Changing Face of America Bibliography

This is an online resource for planners and researchers seeking an interdisciplinary, annotated bibliography of literature that explores some the trends that have resulted from massive regional shifts in population and jobs over the past several decades including minorities in the majority, aging population and re-urbanization.

New publications and educational opportunities will be added periodically so please revisit this list to see the most current ideas about the Changing Face of America.

A Note on the Availability of Resources

Articles from Planning magazine and PAS Memo are available online to members of APA.

Articles from JAPA, Zoning Practice, and Planning & Environmental Law are available to those publications' subscribers in varying online formats. JAPA articles in the bibliography contain an access link for subscribers who are also APA members.

Current Articles and Research

APA Planning Advisory Service. 2008. "Housing an Aging Population." Essential Information Packet 21: American Planning Association. Preview available at

  • The demographics of America's communities are rapidly changing. As the country's population grows older, the demand for adequate services and resources for aging in place is quickly increasing. Learn more about the implications of this demographic shift and how communities are planning and zoning to house and support the elderly. This Essential Info Packet provides APA resources, reports, plans, and sample ordinances for a range of senior housing options to help you address this issue in your community. This packet is available free of charge to Planning Advisory Service subscribing agencies.

American Planning Association. 2011. "Multigenerational Planning: Using Smart Growth and Universal Design to Link the Needs of Children and the Aging Population." Family-Friendly Communities Briefing Papers 2. Available at

  • This brief explains how multigenerational planning creates new coalition-building opportunities. It delves into civic participation and engagement and why it is essential for all age groups. Finally it explores why an understanding of the needs of multiple generations and planning through the life cycle is essential to smart growth and sustainable design and development.

Arvidson, Adam Regn, and Stephen Carter-Novotni. 2011. "Here's to Long Life." Planning. May, 10-15. Available at

  • This article explores how communities that bolster senior services by creating multimodal transportation options, affordable housing options, and community exercise programs can benefit from retirees who volunteer, support the arts, mentor, and continue in the work force.

Barnett, Jonathan. 2008. Redesigning Cities: Principles, Practice, Implementation. Chicago: APA Planners Press. Available at

  • Barnett explains how design can reshape suburban growth patterns, revitalize older cities, and retrofit metropolitan areas where earlier development decisions went wrong. He describes in detail specific techniques, materials, and technologies that should be known (but often aren't) to planners, public officials, concerned citizens, and others involved in development.

Berg, Nate. 2009. "The Big Shift: The Nation Adapts to Its Growing Minority Population." Planning. July, 18-21. Available at

  • Demographic roles are switching in the U.S., bringing on what many have labeled the "minority majority" — a future where the ethnic and racial groups we now call minorities tip the scales. As more and more cities face these population changes, cities will have to start thinking about how their planning processes need to evolve.

Gabel-Luddy, Emily. 2004. "Planning for Diversity: Lessons from the Los Angeles Design Action Planning Team Program." PAS Memo. September. Available at

  • When working in an ethnically diverse community, planners face the challenge of understanding land uses unique to certain populations. This issue looks back at the successful approach of the Los Angeles Design Action Planning Team program, held in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as one way that planners can mobilize resources to meet the needs of minority populations and help them develop a sense of place and community identification.

Lang, Robert, Mariela Alfonzo, and Casey Dawkins. "American Demographics – Circa 2109." Planning. May, 10-15. Available at

  • This article presents predictions of America's population and demographics in 2109 based on measurements and analyses conducted in 2009. Barring major catastrophes, the size of the future population is estimated at around 600 million, with the center point population estimated to be moving both south and west. Immigration will continue to fuel growth as well as racial and ethnic mixing. Estimates are based on U.S. census data and the authors' own research.

Nelson, Arthur, and Robert Lang. 2011. Megapolitan America. Chicago: APA Planners Press. Available at

  • In popular imagination, America is the land of wide open spaces. But in reality, much of it is more densely populated than Europe. Two-thirds of the U.S. population lives on less than 20 percent of the privately owned land, clustered in 20-some megapolitan areas — networks of metropolitan centers fused by common economic, physical, social, and cultural traits. This book draws on detailed data to map out the dramatic — and surprisingly positive — shifts ahead. Backed by hard numbers, Nelson and Lang argue for long-range planning that sheds outdated images and stokes the nation's economic engines.

