Year in Review: APA Took a Stand for Planning in 2017

This year, planning advocates were more engaged than ever before. The Planners' Advocacy Network reached an all-time high in membership, the Policy and Advocacy Conference had a record amount of attendees, and an increasing amount of advocates shared their views via phone calls, letters, and in-person meetings with congressional offices.

With 2018 on the horizon, APA looks forward to advancing smart, federal planning policies by building on the momentum sparked this year.

Here's a look back on the biggest moments for planning advocates in 2017:

Advancing Smart Federal Planning Policies

APA adopted a set of legislative priorities early in 2017 which laid the foundation for planners' advocacy efforts for the year ahead. APA called on Congress to: invest in the nation's infrastructure; advance policies that promote social equity and inclusive communities, and provide high-quality federal data that supports effective local planning and decision making.

Since President Trump and his administration submitted its skinny budget proposal to Congress in March, APA has been hard at work defending essential community development programs, grants for transit and transportation-related projects, and funding for pre-disaster mitigation and coastal mapping tools. APA's work on these national policy issues and the impact we have, however, would not be possible without the bolstered support provided by the members of the Planners' Advocacy Network.

Within the first few months of 2017 alone, more than 200 Network members shared APA President Cynthia Bowen's statement with their elected officials, and advocates' fervor for advancing smart, federal planning policies alongside APA persisted throughout the entirety of the year.

Here are just some of the resources, issues, social media posts, bills, and statistics associated with APA's advocacy on behalf of federal planning policies in 2017.

Advocacy by the Numbers

85 planners met with their member of Congress or congressional staff during August Recess and Planners' Day on Capitol Hill.

250 attendees came to APA's Policy and Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C.

1,070 was the number of letters Planners' Advocacy Network members wrote to their members of Congress.

2,011 twitter followers now get live updates from APA's Policy and Advocacy specific twitter handle, @APAadvocates. 5,000 APA members have signed up for the Planners' Advocacy Network.

Issue Campaigns

Planning advocates raised their voices to support the following issue campaigns:

Opposing Budget Cuts to Key Planning Programs

Read APA President Cynthia Bowen's statement on the Trump Administration's FY 2018 Federal Budget Proposal.

Defending Essential Community Development Programs

Take action during National Community Development Week.

Investing in Critical Infrastructure

Speak out during Infrastructure Week.

The Need for Increased 2020 Census Funding

Daniel Burnham Forum on Big Ideas with Former Census Bureau Director John Thompson.

Preserving Funding Tools in the Tax Reform Debate

Read APA President Cynthia Bowen's statement on Tax Reform Legislation Under Congressional Consideration.

Advocating for Pro-Planning Legislation

Planning advocates showed their support for the following legislation:

Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act
Promoting Resilience and Efficiency in Preparing for Attacks and Responding to Emergencies (PREPARE) Act
Smart Cities and Communities Act
Safe Communities Act
Digital Coast Act
Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) Grant Program Act
Bikeshare Transit Act
Zision Zero Act

New Advocacy Resources

Planners' Advocacy Network Resources: Access to exclusive webinars covering the federal budget, analysis of AV legislation, and the Advocacy Classroom gave you everything you needed to know to act on timely issues.

Tip: The Advocacy Classroom teaches planners the basics for effectively advocating for planning. These resources are available to Network members only.

Advocate's Toolbox: Federal budget basics, Trump administration tracker, best practices, congressional scheduling resources, and success stories.

Legislative Action Center: The action center helped advocates track legislation APA was watching and gave advocates an easy way to write your Congressperson.

Join Engaged Planners

Thank you to all of the planning advocates who made their voices heard in 2017.

While this year is coming to a close, there are still major legislative issues left unresolved that APA will continue to play an active role in as 2018 begins. Help APA in its mission to stand up for planning. Join the Planners' Advocacy Network in 2018, and be a part of the engaged network of planning advocates helping to shape federal planning policy outcomes.

Top image: Planners' Day on Capitol Hill 2017. APA photo.

About the Author
Trevor Grady was APA's government affairs associate.

December 20, 2017

By Trevor Grady