About The American Planning Association

A calendar binder representing the American Planning Association

Great communities don’t just happen; they’re created.

Planning is an exciting and dynamic field with the power to shape the built environment and improve the lives of communities and individuals. Whether you’re working on a small-scale neighborhood plan or a large-scale regional project, you’ll have the opportunity to make a positive impact on your community. One of the most impactful organizations in the space is the American Planning Association.

In planning, you’ll have the chance to be creative and think outside the box as you work to solve complex issues. You’ll also have the opportunity to work with a diverse group of stakeholders, including community members, elected officials, developers, and other professionals. This collaboration can be a rewarding and enriching experience, as you’ll have the chance to learn from different perspectives and work towards common goals. Planning is a field that offers endless opportunities for personal and professional growth, making it a rewarding and exciting career choice.

A world without planning…

If the world didn’t plan enough, it would likely lead to a number of negative consequences. For one, there would be a lack of infrastructure and resources to support the growing population. This could lead to overcrowding, limited access to clean water, and a lack of basic necessities such as healthcare and education.

Additionally, there would likely be a lack of foresight in addressing issues such as climate change and environmental degradation. This could lead to even more severe problems in the future, including natural disasters, food and water shortages, and the displacement of communities. Overall, a lack of planning could have serious consequences for both the present and future well-being of individuals and communities around the world.

What does the American Planning Association do?

The American Planning Association (APA) is a professional organization for planners, urban designers, and other professionals in the field of land use and community development. The organization was founded in 1978 and has over 40,000 members across the United States.

The APA provides resources and support for planners and related professionals, including educational opportunities, networking events, and research and policy information. It also advocates for sound planning practices and policies at the local, state, and national levels. Through these efforts, the APA works to help people and communities by promoting the development of livable, sustainable, and equitable communities.

Why join the American Planning Association

There are a number of reasons why you’d consider joining the American Planning Association:

Professional development

The APA provides a wide range of educational and professional development opportunities, including conferences, workshops, and online learning resources.


As a member of the APA, you’ll have access to a large and diverse network of planners and related professionals. This can be a great way to make connections, share ideas, and learn from others in the field.


The APA advocates for sound planning practices and policies at the local, state, and national levels. As a member, you can get involved in these efforts and help shape the future of planning in your community and beyond.


As a member, you’ll have access to a wide range of resources and tools, including research and policy information, planning software, and more. These organizations are all based in the United States and provide resources and support for planners and related professionals. They may have different focus areas or priorities, so it’s worth doing some research to find the one that best meets your needs and goals.

Alternatives to AMA and certification

In addition to the American Planning Association (APA), there are a few other professional organizations in the United States that focus on planning and related disciplines:

The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP)

The AICP is a professional institute of the APA that offers the AICP Certification, a professional credential for planners. To be eligible for the AICP Certification, you must meet certain education and experience requirements and pass a written exam.

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP)

The ACSP is a professional organization for planning educators and students in the United States. It provides resources and support for planning programs and offers a range of professional development opportunities for its members.

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)

NACTO is a professional organization for transportation planners and related professionals. It focuses on transportation planning at the urban and regional levels and offers a range of resources and opportunities for professional development.

The Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP)

The AEP is a professional organization for environmental professionals, including planners, scientists, and engineers. It provides resources and support for its members and advocates for the protection of natural and cultural resources.

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