The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having a significant impact on communities, and planners are on the front lines of response and recovery. APA is committed to providing resources, information, and tools to address your immediate needs and help you prepare for what is to come.
Learn more about how we are using the practice of foresight to "learn with the future," prepare for uncertainty, and help planners navigate this disruptive change.
Turn to APA for trusted, timely, and useful resources, updated regularly.
List of Resources
The APA New Mexico Chapter, with support from the APA Chapter President's Council and New Mexico Resiliency Alliance, hired students at the University of New Mexico to gather stories from communities in New Mexico about the effect of the pandemic and how they adapted.
Planners in Henderson, Nevada, received a 2021 National Planning Award for their COVID recovery plan, which combined immediate measures to lesson the spread of COVID-19 and community-based economic recovery efforts.
Volunteering strengthens community capacity, helps raise funds, and generates project momentum and buy-in. Megan Oliver, AICP, offers some best practices for hosting safe, comfortable volunteer opportunities, even while physically distanced. (Planning, Winter 2021)
Short-term zoning adjustments can minimize economic damage and promote economic recovery from the pandemic. COVID-19 may also reinforce or disrupt long-term zoning trends related to housing diversity, flexible use permissions, built form, and the public realm. (Zoning Practice)
Medical anthropologist Dr. Monica Schoch-Spana joins host Jim Schwab, FAICP, on this episode of Resilience Roundtable to talk about the commonalities between natural disasters and the coronavirus pandemic, and the roles planners should play. (APA Podcast)
Bob Tuttle, director of the New York City Department of City Planning's Capital Planning Division, describes how the division was asked to use its datasets and knowledge of city facilities to identify possible locations for surge hospitals in the early days of the COVID-19 response. He also discusses how the division aims to integrate planning perspectives and data-driven planning analytics into the city's capital budget planning and decision-making process. (APA Podcast)
What should planners understand about COVID-19 from a public health perspective, and what is planning's role in public health? Sagar Shah, PhD, AICP, APA's Planning and Community Health manager, honors his colleague and friend who died from COVID-19 by sharing information about important public health concepts and ways planners can help fight this and future pandemics. (APA Blog)
Planners focus on the future — envisioning, projecting, forecasting, planning — but rarely, in recent years, have they faced so much uncertainty about tomorrow, next week, or this fall, let alone the time horizon of a comprehensive plan. (Planning, June 2020; APA members and subscribers only)
Dr. Jennifer Horney, epidemiologist and disaster researcher at the University of Delaware, brings her expertise to some pressing public health questions, including how planners might serve as allies to medical and public health professionals. (APA YouTube)
Benjamin Hitchings, FAICP, offers seven sound, ethical suggestions for how to respond when public officials apply pressure to loosen planning regulations — without exceeding statutory authority or compromising longer-term planning visions. (APA Blog)
Sean McGuire, AICP, reminds planners that we cannot forget our oldest charge: protecting the public's interest. (Planning, May 2020)
Brian Golden, director of the Boston Planning & Development Agency, joins APA's Roberta Rewers to discuss the unprecedented actions being taken in response to the challenges brought about by the pandemic, including new responsibilities taken on by the city's planning staff. (APA Podcast)
Kimberly Burton, AICP CTP, gives 10 tips for how to be a strong, flexible leader when your team is working remotely — plus a rundown of technology to get the job done. (APA Blog)
Ten ways to keep planning during the COVID-19 pandemic, as compiled by APA's Michigan Chapter. (APA Blog)
New Grads: Stephanie Blochowiak offers recommendations for your job search and career aspirations in the time of COVID-19. (APA Blog)
A members-only collection of over 60 articles, videos, policies, reports, and more that provide background and policy guidance on online public engagement. (KnowledgeBase; APA members only)
Most places in the U.S. still have a few weeks of good weather remaining. Read these four tips from planners for effective, socially distant outdoor community engagement. (Planning web exclusive, October 2020; APA members only)
Emily Mack of the Department of Metropolitan Development in Indianapolis, Indiana, explains to APA's Jo Peña how their team quickly developed a standard operating procedure for online meetings. (APA Podcast)
Which software product is right for your online public meetings? Sean Maguire, AICP, dives into the pros and cons of three popular products to help guide your decision. (APA Blog)
Moving Planning Commission Meetings Online During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Mid-Sized City Perspective
In Fayetteville, Arkansas (pop. 85,000), the planning commission held its first online meeting on March 23, 2020, using the platform Zoom. APA's Roberta Rewers talks with immediate past chair of the Fayetteville Planning Commission, Matt Hoffman, about the experience. (APA Podcast)
APA's Jo Peña talks with Nupur Gunjan, a public sector analyst at Cisco and trained planner who transitioned to the tech world after working for the City of Austin, Texas. The two focus on what planners need to know about data protection and online public engagement right now, but also what they can do to protect their communities in the future. (APA Podcast)
The financial challenges now facing states and localities are — like so much about the pandemic — unprecedented. Planners must learn about the financial underpinnings, or "fiscal architecture," of their communities and regions, to help in the search for solutions. (Planning, November 2020)
Angela Cleveland, AICP, director of community and economic development for the City of Amesbury, Massachusetts, and Matthew Coogan, AICP, chief of staff for the City of Newburyport, Massachusetts discuss how their communities are leveraging emergency Community Development Block Grant funding via the CARES Act. (APA Podcast)
