APA notes with sorrow the passing of former AICP President Carol Thomas in March 2019.
Bob Mitchell, Steve Sadwick, Carol Thomas, and Dwight Merriam present the 2010 Charles E. Downe Award to Howard Foster. Courtesy APA's Massachusetts Chapter.
An AICP Fellow with a career spanning 60 years as a land use planning practitioner and educator, Carol Thomas was a pioneer in the planning field.
She held a number of leadership positions, including serving as president of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) from 1984 to 1987; president of APA’s New England Chapter; president of the Planning Board of the Massachusetts Association of Consulting Planners (MACP); director of the Massachusetts Federation of Planning and Appeals Boards; chair of APA’s Private Practice Division and chair of APA’s Divisions Council.
Thomas established her private practice, Thomas Planning Services, in Boston, but worked as a planning consultant for many cities throughout the northeast and in China.
For many years Thomas also taught land use planning as an adjunct professor at the University of Rhode Island and Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She lectured and wrote about land use, soils interpretation for land use planning, residential density, and related subjects.
APA’s Small Town and Rural Planning Division honors her influence with an annual award in her name, presented to “an individual in public service, academia or the private sector that has made an outstanding contribution to planning in their community.”
In 1996 Thomas received the APA Distinguished Service Award. Ramona Mullahey, partner in Mullahey & Mullahey in Honolulu who nominated Thomas for the award, said of her: “She is willing to share herself and her expertise, extremely competent and knowledgeable, exhibiting only the best qualities that the planning profession demands: integrity, passionate advocacy of good community planning and the public interest, actively striving to increase opportunities for students, women, and minorities.”
Through her work, leadership, and mentorship, Carol Thomas devoted her life to the advancement of the planning profession. Her influence will be remembered, and her presence will be greatly missed.