Professor Ann Forsyth Selected as Next JAPA Editor

CHICAGO — The American Planning Association (APA), a membership and education organization with more than 40,000 members, and Harvard University Graduate School of Design (Harvard GSD), are very pleased to announce the selection of the new editor of the Journal of the American Planning Association (JAPA). Professor Ann Forsyth will begin her five-year term on January 1, 2019. Forsyth is currently Professor of Urban Planning and Director of the Master in Urban Planning degree program at Harvard GSD.

Forsyth received her master’s degree in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her PhD in city and regional planning from Cornell University. She has been a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and Cornell University before joining Harvard GSD. Her research interests are mainly in the areas of healthy places with an emphasis on aging, innovative planning and design in suburban and metropolitan areas, and the connections between planning research and practice.

At Harvard GSD she is co-director of the Healthy Places Design Lab. She has published refereed articles in journals including JAPA, the Journal of Planning Education and Research, the Journal of Urban Design, and many others. A number of prior editorial roles prepare Forsyth for this editorship; she has been book review editor of JPER, co-editor of Planning Theory, and associate editor of JAPA since 2013, and she sits on the editorial boards of six journals, including JAPA.

“Professor Forsyth is a visionary among her peers in the planning profession, with an impressive record in both academia and professional practice,” said APA President and Chair of the JAPA Editor Search Committee Cynthia Bowen, FAICP. “I am excited about the future of JAPA under her leadership.”

An APA member for more than three decades, Forsyth has also worked in the private sector in the U.S. and internationally as a planning consultant, with a focus on physical planning, citizen participation, healthy communities, and housing. She has been a frequent speaker at APA’s National Planning Conference, has served on APA task forces and advisory groups, and is the recipient of many academic and professional awards, fellowships and honors.

Forsyth’s selection is also a fitting honor given the special history between JAPA and Harvard. It was at Harvard University that the nation’s first degree program in city and regional planning was established by Henry Vincent Hubbard, who was one of the founders of City Planning — JAPA’s precursor. Several of JAPA’s editors in prior decades have been Harvard GSD faculty.

“Ann’s appointment is a recognition of her great contributions and dedication to the planning profession,” says Diane E. Davis, Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Development and Urbanism and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard GSD. “She has directed Harvard GSD’s urban planning program with a steadfast commitment to the values of the field and with an eye to the most pressing urban-planning problems of our time.

“Over the years the editors of JAPA have helped steer this premier journal to engage in new dialogues across subfields, and it is this collaborative, cross-disciplinary spirit, embodied in the early years of the journal, that Ann’s professional work embodies and that she continues to advance at the GSD today. We are delighted and extremely proud that our colleague Ann Forsyth has been recognized with this important editorship.”

Forsyth is only the fifth woman to lead the JAPA Editorial Board since the first issue of the journal was published in 1935. She succeeds outgoing editor Professor Sandra Rosenbloom of the University of Texas at Austin.

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides vital leadership in creating communities of lasting value. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. The Journal of the American Planning Association presents double-blind peer reviewed, original research and analysis, and is published quarterly by Routledge Taylor & Francis. As the scholarly journal of record for the planning profession, JAPA aspires to bring insight to planning the future, to air a variety of perspectives, to publish the highest quality work, and to engage readers. Learn more at

The Harvard University Graduate School of Design is dedicated to the education and development of design professionals in architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, and urban design. With a commitment to design excellence that demands the skillful manipulation of form and technology and draws inspiration from a broad range of social, environmental, and cultural issues, the Harvard Graduate School of Design provides leadership for shaping the built environment of the twenty-first century.

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Roberta Rewers, APA Communications Manager, 312-786-6395;