Could local economies see a post-pandemic boost? Or are they previewing COVID-19's financial free-fall? (Planning, May 2020; APA members and subscribers only)
Although the problem may seem daunting, we look at some practical strategies that planners can use now to address immediate economic challenges and help communities weather the storm. (APA Blog)
A backstage pass to the past, present, and future of Virginia Beach's biggest music festival. (Planning, April 2020)
Alex Hoffman, AICP, director of the Capital Planning Division of El Paso's Capital Improvement Department provides planners with practical advice on how to reenvision their own communities' capital improvements planning processes using a equity-focused approach. (APA Podcast)
Broadband access — or reliable, high-speed internet access — is a necessity, not a luxury. APA's Sagar Shah, PhD, AICP, talks with Anna Read, AICP, an officer for the broadband research initiative at The Pew Charitable Trusts, about the work that several communities across the country are doing to close the broadband gap. (APA Podcast)
The Portland, Oregon, City Council recently adopted a resolution that highlights the connections between equity, climate, and COVID-19 recovery. Andrea Durbin and Dr. Markisha Smith discuss the connection between the newly adopted resolution and planning practice. (APA Podcast)
A Q&A with Sam Assefa, director of Seattle's Office of Planning & Community Development, explores the planning department's role in Seattle's coronavirus strategy for an equitable, resilient recovery that is anchored by a race and social justice lens. (APA Blog)
Despite the ever-present digital divide, inclusive public outreach and social distancing are not mutually exclusive. (Planning, June 2020)
The COVID-19 pandemic has made unhoused populations all the more vulnerable — and left cities scrambling to keep all residents safe. (Planning, May 2020)
Knowing what stabilization funding is included in federal bills and how it is being distributed, how states are adjusting rules to assist local communities, and how you as a planner can leverage these resources will position your community for a quicker recovery. Visit the COVID-19 Policy Resources page for:
- Recordings of APA legislative briefings breaking down stimulus funding
- Articles detailing federal and state legislation
- APA letters to Congress and federal agencies advocating for the needs of communities
- Opportunities to make your voice heard to your elected officials
Construction continues under lockdown, but the pandemic could have long-term impacts on the industry and the people it serves. (Planning, June 2020; APA members and subscribers only)
Rural water and wastewater systems have largely been left out of initial pandemic relief, despite the critical roles they play in local economies. As the virus stretches further into smaller communities, these systems are fighting for survival under long-standing economic weights. (Planning, November 2020; APA members and subscribers only)
In an unprecedented policy change, service disruptions have been suspended in cities across the U.S. to help fight COVID-19. (Planning, May 2020)
The pandemic has accelerated the digitalization of work. How can cities faced with excess commercial office space adapt? (Planning, Winter 2021)
Researchers share early findings from their recent article “Does Density Aggravate the COVID-19 Pandemic? Early Findings and Lessons for Planners” in the Journal of the American Planning Association. (APA Blog)
As COVID-19's first calendar year comes to a close, its potential long-term effects on real estate and land-use law and policy are becoming clearer. (Planning, December 2020; APA members and subscribers only)
Land-use regulations have long been rooted in the resilience of cities, particularly when it comes to community health threats like pandemics. (Planning, June 2020; APA members and subscribers only)
The ways people live, work, play, and move around cities and communities have changed substantially since late March. APA research director Petra Hurtado, PhD, examines which changes will be interim fixes, and which will stay permanently? (APA Blog)
Planning magazine editor-in-chief Meghan Stromberg talks with Lisa Nisenson about what e-commerce trends mean for land use and contactless delivery. (APA Podcast)
Planning magazine editors discuss Brian Barth's piece, "Is Fast Food Through With Drive-Thrus?" in light of the pandemic — now drive-thru restaurants seem more relevant than ever. (APA Podcast)
The pandemic is the biggest crisis in decades to face a public transit industry that was already struggling to retain riders. What kind of public transit system will the majority of passengers find when they're ready to ride again? (Planning, December 2020)
To help struggling restaurants, cities have converted parking to pickup zones and pop-up patios. But could they find a more permanent home in our post-pandemic streetscape? (Planning, October 2020)
Cities experiment with new ways to make room for cycling as residents increasingly turn to bikes to reduce COVID-19 exposure. (Planning, June 2020)
If e-commerce has always been fast-moving and ever-changing, never has that been clearer than during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Planning, April 2020)
APA President Kurt Christiansen, FAICP, hosts conversations with thought leaders from the planning profession, government, and beyond to discuss planning and recovery.
Watch the latest video in the series, featuring Samantha Harkins, Deputy Mayor, City of Lansing, Michigan:
Planners from across the country — and the world — reflect on the first weeks of the COVID-19 crisis, their challenges and successes, and what lies ahead. (Planning, June 2020)
A curated list of resource pages from government agencies and allied professional organizations. (APA Blog)
- We commit to supporting planners across the country with empathy as they deal with uncertainty in their own lives and their communities and are focusing on providing resources and information central to planners' work.
- Additional guidance for all of us:
- Be aware of racism and xenophobia. Be vigilant about harmful and biased narratives regarding COVID-19.
- How we discuss the situation matters. We encourage everyone to prioritize the most marginalized by taking the issue seriously, ensuring equitable resource and supplies allocation.
- Mitigate dissemination of false information designed to spread fear and hysteria. Share only verified information by trusted sources to fight against misinformation.