Equity Diversity Inclusion

APA has made a focused commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in all forms, as a means to achieving thriving communities in which everyone has equal opportunity to live a safe, healthy and prosperous life.

Diversity and Inclusion Mission, Vision, and Strategy

Participants at the Plan4Equity Forum in San Francisco at the 2019 National Planning Conference. Photo by The Photo Group.

Participants at the Plan4Equity Forum in San Francisco at the 2019 National Planning Conference. Photo by The Photo Group.

APA reached a milestone in April 2018 when the APA Board of Directors approved a Diversity and Inclusion strategy. This sets forth an association-wide plan for how we better promote the understanding and practices of diversity and inclusion, both within and outside the planning community and profession.

This strategy is the result of years of conversation and dedication among our members and leaders, and APA thanks the many voices that paved the way for this organizational transformation and fostered the roots of meaningful change.

APA Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

Centering Equity in Planning

In 2019, APA's Board accepted the report of a special Social Equity Task Force and ratified the Equity in Planning Policy Guide. Recommendations from both documents were reviewed by the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee and are being integrated into the existing Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. APA's elected leaders are currently centering equity in the organization's strategic planning process.

Achieving a foundation built on equity, and promoting a culture of diversity and inclusion, is an evolutionary process that will require ongoing learning and improvement. The goals in the strategy are being carried out on many fronts over time by various levels of leadership, component groups, member volunteers and staff.

This webpage will be updated regularly to describe how this journey is coming to life dynamically.

Voices of Equity in Planning Video Series

Equity is a necessary guiding principle for planners and all who participate in the process of planning as advisors, advocates, and decision makers. The first video in APA's new multi-part series, Voices of Equity in Planning, includes interviews with public- and private-sector planners across the country, whose work has centered equity for years.

Watch the Videos

How Can YOU Get Involved?

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee

The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee contributes to learning that advances an EDI-focused culture within APA and the profession, and provides insights to APA elected and executive leadership on equity, diversity and inclusion that advances APA's approved strategies.

Silvia E. Vargas, FAICP | Chair
Elizabeth (Libby) Tyler, FAICP | Vice Chair

Committee Members
Batul Ather
Angela D. Brooks, AICP
Marcella Bondie Keenan, AICP
Alexander D. Cahill
Edna Ledesma, PhD
Victoria Mason-Ailey, AICP
Mehri Mohebbi, PhD
Perris Straughter, AICP
Susan A. Wood, FAICP

Staff Liaisons
Liz Lang
Yaminah Noonoo

APA Chapters and Divisions

APA Chapters and Divisions are actively committed to promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity within local communities and the broader planning field.

APA Divisions and EDI

APA Divisions connect you with other planning professionals who share your passions, challenges, and experiences. Although all APA divisions are committed to promoting diversity and equity within local communities as well as the field, four APA divisions and one interest group specifically focus on planning issues that concern special populations. Explore what Divisions have to offer (students can join up to five for free).

APA Chapters and EDI

Chapters get you involved in APA close to home. They're your local source for networking and professional development. You'll share experiences with colleagues and broaden your perspective beyond your commission or office. When you join APA, you automatically become a member of your local chapter.

A number of chapters are engaged in addressing diversity and social equity. Chapters are hosting their own diversity summits, offering mentoring programs, and cultivating diverse chapter leaders. The following APA Chapters have active diversity committees:

Visit your local chapter's website to learn more about its diversity efforts and to catch up on the latest planning information in your region.

Equity Diversity Inclusion Blog Posts

Diversity Resources

  • 7 Emerging Tips for Equitable Digital Engagement

    Despite the ever-present digital divide, inclusive public outreach and social distancing are not mutually exclusive.
    Here’s a look at some of the ways planners and local leaders are keeping engagement efforts inclusive in the COVID-19 pandemic, even while social distancing.
  • A Framework for Promoting Equity Through Zoning

    Zoning Practice — July 2019
    by: Elizabeth Garvin, AICP
    This edition of Zoning Practice discusses why modern zoning has not produced equitable outcomes, identifies development outcomes that would be more equitable for local communities, and highlights broad opportunities for zoning reforms to support those outcomes.
    List price
    ZP subscriber
  • Planning With Diverse Communities

    PAS Report 593
    by: Ivis Garcia, AICP, Andrea Garfinkel-Castro, Deirdre Pfeiffer, AICP
    The U.S. will become a “majority-minority” country by the mid-2040s. More than before, planners must serve diverse publics and build inclusive communities. This PAS Report offers the tools planners need to engage people of color and improve quality of life for all in ethnically and racially diverse communities.
    List price
    APA member & PAS subscriber
  • Hispanic, Latino, Latina, or Latinx?

    An urban planning scholar traces the terms and shows how to be intentional about their use.
    Usage of the words Hispanic, Latino/a, and Latinx has evolved over time and differs between users, so it can be difficult for planners to navigate which term to use in the correct context.
  • Racism Is a Public Health Crisis, Local Governments Declare

    Decades of research confirms what COVID-19 statistics show: Racism is the leading cause of health inequities. How will states and cities respond?
    Multiple public health studies over decades show that being black is bad for your health, and pervasive racism is the cause.
  • Six Ways Planners Can Help Communities Bridge the Racial Wealth Gap

    by: Karen Kazmierczak
    Planners offer a big-picture, multidisciplinary lens that can play a pivotal role in increasing equity. Here are six things planners can do to advance racial wealth and economic opportunity in your community.
  • After 140 Years, the Wiyot Tribe Has Come Home

    For the first time in U.S. history, a local municipality has returned stolen Native land without an accompanying sale or lawsuit.
    After years of local activism, Eureka, California’s city council voted to return a historic 202 acres of Tuluwat Island to the federally recognized Wiyot Tribe.
  • Planning for Equity Policy Guide

    by: American Planning Association
    APA's first-ever Planning for Equity Policy Guide identifies policy recommendations for planners to advocate for equity in all aspects of planning at local, state, and federal levels.
  • Rewriting the Urban Planning Canon

    A planning education that focuses solely on a few predominantly white heroic figures is incomplete and unethical.
  • L.A. High Schoolers Learn about Planning and Social Equity at UCLA

    by: Dustin Calliari
    Los Angeles high school students learned about city planning and social equity at a conference put on by a planning student organization at UCLA.
  • Social Equity

    Social equity means all community members can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. Explore this collection of resources that provide background, research, and policy guidance or demonstrate how local and regional agencies are using plans, regulations, and programs to advance social equity goals.