Planning and the Black Community Division, APA. 2009. "Vision for Broadway." Final Report: PBCD Technical Assistance for Gary, Indiana. Available at

  • Broadway, the city's major transportation artery and the former symbol of Gary's strength, now features the most obvious expressions of the city's decline. This report is the culmination of a community vision that would strike a balance between encouraging development while protecting the sense of place. The project identified strategies — including equitable development, smart growth, context sensitive design, and heritage preservation — that local officials could consider for facilitating development along the urban corridor while protecting the cultural heritage and cherished institutions that could be leveraged to create a "place-making dividend" for the city.

Schilling, Joseph, and Alan Mallach. 2012. Cities in Transition: A Guide for Practicing Planners. Planning Advisory Service Report no. 568. Chicago: American Planning Association. Available at

  • This report is a compendium of ideas and strategies for practicing planners to address and create more resilient and sustainable communities based on 10 years of fieldwork and policy work with planners, policy makers, and community leaders. In case studies from cities in the Rust Belt, the Sun Belt, and abroad, readers will find examples of urban recovery at work and will come away with concrete ideas for making transitional cities stronger, healthier, and more resilient.

Talen, Emily. 2010. "Fixing the Mess We Made: How to Correct the Problems Caused by Sprawl." Planning. November, 32-36. Available at

  • The article provides an overview of the likely new urban and suburban approach to growth in the 21st century: sprawl repair. Unlike attempts to restrict development or alter it in new greenfield construction, like new urbanism and neo-traditional planning, the concept of sprawl repair essentially repurposes existing suburban forms to increase intensity or density by retrofitting dead malls, underused parking lots, and the like.

Background/Historic Articles and Research/Non–APA Resources

Hutton, Thomas A. 2008. The New Economy of the Inner City: Restructuring, Regeneration and Dislocation in the Twenty-First-Century Metropolis. New York: Routledge.

  • This monograph examines the post-industrial landscape as it is being transformed by the technology sector. A description of the new urban economy and case studies of four international cities are accompanied by a literature review and a theoretical framework.

Archived Presentations/Events

Gourguechon, Jacques A., and Leonard F. Heumann. 2011."Planning for an Aging Population." Available at

  • With the Baby Boomer Generation retiring and a large segment of the population entering old age, planners have a new set of demands for planning communities and developments that address these changing demographics. This webcast provides some guidance and tools from experts in the field.

Hanlon, Bernadette. 2012. "Crossing Into New Territory: Suburban Immigration and Local Government Reactions in the Washington DC Region." Available at

  • This webcast discusses the many immigrants bypassing cities and moving directly into suburbs. Learn about the new geography of immigration and differing policies at the federal, state, and local levels, focusing on the Washington, D.C., area.

Kahrl, Andrew. 2011. "The Plight of Black Coastal Landowners in the Sunbelt South and Its Lessons for Post–Housing Bubble America." Presentation for Tuesdays at APA–Chicago. Available at

  • At the turn of the 20th century, African Americans owned vast swaths of property along America's shores. By the post–World War II era, African American beaches and resorts served as important places for working families to escape from the daily indignities of Jim Crow and for a separate, seasonal black leisure economy to take shape. The death of Jim Crow coincided with the emergence of a pro-growth, corporate-friendly Sunbelt economy, which led to massive resort and residential development in coastal areas, and the targeting of black coastal landowners as the path of least resistance. From the 1960s to the present, African American property owners in areas targeted for leisure-based economic and real estate development have struggled to fend off various schemes deployed by developers and their allies in municipal, county, and state governments to expropriate and put valuable property to "best use."

Vasandani, Mahender. 2010. "The Evolution of Our Suburbs." Presentation for Tuesdays at APA–Chicago. Available at

  • For the last few decades the Chicago region has been suburbanizing with little regard to energy use, climate change, and urban form. The relentless pursuit of property tax revenue and a focus on single uses and single-site developments distracts many suburban communities from the task of planning for a sustainable and livable built environment. As planners, what should be our approach to the future of our suburbs? Can we afford to continue the growth and development patterns of the past few decades? Are there new growth patterns and new development tools that we can get ready now to be prepared for a different future?

Warner, Mildred E. 2012. "The Economic Impacts and Opportunities of Families: Children, Elders and Caregivers." Available at

  • This webcast discusses the impacts of providing care throughout the life cycle.