W. Paul Farmer, FAICP

Contact Information

Organization / Work Phone:
(312) 751-0171

100 East Bellevue Place, 22A
United States

FAICP Statement

Paul Farmer's career has exemplified the importance of leadership, innovation, and implementation in the planning profession. As a practicing planner and leader of the American Planning Association, he has advanced the value placed upon planning in major American cities, academia, and the nation. Inducted in 2006.

Professional Biography

Paul Farmer, FAICP served as: CEO of the American Planning Association and its professional institute, AICP, as well as President, APA's Planning Foundation and AICP Ethics Officer, 2001-2014; Executive Director, Planning and Development, Eugene, OR, 1999-2001; Planning Director, Minneapolis, 1994-1998; Deputy Planning Director, Pittsburgh, 1980-1994. He was a founding faculty member of the planning masters program of the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, 1972-1980, and adjunct professor at: University of Oregon, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. He has consulted in the U.S., Canada, Germany, India, China, and Brazil, lectured on planning, design, development and public policy throughout the world, and written extensively. Both his Masters in Regional Planning and PhD studies were at Cornell University, where he was a Richard King Mellon Fellow, a Health Planning Fellow and an Instructor in Planning; his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Architecture are from Rice University, where he was a Lasker Fellow and a Distinguished Student Fellow in Architecture. He is a: Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners (FAICP); Honorary Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia; Honorary Life Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute; Honorary Member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. He has received awards from Progressive Architecture, the National Endowment for the Arts, the 2008 William and June Dale Prize from Cal Poly-Pomona for excellence in urban and regional planning; and, the New York University-Poly 2013 Spirit of Innovation Award. In Pittsburgh, he joined colleagues in: guiding recovery from the region's loss of 200,000 steel industry jobs in the early 1980's and, through Strategy 21, replacement with research, advanced technology and innovation sector jobs of 200,000 by 1990; reuse of mill sites and rebirth of 35 miles of riverfronts; construction of both light rail and first-generation BRT; and the program of Renaissance II, including over 12 mllion sf of downtown construction. He was in charge of the creation of the city (and ultimately, seven county region's) pioneering GIS, including the world's first use of GPS to establish new survey control, leading to the first GIS that met USGS national map accuracy standards. In Minneapolis, he directed the creation of The Minneapolis Plan, the city's first comprehensive plan in two decades, and revision of four-decade old zoning and development ordinances, as well as creation of the city's first, multi-year CIP. He guided development and implementation of: new water strategies, housing strategy and economic development strategy. He was instrumental in planning and construction of the region's first light rail line, connecting the major generators of downtown, the airport and the mega-mall. In Eugene, he served basically as a Deputy City Manager with a broad portfolio: planning, economic development, housing, redevelopment, permitting, inspections, transportation, parking, and solid waste. At APA, he engaged in transformative initiatives with elected leadership and members: unique growth strategies for a diverse membership with targeted market segments, resulting in an increase from 31,000 to 45,000 members; substantial increase in education programs, including Certification Maintenance for AICP members; a successful communication strategy with various initiatives, such as the Great Places in America Program, which annually receives vast media coverage and has been extended to many chapters and copied to some extent in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom; and an expanded advocacy program that includes an annual conference in D.C., increased amicus filings and broader partnership activities. APA, with members in almost 100 countries and members active in even more, also increased international activities with private, public and NGO partners and co-founded the Global Planners Network that has grown from three nation-based planning organizations to three dozen. With elected leadership, he provided stewardship of Association resources and guided the Association successfully through the Great Recession and recovery, leaving the Association in a sound financial position. He has also been active in APA and AICP from student days at Cornell through today, serving in various chapter positions, including president; various division positions, including chair; national positions, including CPC Chair and member of the APA Board. He has served in a variety of volunteer positions for other NGO's. In all of his positions, he has viewed the role of a planner as one of a collaborator, leader and educator -- an educator who must continue to be educated. Borrowing from statements by planners in the U.S. and elsewhere, he is proud to be a planner.


Rice Universitry
Graduation Date: June, 1967
Degree Level: Other Degree

112447 | Cornell University
Graduation Date: January, 1971
Degree Level: Graduate