APA Learn: Planning Education from A to Z

Learn It All in APA Learn

For many planners, continuing their professional education is a fundamental and ongoing career goal. Fortunately, education is at the core of what the American Planning Association offers the planning community.

Our online education platform, APA Learn, offers planners an easy way to access ideas and insights on important topics, track Certification Maintenance credits, and advance their career goals.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” An investment in APA Learn education is a great value for APA members; not only do members receive a 50 percent discount on all courses, APA continually adds new content on topics that range from A to Z.

Find an alphabet’s worth of planning courses below as you browse through the ABCs of planning.


Uppercase blue letter A.
Is for Affordable Housing

Affordable Housing Series

Many communities support affordable housing production but want to balance it with preserving community character. In this course learn from combined National Planning Conference sessions on Affordable Housing. Explore tools that encourage affordable housing while affirmatively furthering fair housing.

Uppercase blue letter B.
Is for Bike Lane

Increasing Biking in Contentious Environments

The American automobile is far from dead, yet we are demanding more from our city streets. This session will take a comprehensive look at how bicycle infrastructure can be built in charged political environments.

Uppercase blue letter C.
Is for Comprehensive Plan

Comprehensive Plan Standards for Sustaining Places

Looking for new tools for your comprehensive planning process? Learn about APA’s Comprehensive Plan Standards for Sustaining Places, and take a deep dive into its resource toolkit.

Uppercase blue letter D
Is for Diversity

Promoting Diversity and Inclusive Communities

Discover the barriers to the integration of diversity in planning education and practice through recent studies that explore perceptions and personal experiences of diversity in the workplace, practice, and education. Learn strategies to foster diversity and promote culturally competent planning.

Uppercase blue letter E.
Is for EcoDistrict

EcoDistricts and Environmental Justice Academy Precepts

Explore a proven approach to community revitalization that combines EcoDistrict protocols and Environmental Justice Academy precepts. Discover how to integrate these protocols and precepts to promote equitable, resilient, and sustainable communities.

Uppercase blue letter F.
Is for Flood Mitigation

Implementing Innovative Flood Protection/Mitigation

Hurricane Sandy underscored the region's need to advance coastal resiliency planning, a need magnified by the potential threat of more frequent and intensive coastal storm events. Explore the six award-winning design approaches, created as a result of HUD's Rebuild by Design competition.

Uppercase blue letter G.
Is for Green Infrastructure

Regional Green Infrastructure Strategies and Tools

Explore the processes and tools employed in the first stage of the Central Puget Sound Regional Open Space Strategy, and learn how these innovative, landscape-scale “green infrastructure” planning techniques can be applied to other regions.

Uppercase blue letter H.
Is for Housing

Housing, Health Equity & Local Control

“Local control," the newfound religion among progressive cities, has roots in strategies once used to combat reconstruction and civil rights. Is local control the antidote to state interference with laws aimed at achieving affordable housing and health equity? Find out.

Uppercase blue letter I.
Is for Infrastructure

Reinventing Urban Infrastructure: Innovative Design Solutions

Abandoned, underutilized spaces — products of urban post-industrialism and rapidly evolving technologies — provide fertile ground for innovative designs and planning. Learn how radical approaches to reinventing infrastructure can help you address increasing urban density proactively and successfully.

Uppercase blue letter J.
Is for Joint Development

All Aboard: Planning for Joint Development

Hear from transit agency development staff on how new policies are creating diverse communities, where agencies have successfully partnered with local cities — and learn where more collaboration and progress can be made.

Uppercase blue letter K.
Is for Knowledge

Local Planning Agency Management and Skills

What you need to know to manage today's local planning agency creatively and effectively. This course explores the perspectives, skills, and knowledge sets planners need to succeed in managing traditional practice as well as emerging sustainability and resiliency work.

Uppercase blue letter L.
Is for Land Use

Can Land Use Decisions Prevent Violence?

Violence is preventable, yet it is pervasive in too many communities. Explore how planners and people working in violence prevention, public health, and related fields can proactively collaborate to create safer neighborhoods for all.

Uppercase blue letter M.
Is for Multimodal

Identifying Continuous and Connected Multimodal Arterial Networks

Learn about a first-of-its-kind transportation planning framework that combines typology, land use, modal priorities, big data, multimodal performance measures, and the latest in GIS to evaluate multimodal arterial network needs.

