JAPA — Why You Should Read It

The Journal of the American Planning Association is the scholarly and research publication of the American Planning Association. APA members, though, do not necessarily read the journal — so why does APA publish it? As the new editor of the journal, that’s a question I have to answer.

The short answer is that JAPA focuses on high-quality research relevant to planning, helping link planning researchers and practitioners.

This blog starts a new series of blogs and social media posts that will explore articles from JAPA’s recent and archival issues, focusing on their practical implications. Posts will give readers the basic findings from articles, and many will link to free versions of those articles. This series will connect research published in planning to the day-to-day work of planners in many settings, providing easy-to-read digests of important works.

I also hope to engage some more general questions such as the role of evidence-based policy and planning and how international knowledge can inform U.S.-based planning.

In a world of information overload, work that has been carefully assessed for its rigor and relevance has an important role to play.​ JAPA is APA’s contribution to making planning debates more informed.

This raises the issue of how members can access this knowledge, given JAPA involves a subscription. Even without this new blog and social media series, however, JAPA is already accessible in many formats.

One article in each online issue is available for free. The editorials are also free, and those by the previous editor, Dr. Sandi Rosenbloom, typically contain excellent summaries of the articles in the journal. An excellent example of such an editorial is from Volume 84, Issue 2 in 2018. The editorial covers the findings of articles on:

  • Planning for cycling in low-density areas, the free article
  • Problems with using the American Community Survey in planning practice
  • How to use photography linked to GIS for post-disaster data collection
  • The current status of campus master planning including how they interface with surrounding communities
  • The potential and limits of online participation tools, and
  • The contribution of the late John Friedmann in JAPA and beyond.

This is just one of many free editorials from Sandi Rosenbloom. To find more, go to JAPA online and search for “Letter from the Editor” in “This Journal” in the upper right search box. My editorials will focus on a specific issue each quarter but I hope to make them as interesting and relevant as those of the previous editor.

Student and academic members of APA get access to online JAPA for free as a member benefit.

For other APA members the online JAPA subscription at $36 per year provides free access to the complete archive of the journal plus free access to several additional journals — an incredible deal:

  • European Planning Studies
  • International Planning Studies
  • Journal of Urban Design
  • Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability
  • Planning Theory & Practice
  • Planning Practice & Research
  • Planning Perspectives
  • Transport Reviews

APA member subscribers: Visit the JAPA subscriber page for journal access.

Top image: JAPA logo.


Headshot of Ann Forsyth.
About the Author

Ann Forsyth

Ann Forsyth is editor of the Journal of the American Planning Association and the Ruth and Frank Stanton Professor of Urban Planning at Harvard University.

April 3, 2019

By Ann Forsyth