News Release: February 8, 2016

Belize City Volunteer Planning Team Begins Preliminary Work

CHICAGO — The American Planning Association (APA) is sending a volunteer planning team to Central America to provide community planning assistance to the Yarborough neighborhood of Belize City, Belize. The team will provide recommendations for enhancing the city's economy, addressing waterfront sustainability and strengthening its reputation as a tourist destination. This is the first Community Planning Assistance Team to assist a community outside of the U.S. This event is possible thanks to the support of Belize City Council (BCC) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative (ESCI).

The team is part of APA's professional institute's Community Planning Assistance Teams program. The program matches communities that have no planning staff or need additional planning assistance with planning experts from around the U.S. Teams have previously assisted with advancing community planning goals, economic development, transportation and post-disaster recovery.

Team leader Justin Garrett Moore, AICP, will visit Yarborough February 9–12, 2016. During the preliminary visit, Moore and institute staff will begin to meet with local and national officials, community groups, residents and stakeholders to help hone the areas to be addressed by the full team. Current areas of focus include providing recommendations for further implementing Belize City's 2012 Master Plan, and better connecting the cruise port and the city center.

The full team is anticipated to come to Yarborough in early summer.  During this visit, the team will continue to meet with the community, survey the neighborhood and begin to assemble initial recommendations. Following the team's on-site work, the team will prepare a report of recommendations for the city. The recommendations will take into account capacity, community needs and desires, and existing infrastructure.

Communities seeking planning-related assistance can submit a proposal. The Community Planning Assistance Team program was established in 1995 to help serve communities with limited planning resources. Previous teams have recently worked in Deerfield Beach, Florida; Franklin, Tennessee; La Feria, Texas; and Seven Ranches Area of Maricopa, Arizona; among other locations.

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning — physical, economic, and social — so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, with almost 40,000 members worldwide in nearly 100 countries.


Roberta Rewers, APA; 312-786-6395;