Uppercase blue letter N.
Is for New Suburbanism

Lessons in New Suburbanism

Washington, D.C., is transforming as aging, auto-dependent suburbs are being revitalized through new suburbanism. Presenting a data-driven approach to transforming sprawl into walkable, sustainable communities, this session offers insight into and proven methods for suburban design success.

Uppercase blue letter O.
Is for Ordinance

Ordinances: Best Practices to Follow, Pitfalls to Avoid

Get a multi-state perspective on good drafting techniques, common pitfalls that lead to unclear ordinances, and legal and judicial perspectives on the results. Learn why drafting individual ordinances, “simplifying” or “streamlining” them, or combining them into a unified code all need to be done with care.

Uppercase blue letter P.
Is for Placemaking

Creative Placemaking from the Community Up

Explore creative placemaking from the community up, grounded in values fostering belonging, equity, racial justice, and inclusion. Examine local case studies from diverse urban and rural contexts, tools and resources, and creative participatory planning and community engagement practices.

Uppercase blue letter Q.
Is for Quality of Life

Austin Sidewalks: Planning, Assessment, and Execution

Sidewalk networks provide access to transit, increase transportation equity, help control air pollution and traffic congestion, and improve quality of life. Learn how Austin’s sidewalk and Safe Routes to School programs use GIS tools for analysis, planning, and project management.

Uppercase blue letter R.
Is for Regional Planning

Complete Streets: Regional Planning, Local Implementation

The Metro Orlando area of Florida consistently ranks at or near the top of the “Dangerous by Design” list for pedestrian safety. Learn how Central Florida is working to reverse dangerous trends by planning for and implementing complete streets.

Uppercase blue letter S.
Is for Smart Cities

Broadband Planning: Smart Cities and Superclusters

Learn comprehensive planning practices and the role of Wi-Fi SuperClusters in planning a resilient and sustainable smart city. Through case studies, experts share how high-speed broadband drives economic development and improves public safety, agricultural output, health care, and educational services.

Uppercase blue letter T.
Is for Tax Increment Financing

Legal and Financial Strategies for Conservation

Explore conservation easements, historic tax credits, and programmatic strategies that engender stewardship and protection as strategies to balance the maintenance of character and heritage with limited financial resources.

Uppercase blue letter U.
Is for Urban Design

Emerging Technologies to Transform Urban Design Series

Planners are playing an increasingly important role in the development of sustainable places and smart cities. This combined course featuring two NPC sessions explores automated vehicle technology, the use of ropeways and gondolas in an urban environment, and the proliferation of e-bikes worldwide.

Uppercase blue letter V.
Is for Vegetation

Bread & Butter: Planning for Farms

Planning for farms and food is a bread-and-butter issue. Forecast impacts of climate change and development, discover if your community is farm-friendly, and learn how an Iowa county preserved farmland and protected farms.

Uppercase blue letter W.
Is for Walkability

Saving Nature with Walkable Urbanism

Hear about the regulatory tools, capital investments, and partnerships that the riverfront city of Beaufort, South Carolina, and the college town of Davidson, North Carolina, employed to create more walkable communities while preserving their waterfronts and protecting their countryside.

Uppercase blue letter X.
Is for Xeriscaping

Water Decision Support Tools for Planners

Planners increasingly rely on place-based information from decision-support tools to better understand impacts of water-related events on communities. Learn from experts in the federal, NGO, and private sectors on using tools to address drought, coastal inundation, and water quality.

Uppercase blue letter Y.
Is for Youth

Captivating Youth Engagement

In this session, planners share their insights about programs that effectively engage young people in community planning. Learn about the institutional support for these projects and assess what resources you might need to undertake your own project.

Uppercase blue letter Z.
Is for Zoning

Friends at Last: Preservation and Zoning

Communities today are seeking ways to align and synchronize historic preservation regulations and guidelines with zoning. Explore approaches used in Los Angeles; Fort Worth, Texas; and Roswell, Georgia, to see how they may work for your community.

Top image: APA illustration.


About the Author
Kimberley Jacques is APA's education director.

February 12, 2019

By Kimberley Jacques