October President's Message

By Paula Reeves, AICP CTP


October is National Community Planning Month, and this year APA is underscoring the importance of planning, planners, and the impact that the built environment can have on both community and public health. This topic is particularly relevant to me personally this month as I re-join the ranks of community planners across the state after 18 years in state transportation planning. Check out APA’s National Community Planning website for ready to use materials and other information. 

Also timely this month, and “in step”, with APA’s Community Planning Month is the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to promote walkable communities.  The Surgeon General’s just-released report points out that one out of every two U.S. adults is living with a chronic disease, such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. These diseases contribute to disability, premature death, and health care costs. Increasing people’s physical activity levels can significantly reduce their risk of chronic diseases and related risk factors. Because physical activity has numerous other health benefits—such as supporting positive mental health and healthy aging—it is one of the most important actions people can take to improve their overall health.

The purpose of this Call to Action is to improve access to safe and convenient places to walk. Planners and planning can play a strong role in achieving the Surgeon Generals five point action plan, including:

(1)   making walking a national priority;
(2)   designing communities that make it safe and easy to walk for people of all ages and abilities;
(3)   promoting programs and policies to support walking where people live, learn, work, and play;
(4)   providing information to encourage walking and improve walkability; and
(5)   filling research and data gaps related to walking and walkability.

The 25th Anniversary of GMA Conference on November 13th will tackle this topic of community and public health and much more as we discuss the past, present and future of planning in our state.  The reasonably priced, one-day conference hosted by APA Washington, Futurewise, UW Law School, MRSC, and the Association of Washington Cities will offer both CM and CLE credits. Be sure to register soon as space is limited. 

Also related to Community Planning Month, read Bob Bengford’s article highlighting APA’s Community Planning Assistance Teams in this month’s newsletter.

In an effort to raise awareness about community planning and the role of planners, APA put together a short video, check it out! Enter password apa2015 to view the video.

Student planners take note! Starting Jan. 1 the APA Divisions council has a special “Five for Five”. Students will be able to choose five APA divisions and receive five years of free membership.  This is a great deal for our young planners to get involved and build their community!

Lastly, check our Section, Chapter Board, and National Board websites for updates on the outcome of the recent APA Elections and please continue to lend your ideas to the development of APA Washington’s Strategic Plan.       

As always, I invite you to drop me a line or call me to let me know of other news around the state at [email protected] or 360-701-1943.

All the Best – Paula Reeves

Return to October issue of The Washington Planner