge approaches. They operate with the unique perspective of urban planning: a comprehensive viewpoint, a spatial component, a long-range outlook, and serious attention to community engagement. Their approaches recognize that communities and the environments in which they are located vary widely.


APA maintains a highly qualified research and policy staff. The APA Library is known as one of the finest collections of materials on planning practice in the United States. APA maintains active and productive relationships with many private and public practitioners, academic institutions, and research institutes throughout the world. The centers draw upon in-house resources, research fellows, and a collaborative network of partner institutions.


The centers disseminate findings to the heads of public planning agencies and their staffs, planners in private practice, appointed and elected officials, educators and students, and professionals in allied fields via numerous vehicles. These include nine serial publications, a full-featured web site, research monographs, on-the-ground and virtual technical assistance, and in-person and distance learning opportunities.

About APA

APA is an independent, not-for-profit education and research organization devoted to urban, suburban, regional, and rural planning. With more than 44,000 members and established productive relationships with numerous academic, nonprofit, and public institutions, APA is connected to the innovative thinking and practical realities of the planning profession.