Emerging Trends in Regional Planning

PAS Report 586

By Rocky Piro, FAICP, Robert Leiter, FAICP, Sharon Rooney, AICP

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Today’s planning issues don’t respect boundaries. Rising tides don’t stop at the county line. Transit systems roll from city to city. Jobs and housing are joined at the hip. Public health touches everything.

Emerging Trends in Regional Planning finds common ground for planners without borders. In this panoramic PAS Report, the best thinking of APA’s Regional and Intergovernmental Planning Division comes together under editors Rocky Piro, PhD, FAICP; and Robert Leiter, FAICP.

The report lays out six trends that are making regional planning more integrated — and more focused on sustainability across the board. Chapters look at regional takes on the evergreen topics of water and land resources, economic development, and housing. The discussion also covers the emerging areas of climate change and public health. Readers will discover fresh ways to put plans into action, in sections on collaboration, funding, and more.

Real-world examples show regional planning at work from Seattle to San Francisco and Denver to Dallas. An eight-point agenda drawn from APA’s Sustaining Places initiative gives new regional plans a solid place to start.

The questions planners face are boundless. For answers, you’re going to need a bigger plan. Emerging Trends in Regional Planning is a must-read for everyone who wants to think globally, plan regionally, and act locally.


Executive Summary (pdf)

About the Editors

Rocky Piro, PhD, FAICP, is executive director of the Colorado Center for Sustainable Urbanism and associate professor at the University of Colorado Denver. He is past chair of the Regional and Intergovernmental Planning Division of the American Planning Association (APA) and is on the board of directors of the International Urban Planning and Environment Association. He served as manager of Denver’s Department of Planning and Community Development, program manager in the Growth Management Department of the Puget Sound Regional Council, and chair of the Shoreline Planning Commission in Washington.

Robert A. Leiter, FAICP, is a lecturer in the Urban Studies and Planning Program at the University of California San Diego. He previously served as planning director in four California cities from 1978 to 2003. From 2003 to 2009, he served as director of land use and transportation planning for the San Diego Association of Governments, the regional planning agency for San Diego County and its 18 cities. He has served on the board of APA’s Regional and Intergovernmental Planning Division for over ten years, including four years as board chair.

Product Details

Page Count
Date Published
Jan. 20, 2017
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Chapter 1. Introduction to Current Trends
Where We Are Today: Six Key Trends
About This Report

Chapter 2. Regional Planning in the United States: An Overview
What Is Regional Planning?
Regional Planning: A Brief History
An Evolution in the Making
Forms of Regionalism in the United States Today
Regional Planning: A Constellation of Approaches
Regional Planning as Sustainability Planning
New Tools and Techniques

Chapter 3. Regional Planning for Environmental Issues
Regional Water Resource Planning
Regional Land Resource Planning

Chapter 4. Regional Planning For Economic Development And Housing
Regional Economic Development Planning
Regional Housing Planning

Chapter 5. Regional Planning for Climate Change and Public Health 
Regional Climate Change Planning
Regional Public Health Planning

Chapter 6. Profiles in Regional Integrated Planning
Why Regional Integrated Planning?
Regional Profiles of Integrated Planning

Chapter 7. Techniques for Implementing Regional Plans
Funding for Regional Plan Implementation
Collaboration With Implementation Partners
Consistency Review
Technical Assistance
Performance Monitoring

Chapter 8. The Future of Regional Planning
An Action Agenda for Regional Sustainability Planning
Further Evolution of the Regional Planning Agenda
Future Work for Understanding and Advancing Regional Planning in the United States
The Future Is What We Make of It



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