For APA Board Director At Large (focused for a minority member)
Angela Brooks, AICP
Socrates once said “by far the greatest and most admirable form of wisdom is that needed to plan and beautify cities and human communities, and as an organization this is what we strive to do and cover the vast multi-disciplinary nature of our field. Making history and approving the first every equity policy guide and updating the housing policy guide is a reminder to all that we do collectively to build better communities and build capacity in areas pertinent to growth and development.
Over the last 2 years, I have had the pleasure of serving APA on the board of the Housing and Community Development Division. This important division has allowed me the opportunity to work on APA initiatives around Housing and Community Development, which critical to maintaining quality communities for all. APA has been so instrumental in my growth and development, that I am seeking the opportunity to serve on the board of directors.
As the At-Large Board Member from 2012 through 2015, I enhanced relationships with community partners on diversity summits, served on the membership committee and contributed to the development of new membership plan, and increased greater partnership with the Planning Accreditation Board and student members on the diversity task force.
I am excited about the accomplishments we have made in advancing diversity and elevating equity as a professional responsibility over the last few years. If elected, I would like to continue the implementation of the development plan, serve as a critical thinker on the thinker on the board, provide workshops at both the national and state conference level, and develop/implement additional strategies to address the decreasing numbers of minorities in this organization, and aggressively work on implementing Planning Home organization wide.
This is an exciting time to be active with APA and we are laying the groundwork for a great legacy. I hope you elect me to once again to the APA Board!
As your At-Large Board Member, I promise to continue to:
- Raise the visibility of APA
- Work on strategies to increase the membership of new professionals and people of color, and their participation in this professional organization
- Support the implementation of the social equity guide
- Connect members to the community and creating lasting partnerships
Leadership Committee, 2018-Present
Chair, Housing and Community Development Division, 2017-Present
Divisions Council Initiatives Chair, 2018-Present
Divisions Council Diversity Scholarship Chair, 2019- Present
Housing Policy Guide Committee 2017-Present
Planning Home Committee 2017
APA At-Large Board Member, 2012-2015
Chair, Diversity Task Force, 2011-2015
Member, Diversity Task Force Planning Accreditation Board, 2012-2015
Member, Membership Committee, 2012-2015
Vice Chair, Housing and Community Development Division, 2010-2012
Washington State Chapter Newsletter Editor, 2004-2006
Vice Chair of Programs, Planning and the Black Community Division, 2002-2004
Diversity Task Force Member, 2002-2004
Henderson Point Planning Assistance Team
Real Estate Development Manager, Chicago Housing Authority
Associate Director Real Estate Development, Heartland Housing
Program Coordinator, City of Seattle Office of Housing
Land Use Administrator, City of Milton, WA
Member, Illinois Geographic Information Council
Member, CMAP, Housing and Land Use Committee
Board Member, Ride Illinois
Chicago Project LEAD, Project REAP
Mentor, Big Brothers Big Sisters
Civic Engagement Committee, Theta Omega Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Program Committee Member, Ely Chapter Lambda Alpha International
MURP, University of New Orleans
BA, Urban Studies, Jackson State University
What do you believe is the most important member service APA provides? Why? How would you propose strengthening this and other member services?
The most important member service to me is the Knowledge Center and is often underutilized by membership. A key example I recently checked out a book on my kindle from APA, which I randomly found while on the APA website. Just about any topic in our field is covered in a variety of ways including some pretty amazing podcasts, PAS Reports,
Strengthening these resources would be increasing the members who contribute to the library and publicity that they exist. Asking components to take a part in making sure their members are aware of the vast resources available and are utilizing them as well. The image library alone is a great member benefit that for anyone who has purchased images knows this benefit alone pays for itself as purchasing 2 images is often more than dues.
How could APA improve and strengthen the relationship among APA and its components (AICP, Chapters, Divisions, SRC)?
Over my 20+ years of being an APA member I have been involved in both divisions and state chapter leadership, and have seen the strides that have been made to strengthen these relationships. I believe the leadership events during conferences have definitely increased communication between all three components, but further encouraging chapter Presidents to incorporatte divisions into chapter programming as subject area experts and continuing to identify leaders in all 3 components for volunteer leadership opportunities in the organization. Overall as we find ways to engage our membership in any of the components the relationship between all three increases as well.
Now that the Planning for Equity Policy Guide has been adopted, how should APA use this guide to shape itself organizationally?
The principles of the Planning for Equity Policy Guide must be fundamental backbone of the American Planning Association. As an organization starting with its own hiring and contracting practices reflecting the diversity and inclusion in the profession guide. When looking at appointed committee positions and leadership roles evaluating the people not typically in the room as an option. Often the diverse membership may or may not be as connected in the inner workings and having open transparent process to provide leadership opportunities is imperative. Admittedly the nominating committees of the last few years have been very intentional and done a good job providing a diverse slate of candidates for positions.
As a Division Chair, the annual performance reports that are required are a huge focus on the work we do as a division and listed requirement are a core focus of programming. Issuing a Planning for Equity call to action with measurable results for organization components is a key step to ensuring implementation of the plan not just another guide for the website. The conference tracks at NPC are great, but many of our members can’t attend and are reached better by state conferences and division activities. Encouraging components to host webinars, state conference sessions, student organization events, and local programming around Planning for Equity.
Utilizing our social media platforms and Planning Magazine to highlight the examples of equitable planning and planners who are implement the plan is also a key way to engage practitioners in this work and provides idea sharing.
What is the biggest challenge facing the planning profession, and how should APA address it?
I may be a bit biased on this question, but housing affordability is the biggest challenge to the planning profession from my lens. How to adopt zoning policies to support development of a mix of unit types, near transit and communities that are well designed is a daunting task and no matter what professional focus area a planner may have, this impacts our work. Not to mention for younger generations personally, as living in the areas we work increasingly becomes a challenge. The Planning for Equity Guide addresses many implementation goals that address this, but continuing to provide legislative action tools on the federal and state level give our members tools to address the larger policy issues that impact the crisis are also an amazing member benefit.