National Community Planning Month
Each year American Planning Association, its members, chapters, divisions, and professional institute sponsor National Community Planning Month to raise the visibility of the important role of planners and planning in communities across the U.S.
Planning shapes cities, towns, regions, and even rural areas. Some communities are completely designed by planners. In other communities, planning helps determine how communities will grow and how they will adjust to change. Planning creates the vision for the community, identifies current problems, analyzes trends, engages community members in dialogue about goals and issues, and sets the framework for growth and change.
By using lots of data, good planning practices, and balancing the needs of citizens, businesses, and civic leaders, planners make great communities. Sometimes planning is called urban planning, city planning, or regional planning.
Planners may determine that the community needs more public transit or needs to encourage retail businesses in certain neighborhoods. Planners may help decide where a new water pumping plant is located and determine what the impact of that plant will be on the environment.
Planning is not an isolated activity; it involves all segments of the community. Planners help bring residents, businesses, politicians, and advocates together to create a vision for the community and how the community can achieve their goals. For example, possible goals would be to create affordable housing for more residents or to create parks with more features for children in neighborhoods.
Planners also work with builders to add improvements to construction projects. For example, planning may encourage building developers to provide park space when constructing a new group of houses.
Planners have the legal power to shape cities since planning influences the health, safety, and well-being of citizens. Therefore, planners will work with legal tools such as ordinances to ensure the buildings or developments are good for the community—for example, by allowing for new innovations such as solar panels, home businesses, and community gardens. Planning is done in many arenas—transportation, housing, health, neighborhood development, urban design, environment, disaster prevention—the list goes on and on!
Planners work in every state and around the world. They work in rural areas, suburban areas, and large cities.
Planners also work for nonprofit organizations and multidisciplinary companies.
Some of the tools used by planners include geographical mapping systems, community meetings and workshops, and graphic designs of sites or buildings. Planners must be familiar with a range of information, such as population, health, jobs, and economic trends. With so many elements to planning, planners usually pick a topic that interests them the most. Some of these topics can be transportation, the environment, and even the physical design of the city. Planning is a HUGE subject with lots of elements to consider, so there is something for everyone with an interest in urban planning.
For additional information, please go to https://www.planning.org/ncpm/