Design Thinking in Planning Interest Group

About / History

The American Planning Association's Design Thinking in Planning Interest Group birthed from the Design Thinking Series in 2022 taught by Thomas Fisher (University of Minnesota) where we, as Planners, can explore integrating Design Thinking perspectives, principles, and practices in our planning efforts as a way to be relevant to the constant changes in our communities. COVID-19 was the context we spoke throughout the course. Participants from this course recognized this course content as essential towards advancing a more human-centered and equitable approach in the field of Planning.

Vision Statement:

To serve as the American Planning Association's premier hub related to the topic-intersection between Planning and Design Thinking promoting human-centeredness in the Planning discipline to improve community engagement practices, collaboration, and planning transparency that results in human-centered planning, policies, and investments.

Mission Statement:

The mission of the American Planning Association's Design Thinking In Planning Interest Group is to advance design thinking by expanding awareness, advocacy, and education across the Planning industry and in related disciplines through communications, education and training, guest speakers, events, the design of innovative and best practices, and partnership development.

Join the Interest Group


Leadership Team

The APA Design Thinking In Planning Interest Group Leadership Team serves as the acting Overseer to the Working Groups and their respective Focus Areas, providing overall support, where necessary, to the Working Group Contact Leads and Contributors.

The Focus Areas include the following:

  • Advocacy;
  • Awareness;
  • Education & Training;
  • Event Planning;
  • External Communications;
  • Innovative & Best Practices Development;
  • Partnership Development; and
  • Publications & Research

LeadershiP / Co-Founders:

Eric Howell Bio

Krysti Barksdale-Noble Bio

Working Group Contact Lead Contact Information:

Advocacy | Chelsea Maida

Awareness | Eric R. Howell, NCI

Education & Training | Eric R. Howell, NCI

Event Planning | Actively recruiting a Contact Lead for this Working Group

External Communications | Krysti J. Barksdale-Noble, AICP

Innovative & Best Practices Development | Alex Medina, AICP

Partnership Development | Chelsea Maida

Publications & Research | Jaydevsinh Atodaria (JD) | Eric R. Howell, NCI (Co-Working Group Leaders)

Learn about our Leadership Team and Working Groups and get involved.


The Design Thinking in Planning Interest Group is seeking a volunteer to serve as their Social Media Coordinator.

Social Media Coordinator Volunteer Role Description


APA Design Thinking Series

Design Thinking— a PAS Quicknotes by Thomas Fisher

How to Use Design Thinking in Transportation Planning

Design Thinking: New Approach to Solving Planning Challenges

American Planning Association Research KnowledgeBase

Contact Us

If you have any questions or if you would like to get involved, please contact us at