This article originally appeared on the American Planning Association’s website.
For many planners, a key goal is continuing professional education. APA Learn, the American Planning Association’s online education platform, offers planners an easy way to access ideas and insights on important topics, track Certification Maintenance credits, and advance their career goals.
As Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” An investment in APA Learn education is a great value for APA members because they get a 50 percent discount on all courses. Plus, new content is continually added on topics that range from A to Z.
Find an alphabet’s worth of planning courses below as you browse through the ABCs of planning.
A IS FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Affordable Housing Series
Many communities support affordable housing production but want to balance it with preserving community character. In this course learn from combined National Planning Conference sessions on Affordable Housing. Explore tools that encourage affordable housing while affirmatively furthering fair housing.
B IS FOR BIKE LANE
Increasing Biking in Contentious Environments
The American automobile is far from dead, yet we are demanding more from our city streets. This session will take a comprehensive look at how bicycle infrastructure can be built in charged political environments.
C IS FOR COMPREHENSIVE PLAN
Comprehensive Plan Standards for Sustaining Places
Looking for new tools for your comprehensive planning process? Learn about APA’s Comprehensive Plan Standards for Sustaining Places, and take a deep dive into its resource toolkit.
D IS FOR DIVERSITY
Promoting Diversity and Inclusive Communities
Discover the barriers to the integration of diversity in planning education and practice through recent studies that explore perceptions and personal experiences of diversity in the workplace, practice and education. Learn strategies to foster diversity and promote culturally competent planning.
E IS FOR ECODISTRICT
EcoDistricts and Environmental Justice Academy Precepts
Explore a proven approach to community revitalization that combines EcoDistrict protocols and Environmental Justice Academy precepts. Discover how to integrate these protocols and precepts to promote equitable, resilient and sustainable communities.
F IS FOR FLOOD MITIGATION
Implementing Innovative Flood Protection/Mitigation
Hurricane Sandy underscored the region’s need to advance coastal resiliency planning, a need magnified by the potential threat of more frequent and intensive coastal storm events. Explore the six award-winning design approaches, created as a result of HUD’s Rebuild by Design competition.
G IS FOR GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE
Regional Green Infrastructure Strategies and Tools
Explore the processes and tools employed in the first stage of the Central Puget Sound Regional Open Space Strategy, and learn how these innovative, landscape-scale “green infrastructure” planning techniques can be applied to other regions.
H IS FOR HOUSING
Housing, Health Equity & Local Control
“Local control,” the newfound religion among progressive cities, has roots in strategies once used to combat reconstruction and civil rights. Is local control the antidote to state interference with laws aimed at achieving affordable housing and health equity? Find out.
I IS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE
Reinventing Urban Infrastructure: Innovative Design Solutions
Abandoned, underutilized spaces — products of urban post-industrialism and rapidly evolving technologies — provide fertile ground for innovative designs and planning. Learn how radical approaches to reinventing infrastructure can help you address increasing urban density proactively and successfully.
J IS FOR JOINT DEVELOPMENT
All Aboard: Planning for Joint Development
Hear from transit agency development staff on how new policies are creating diverse communities, where agencies have successfully partnered with local cities — and learn where more collaboration and progress can be made.
K IS FOR KNOWLEDGE
Local Planning Agency Management and Skills
What you need to know to manage today’s local planning agency creatively and effectively. This course explores the perspectives, skills and knowledge sets planners need to succeed in managing traditional practice as well as emerging sustainability and resiliency work.
L IS FOR LAND USE
Can Land Use Decisions Prevent Violence?
Violence is preventable, yet it is pervasive in too many communities. Explore how planners and people working in violence prevention, public health and related fields can proactively collaborate to create safer neighborhoods for all.
M IS FOR MULTIMODAL
Identifying Continuous and Connected Multimodal Arterial Networks
Learn about a first-of-its-kind transportation planning framework that combines typology, land use, modal priorities, big data, multimodal performance measures and the latest in GIS to evaluate multimodal arterial network needs.
