APA Regional and Intergovernmental Planning Division
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E-News February 2014

by APA Regional and Intergovernmental Planning Division on 02/05/14

Results from 2013 Division Member Survey

The Regional and Intergovernmental Planning Division conducted a Division member survey in December 2013.  Based on a 39% response rate, the following is a quick snapshot of member responses:

  • 40% have been members of APA for more than 15 years
  • 60% have been members of RIPD for 1-5 years
  • 90% joined to keep up with issues in regional and intergovernmental planning
  • 80% read the monthly E-news
  • 70% interested in a webinar on integrating economic planning with comprehensive planning
  • 67 % rated LinkedIn the best social network for the Division
  • Climate change, funding and transportation topped the critical emerging issues

The following were responses to survey questions requested by APA National:

What are the critical emerging planning issues that the division should address?

Our members pointed to climate change, disaster resiliency and financial / budgetary issues are the most critical emerging issues.  In terms of climate change, comments included the need to protect critical public infrastructure and the need for intergovernmental coordination.   Financial and budgetary issues also loomed large and member's perspectives included the impact of failing infrastructure on local economies, the pressure to do more with less and the impact of increasing unpredictability of funding, both for staffing and for capital improvements.  Secondary concerns revolved around Planning Education/Training and Transportation.  Many different perspectives on education were identified from the need to educate elected officials or planning commissioners to the challenges facing planners in keeping up with trends in the profession.  Concerns about transportation were focused on funding.

What are existing challenges facing planning staff?

Here, our members responded overwhelmingly about the challenges of smaller staff and fewer financial resources in an environment of needing to do more.  There financial challenges have made collaborative planning between different levels of government increasingly more challenging.  Reform and change at any level is made more difficult with few resources to implement.  Local governments are struggling with budgets cuts, creating a greater need for regional, state and federal technical assistance.  Overall, the responses to these questions were focused on the challenges imposed by shrinking budgets, the need to accomplish more with less and the particular challenges on intergovernmental coordination posed by these financial constraints.

The Board has reviewed the results of the survey and greatly appreciates the many insights from our members.  You've spoken and we're listening - we received some great ideas for better serving your needs and interests.  Over three dozen members expressed an interest in becoming more directly engaged in one or more Division activities - we thank for your willingness to participate and we'll be following up with you soon. 

For complete member survey results, please visit the Division's website at: http://intergovernmental.homestead.com/

RIPD-Sponsored Sessions at APA Atlanta


RIPD is sponsoring several sessions at APA Atlanta, including the following:


A facilitated discussion about the State Planning Collaborative is set for Sunday, April 26th from 1:00 - 2:15 p.m.  This session will be immediately followed by the Division's business meeting.


A joint social event is scheduled for Monday, April 27th from 7 - 10 p.m. with other Chapters and Divisions including the Gay and Lesbians Planning Division, Latinos and Planning Division, California Metropolitan Chapters, Transportation, and Energy and Environment Divisions.  


Our own Bob Leiter will be presenting in a Divisions Council Track titled "Immigration and America's Changing Communities" - Cross-Border Regional Planning Initiatives:  Lessons learned from California-Mexico and Texas-Mexico Webinars from 7:30 - 8:45 a.m. April 28th.


Finally, RIPD will sponsor a panel session on Livable Communities at APA Atlanta on Tuesday, April 29th from 2:30 - 3:45 p.m. Over the last dozen years, various metropolitan planning agencies which are designated as Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) under U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) designations have utilized applicable U.S. DOT funding sources to develop Livable Communities Initiatives (LCIs).  Applicable U.S. DOT planning and implementation funds as programmed by the MPO have been used to create livable urban centers in metropolitan areas.  In helping to develop these urban centers through LCI activities, program components are generally focused on walkability, Transit Oriented Development, streetscape improvements, affordable housing, and roadway improvements which directly support these urban centers. The MPOs have worked with local governmental agencies to program these funds and other state agencies for implementation.


The Atlanta Regional Commission, the North Central Texas Council of Governments, and San Francisco Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission programs are national leaders in LCIs. Dan Reuter, Director of Community Development for the Atlanta Regional Commission, will moderate this panel. The Atlanta Regional Commission has been very strong on both planning and implementation for Livable Communities Initiatives at the local level  The panelist for the Baltimore Metropolitan Council will be Marsha McLaughlin, the Director of Planning and Zoning for Howard County, Maryland and she will discuss how the MPO's LCI programs are used at the local level.  Karla Weaver, Project Coordinator for North Central Texas Council of Governments will discuss this MPO's LCI programs, which include planning and implementation, and also contain a unique feature of trading funds with the State toll authority to simplify implementation of the LCI program.  Ken Kirkey, the Planning Director for the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission will discuss this agency's long-time planning and implementation LCI activities, including efforts to implement State of California regional planning legislation (SB 375) addressing climate change. 


Additional Livable Communities Initiative (LCI) Activities


The APA Regional and Intergovernmental Planning Division will be sponsoring an afternoon meeting in Atlanta on Livable Communities Programs from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. on April 30, 2014, immediately following the conclusion of the National APA conference. This meeting is not part of the APA Conference and attendance is free of charge.  The meeting will be led by Dan Reuter, Division Manager of Community Development for the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC).  Since 1999, the ARC has been one of the U.S. DOT-designated Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) that has vigorously taken advantage of provisions of federal transportation laws to develop its Livable Communities Initiative Program. This program is featured in an article in the January 2014 issue of Planning Magazine (pages 42-47) http://magazine.planning.org/?i=190650

Livable Communities (LCI) programs can generally be characterized as planning and infrastructure implementation programs that lead to the development of specific types of urban centers in metropolitan areas be they in the central city, or the inner or outer suburbs.  Such urban centers are walkable, have well-developed transit, good urban design, mixed uses including housing at various income levels, and include roadway and other infrastructure measures directly supporting them.  (In addition to U.S. DOT funding provisions, some states such as California and Minnesota have very similar metropolitan Livable Communities programs funded by state or local revenue sources).

The purpose of the April 30th afternoon meeting will be to discuss, share information, and set further program activities among regional planning agencies/MPOs that have either been active in the development of Livable Communities programs or are interested in becoming active participants.  The meeting will build upon recent information-sharing activities of MPOs with active Livable Communities programs. 


Additional information on location and agenda will be provided in a future E-news.  You are invited and encouraged to attend, and if you know of other organizations or individuals who might be interested in this afternoon meeting on April 30, please pass the word along.  If you have questions, please contact Dan Reuter at:  dreuter@atlantaregional.com, Bob Leiter at: rleiter9@san.rr.com, or Lee Schoenecker at:leeschoenecker@aol.com

View the Spring 2013 APA RIPD Journal on the Newsletters page 

The proposed APA Division bylaws for FY13 have been posted to the Documents page 

The APA RIPD FY 2013 budget that was unanimously approved by the Executive Board on November 20, 2012 has been posted to the Documents page.
Included in next year’s work plan is funding to improve the Division’s website, proposed grants for regional planning educational efforts, and contribution to a proposed PAS report on best practices in regional planning.
View the proposal to develop an APA Planning Advisory Service Report on regional planning and the design of regions on the Division Documents page.
last updated: 9/23/2013