Support APA's Food Systems Interest Group!

To help elevate the role of food systems planning, the American Planning Association's Food Interest Group (APA FIG) is actively pursuing Division status within APA.

Food is a sustaining and enduring necessity. Among the basic essentials for life — air, water, shelter, and food — only food has been absent as a focus of serious professional planning interest. Since 2007, APA has provided a steady and growing body of guidance on community and regional food systems planning (PAS Reports, Memos, Essential Info Packets, and, importantly, the creation of APA’s Food Systems Interest Group (APA-FIG) in 2009). This collective guidance has helped bring to the forefront the cross-sectional impact of food systems on community and regional planning as a critical component of a healthy, sustainable, and resilient community.

Please help us take the next step to elevate the role of food systems planning in our work. As a Division, our fundamental goal is to help planners build stronger, more just, equitable, and self-reliant local, community, and regional food systems.

Please add your name and help make food systems planning recognized as a core area of the planning profession.

Add Your Name

Seeking Planners Input: Web Tools for Comprehensive Planning

By Tara Newman, WA Dept. of Commerce

Growth Management Services is developing a new decision-support tool and website to help planners in the Puget Sound region designate critical areas and meet their planning goals, and we seek your input! The tool will integrate planning and resource maps into a web interface that can run multiple alternative planning scenarios. You can find out more about that project via the Puget Sound Partnership’s Action Agenda. Some of the key applications of the tool may include:

  • Assessing the effects of land use decisions on critical area designations, and vice versa
  • Analyzing and prioritizing habitat and critical areas to protect or restore
  • Evaluating alternatives for meeting countywide critical area designations and cumulative mitigation needs
  • Identifying areas where policy or zoning changes could help meet development targets
  • Assessing the effects of land use decisions and natural hazards on vulnerable populations

While there are multiple maps available to aid local governments in designating and protecting critical areas, they are often static and not easily integrated. Often, the important information for decision-making is hidden in the relationships between these independent datasets, and tools for analyzing multiple planning scenarios are lacking. Commerce is currently researching the interest, needs, and design for developing such a tool and we seek to collaborate with stakeholders on what this tool should look like, which data should be included, and what information and analysis functions would be the most useful for planners. We are especially interested in hearing from those who may benefit from this effort, have worked on an integrated web mapping project, have created or maintained mapping or modeling tools that could be integrated, have examples of similar tools, or have other specialized knowledge that may be useful. If you or others you know may be interested, please let us know. We plan to conduct online surveys, interviews, and advisory meetings to seek advice from stakeholders and potential end users of this tool. If you would like to be involved in any part of this process, please contact Tara Newman at [email protected]! Thank you!

 Return to the July/August issue of the Washington Planner