N IS FOR NEW SUBURBANISM
Lessons in New Suburbanism
Washington, D.C., is transforming as aging, auto-dependent suburbs are being revitalized through new suburbanism. Presenting a data-driven approach to transforming sprawl into walkable, sustainable communities, this session offers insight into — and proven methods for — suburban design success.
O IS FOR ORDINANCE
Ordinances: Best Practices to Follow, Pitfalls to Avoid
Get a multistate perspective on good drafting techniques, common pitfalls that lead to unclear ordinances, and legal and judicial perspectives on the results. Learn why drafting individual ordinances, “simplifying” or “streamlining” them, or combining them into a unified code all need to be done with care.
P IS FOR PLACEMAKING
Creative Placemaking from the Community Up
Explore creative placemaking from the community up, grounded in values fostering belonging, equity, racial justice and inclusion. Examine local case studies from diverse urban and rural contexts, tools and resources, and creative participatory planning and community engagement practices.
Q IS FOR QUALITY OF LIFE
Austin Sidewalks: Planning, Assessment, and Execution
Sidewalk networks provide access to transit, increase transportation equity, help control air pollution and traffic congestion, and improve quality of life. Learn how Austin’s sidewalk and Safe Routes to School programs use GIS tools for analysis, planning and project management.
R IS FOR REGIONAL PLANNING
Complete Streets: Regional Planning, Local Implementation
The metro Orlando area of Florida consistently ranks at or near the top of the “Dangerous by Design” list for pedestrian safety. Learn how Central Florida is working to reverse dangerous trends by planning for and implementing complete streets.
S IS FOR SMART CITIES
Broadband Planning: Smart Cities and Superclusters
Learn comprehensive planning practices and the role of Wi-Fi SuperClusters in planning a resilient and sustainable smart city. Through case studies, experts share how high-speed broadband drives economic development and improves public safety, agricultural output, health care and educational services.
T IS FOR TAX INCREMENT FINANCING
Legal and Financial Strategies for Conservation
Explore conservation easements, historic tax credits, and programmatic strategies that engender stewardship and protection as strategies to balance the maintenance of character and heritage with limited financial resources.
U IS FOR URBAN DESIGN
Emerging Technologies to Transform Urban Design Series
Planners are playing an increasingly important role in the development of sustainable places and smart cities. This combined course featuring two NPC sessions explores automated vehicle technology, the use of ropeways and gondolas in an urban environment, and the proliferation of e-bikes worldwide.
V IS FOR VEGETATION
Bread & Butter: Planning for Farms
Planning for farms and food is a bread-and-butter issue. Forecast impacts of climate change and development, discover if your community is farm-friendly, and learn how an Iowa county preserved farmland and protected farms.
W IS FOR WALKABILITY
Saving Nature with Walkable Urbanism
Hear about the regulatory tools, capital investments, and partnerships that the riverfront city of Beaufort, South Carolina, and the college town of Davidson, North Carolina, employed to create more walkable communities while preserving their waterfronts and protecting their countryside.
X IS FOR XERISCAPING
Water Decision Support Tools for Planners
Planners increasingly rely on place-based information from decision-support tools to better understand impacts of water-related events on communities. Learn from experts in the federal, NGO and private sectors on using tools to address drought, coastal inundation and water quality.
Y IS FOR YOUTH
Captivating Youth Engagement
In this session, planners share their insights about programs that effectively engage young people in community planning. Learn about the institutional support for these projects and assess what resources you might need to undertake your own project.
Z IS FOR ZONING
Friends at Last: Preservation and Zoning
Communities today are seeking ways to align and synchronize historic preservation regulations and guidelines with zoning. Explore approaches used in Los Angeles, Fort Worth, Texas, and Roswell, Georgia, to see how they may work for your community.
Kimberley Jacques is the American Planning Association's education director.