Communities across the country are celebrating National Community Planning Month this October. The month long “event”, sponsored by the American Planning Association (APA), its members, chapters, divisions, and professional institute, was developed to recognize the vital role of planners and planning in communities throughout the U.S. At EngagingCities, we have been encouraged historically by the amount of participation we’ve seen with this celebration at a local level here in Colorado. We are excited to see what is in store for 2011’s celebrations around the nation.
Last year, our own Vail, CO celebrated National Community Planning Month by sponsoring free walking tours to showcase development projects within Vail Village and LionsHead, which included insights from town planners on each project and their impacts on the community. Likewise, in 2010, the City of Centennial, CO celebrated by inviting the public to submit photographs taken in their area that represented good community planning. Lakewood, CO also sponsored a film festival last year, hosting Q&A sessions with community experts to answer questions and discuss topics raised in the films, in addition to creating a citizen reading list illustrating how planning has shaped the city. For the third year in a row, 2011 local celebrations will again include the City of Lakewood, as they add Community Planning Boards to the list of resources and provide information to citizens about how they can become involved in planning for Lakewood’s future. A quick Google search brought up several other communities nationwide who are also actively promoting National Community Planning Month:
To help elevate the role of planning in your community, the APA has provided an array of resources on their website, with ideas about how to host a planning department or planning commission open house, talk to kids in schools about a career in planning, present a library display about planning and planners, or even sponsor a neighborhood tour to highlight how planning helps the community.
Make a Video
Develop and screen a short video about planning's role in shaping your community and region. The very process of producing such a program can engage many different members of the community as well as attract the attention of local media.
Illustrate How Planning Creates Great Places
Want to show the connection between planning and great places? APA's Community-Wide Audio/Web Conference Great Plans, Great Communities provides a striking introduction to planning and makes the case for the importance and wide-ranging benefits of planning.
Lead a Tour
Organize walking, bike, bus, boat, driving or jogging tours to highlight the contributions of planning in your community, region, or state. See a list of tips and tour theme ideas >>
Create an Exhibit
Put together a display that shows how good planning has guided the community's growth.
Hold an Open House
Local and regional planning agencies, planning firms, and planning schools can invite citizens to get an insider's view of planning topics, tools, and techniques by holding an open house emphasizing ways to participate in the planning process.
Hold a Public Forum
What a great opportunity to draw attention to planning issues in the community or surrounding region and to place those issues within the context of current innovations in planning across the country!
See more National Community Planning Month Event Ideas >>