Access resources from APA Divisions about emerging issues of interest to both planners and the public: Aging and Livable Communities, the Changing Face of America, Airports in the Region, Food Systems, and more.

APA Divisions Initiatives bring focus to both the breadth and depth of planning challenges in local communities and neighborhoods throughout the nation. Divisions are rich in knowledge resources and expertise and can help guide fundamental transformative planning rooted in the unique needs of place to communities that are livable for all.

The diversity of interests represented by each Division frame this transformation from a variety of perspectives — mobilizing opportunities for insightful discussion and a context for meaningful decision making. Initiatives provide access to a repository of resources about emerging issues of interest to both planners and the public.

If you are interested in contributing to this effort, please contact Marj Press at for more information. You also may contact any Division Chair to find out how to get involved in a division.

Aging and Livable Communities

The Aging of America provides an extraordinary opportunity for planners to create plans and policies and help develop and redevelop communities that are more age friendly ... and, therefore, more livable. 

According to Deborah Howe, Baby Boomers "will swell the ranks of those aged 65-plus from 34.8 million in 2000 to a projected 70.3 million in 2030, ultimately representing 20 percent of the U.S. population."

Divisions are rich in knowledge resources and expertise that can help guide the fundamental transformation to communities that are livable for all. Divisions can help frame this transformation rooted in the unique needs of place and community.

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Older couple with bicycle

Changing Face of America: Planning for a More Dynamic Population

US puzzleThe U.S. population is incredibly mobile and ever changing. Here are just a few of the trends from the 2010 Census and the literature that will affect planners over the next decade:

Minorities as the majority — The face of America is changing, becoming more diverse; many metros no longer have a single racial/ethnic majority. How do planners need to adapt to cultural imperatives and invent new approaches to civic engagement?

The population is aging — The workforce would be declining if not for immigration. How do we foster economic growth while supporting an increasingly more dependent population?

Re-urbanization — There has been something of a "back-to-the-city movement," and formerly declining cities are again growing, some in unexpected ways. What should planners do to create the 21st century city?

Shrinking Cities and Suburbs — Some cities, and suburbs, are shrinking, facing a permanently smaller population. Foreclosures have depopulated entire neighborhoods in both urban and suburban communities. How can planners address the key issues in these communities?

Planners have the training and skills to forge the future, and the Divisions will be there to help.

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Food Systems

Planners Guide to Community and Regional Food PlanningThe discussion of food system planning within APA originated with the keynote address given by Jerry Kaufman at the 2003 National Planning Conference in Denver. He challenged planners to begin addressing food system issues within their communities. His words resonated with many people at the conference.

There was support for Food System Planning as a cross-divisional topic. A Food System Planning Track debuted at the 2005 National Planning Conference in San Francisco. A total of 85 paper abstracts were submitted for consideration, far more than anticipated, and seven sessions were presented at the conference.

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Airports in the Region

Planners and PlanesThe Divisions Council continues to advance the Airports in the Region (AIR) initiative, originally endorsed by the Divisions Council in 2004. Since then, work activities have continued off and on.

Two individuals, Stephanie Ward and Susan Schalk, recently published a PAS report, Planners and Planes: Airports and Land-Use Compatibility, based on a 2008 National Planning Conference session. The Divisions Council chose to augment this report by developing a series of case studies focused on planning outside of and around airports.

This initiative is ongoing. If you are interested in working on it, please contact Whit Blanton at

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Interested in APA Divisions?

Where do you see yourself? Do you see yourself in a leadership role? Taking the next step in your career? Advancing ideas that matter? Then you should see yourself in an APA division. Our divisions are communities of professionals with shared interests. They give their members opportunities to discuss ideas, contribute to national policy work, develop conference sessions, build partnerships, and more.

Join a division