March 12, 2009

APA Reveals the 100 Essential Planning Books

CHICAGO— How do the issues facing communities today differ from 100 years ago? What issues concern the planning profession? In honor of the Centennial of the Planning Movement in America, the American Planning Association (APA) has compiled a list of 100 Essential Planning Books.

Cosponsored by the Association of College & Research Libraries, the comprehensive list provides an overview of the theories, concepts, and planning practices of the profession over the past 100 years. The list begins in 1909, the year of the first national conference on city planning held in Washington, D.C.

This is not a "best of" list. It is a list of books that provide an overview of what planners were thinking and addressing decade by decade. Some books are considered classics within the planning profession, others may be deemed irrelevant or invalid in today's environment.

"The essential list provides an overview of how the planning profession has evolved over time," said Carolyn Torma, APA's director of education. "I expect that the list will spark some lively debate."

Input from APA staff, members and prominent planning professionals helped assemble the essential list. More than 250 books were reviewed and considered as candidates.

Arranged by decade, the books provide a snapshot of the issues, theories and applications practiced during that time period. Two decades will be revealed every two weeks on APA's website. The entire list will be revealed by the centennial celebration in May.

"The list provides interesting reading for planners and individuals interested in the planning profession. It also offers a unique historical perspective of the profession for students and new planners," Torma said.

In 2009, APA celebrates the Centennial of the Planning Movement in America. The initiatives and events of 1909, including the first National Conference on City Planning held in Washington, D.C., established the foundation for the growth and emergence of America's planning movement. The conference and subsequent annual conferences were the precursor to the American City Planning Institute, which later became the American Planning Association.


Roberta Rewers, APA, 312-786-6395;