December President's Message

Halloween has long been a favorite holiday for me. My childhood trick-or-treating took place in six-story apartment buildings in Brooklyn. My dad told us which doors to avoid, and my brother and I racked up the candy. We always enjoyed heckling our wealthier friends who had to slog through detached single-family neighborhoods in the cold and dark while our trek was warm and well-lit. 

Urban planners know that density is a great way for a kid to accumulate lots of candy fast; technically speaking, this is referred to as the candy per square foot traveled ratio. But densities alone don't give Halloween its full cavity-creating potential. 

I've learned that even in my semi-dense, semi-urban Seattle neighborhood, my kids don't have it so good. Our neighborhood has decent densities, but it lacks the amenities that make it pleasant for little ghouls, goblins, and fairy princesses.

We have limited street lighting. A lack of sidewalks. Little delineation between cars and pedestrians. Unwelcoming chain link fences behind puddle-filled parking areas. 

I'm afraid that traditional Halloween nights are another victim of poor urban design. Next time you planners are reviewing development codes and talking to your electeds, encourage them, to paraphrase APA National, to "Build Great 'trick-or-treater-friendly' Communities!" The children, and their dentists, will thank you.

Budget Time

The next APA Washington Board meeting on Dec.11 will focus on the 2015 budget and committee/section/officer work plans. The great news is that the chapter's membership is growing. This trend helps our sponsors and advertisers, and they in turn have greater reasons to support the conference, the newsletter, and other programs like Community Planning Assistance Teams (look for an upcoming article on our work in Aberdeen) and our new Planning Commissioners Quarterly. 

If you are a chapter member and have pet projects or priorities you want to share with the Board, please let me know ASAP. I can’t make promises, but we do value feedback from our members on how we spend the chapter's money. 

2014 Conference Sessions Available 

Another great conference is over; we wrote all about it last month so I won't reminisce about the sessions (great), the keynotes (great), the reception and pub crawl (great), the Davenport (great), the visits from the Davenport security guards (great), the scholarship auction (great), and the local host committee (so great).

Rather, I want to simply inform you that the conference sessions are now available on the chapter website

Have a great December and get ready for great APA Washington programs in 2015!

Ivan Miller, AICP
President, APA Washington
[email protected]

Return to December issue of The Washington Planner