The American Planning Association
(APA) is a professional organization representing the field of city and regional planning
Urban planning incorporates areas such as economics, design, ecology, sociology, geography, law, political science, and statistics to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities....
in the United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
. The APA was formed in 1978 when two separate professional planning organizations, the American Institute of Planners and the American Society of Planning Officials, were merged into a single organization. The American Institute of Certified Planners
The American Institute of Certified Planners is the American Planning Association's professional institute. AICP certifies professionals in the United States in the field of Urban and Regional planning and assists planners in the areas of ethics, professional development, planning education, and...
is now the organization's professional branch.
The association also publishes the Journal of the American Planning Association
("JAPA"). JAPA was founded in 1935 as Planners' Journal
, and was from 1943 known as Journal of the American Institute of Planners
Like many professional organizations, the American Planning Association's main function is to serve as a forum for the exchange of ideas between people who work in the field of urban and regional planning. The organization keeps track of the various improvement efforts underway around the country, which may include the improvement or construction of new parks, highways and roads, or residential developments.
The organization is also a starting point for people looking for employment in the city and regional planning field.
The association holds an annual conference which attracts planners and planning students from throughout the United States, Canada and the world. The conference has been held in the following cities
April 9-12, 2011 - Boston, MA
2010 - New Orleans, LA
2009 - Minneapolis, MN
2008 - Las Vegas, NV
April 14-18, 2007 - Philadelphia, PA
2006 - San Antonio, TX
2005 - San Francisco, California
San Francisco , officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.15 million people which includes San Jose and Oakland...
2004 - Washington, DC,
The 2007 Conference was held in Philadelphia, PA, from April 14 to April 18; among the discussions were items on Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...
, universal design
Universal design refers to broad-spectrum ideas meant to produce buildings, products and environments that are inherently accessible to both people without disabilities and people with disabilities....
, transit oriented development, protected open space
Open space reserve, open space preserve, and open space reservation, are planning and conservation ethics terms used to describe areas of protected or conserved land or water on which development is indefinitely set aside...
, urban open space
In land use planning, urban open space is open space areas for “parks”, “green spaces”, and other open areas. The landscape of urban open spaces can range from playing fields to highly maintained environments to relatively natural landscapes. They are commonly open to public access, however, urban...
, land use
Land use is the human use of land. Land use involves the management and modification of natural environment or wilderness into built environment such as fields, pastures, and settlements. It has also been defined as "the arrangements, activities and inputs people undertake in a certain land cover...
, the development of Philadelphia itself (as well as the surrounding area), and other planning-related topics.
The association is subdivided into state chapters, such as the NJAPA (New Jersey Chapter of the APA).
To manage the various interests of American planners, the APA has created 21 divisions. APA divisions offer professional networking
A social network is a social structure made up of individuals called "nodes", which are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.Social...
opportunities for planners. They also produce newsletters and special publications, develop conference sessions, collaborate with related organizations, and contribute to policy work. The divisions focus on planning strategies for professionals with focused interests.