Public Service Announcements
APA has a suite of radio, television, and live-read public service announcements (PSAs) that highlight the benefits of planning and the importance of community involvement.
Take a listen or find additional information on one of the topics below.
Planning 4 Health
How your community is planned can have a direct impact on your health. Planners are working with public health officials and others to plan for good health, starting with the built environment and improving access to nutritious foods. Check out www.plan4health.us for information and resources on improving the health of your community.
One of the many benefits of planning is it gives residents options, including how they move around – driving, taking public transit, bicycling or walking. Having these options available makes it easier to fit daily exercise into your life, instead of having to make time to exercise.
- The health benefits achieved by walking to your bus stop or train station. Sustaining Places, "Walking to Transit is Real Daily Exercise." February 2013.
- A guide for improving pedestrian safety. Sustaining Places, "Pedestrian and Bicycling Technical Guides." July 2014.
- Achieve an understanding of the connection between the built environment and health. The Healthy Community Design Toolkit offers tools for anyone to use to assess the health of their community.
- Access information and training resources through the free Built Environment and Public Clearinghouse.
- Benchmarking Progress of Bicycling and Walking Across the U.S., Tuesdays at APA, February 2014.
- Walkability: Fact or Myth? Tuesdays at APA, June 2014.
For more information, check out the ongoing work of APA's Planning and Community Health Research Center. Current projects include studying how different street features promote or discourage physical activity in "Benefits of Street-scale Features for Walking and Biking."
Complete streets accommodate multiple users — from pedestrians and bicyclists to transit and automobiles. Creating streets for only one mode of transportation can make them dangerous to travel for other users.
- Read about APA's Complete Streets initiative.
- The National Complete Streets Coalition completed a policy inventory (pdf) of 80 complete streets policies.
Helping Local Business
Don't Get Burned
Living Near the Water
Additional Planning Resources
Get Inspired By Great Communities
People just like you, working together with planners, elected officials and the business community, can make great communities. Keeping what's important from the past and looking ahead to the future — locally, regionally and globally — are what make the difference. This is where inspiration comes in. Plan big. Plan for the future.
Use these examples to illustrate your points when talking to your neighbors, and local business people and professionals. Show your local, regional and state elected officials what's possible and what you want.
Compact, Walkable Communities Mean More than Sidewalks
Close proximity to public transportation gives people a good reason to leave their cars at home, or better yet, not to own a car at all.
- Downtown Decatur, Georgia, used its 1982 Town Center Plan plus others — streetscape, transportation, strategic — to implement the community's vision of returning downtown to the prominent role it played in the 1950s. Finding ways to reconnect residents with the town square was an early priority and one that harnessed support for redevelopment.
- Browne's Addition in Spokane, Washington, is a great example of the way citizens, faith-based communities and planners can work together. Tax incentives and community development block grants and historic designations are some of the tools they used to create a thriving, diverse community with a variety of housing options — from affordable apartments to new condos.
Become Part of the Planning Process
Getting your neighbors involved, connecting with elected officials, and discovering the common ground for advocacy and action within a community — these are keys to creating sustaining places. The tools and strategies for engaging members of your community are as diverse as the people themselves. You can learn more about steps you can take and concrete things that other communities have done to increase community engagement in the planning process.
Planners use a variety of ways to engage residents in the planning process. In this example, the regional planning agency for the Tulsa, Oklahoma, metro area wanted to gather citizen input on long-term transit development. The group transformed an ordinary city bus into the Fast Forward Mobile Bus, a mobile transit lab.
Lake Oswego, Oregon, created a video as part of its public outreach effort to educate and engage the community in the comprehensive planning process. The "We Love Lake Oswego" video highlighted what citizens love about the community and how the past has and will shape the future.
Assistance from Professional Planners
APA offers assistance to communities that have limited planning resources. Through the Community Planning Assistance Teams (CPAT) program, teams of professional planners are matched with communities requesting assistance on a variety of planning topics. The team works with the community and provides recommendations on how to enhance planning and envision a better future.
During APA's National Planning Conference, a Community Assistance Workshop is held in a community of the conference host city.
Here are some additional resources you might find beneficial. All resources are available from APA.
Citizen's Guide to Planning
Pedestrian and Transit-Oriented Design
The Environmental Planning Handbook
Complete Streets (PAS 559)
Fiscal Impact Analysis (PAS 561)
An Economic Development Toolbox (PAS 541)
Planning and Broadband (PAS 569)