Advanced Disaster Recovery Strategies for Local Communities

APA and the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center developed a FEMA-certified course to help individuals and organizations develop a strategic planning process for implementing pre-disaster recovery plans.

Arts, Culture & Creativity

The Planning and Community Health Research Center developed a series of briefing papers to illustrate how planners use arts and culture strategies to achieve economic, social, environmental, and community goals.

Benefits of Street Scale Features for Walking and Biking

Through a partnership with Active Living Research, this project examines how different street features, either independently or in combination with one another, can promote physical activity. The research also explores other potential co-benefits to such features, with special focus on economic and social outcomes.

Bridging the Gap

The effects of policies, practices, and environmental factors on youth diet and physical activity.


This three-year initiative involved community development leaders, community members, and others and resulted in a guide to redeveloping brownfield sites.

Built Environment and Public Health Clearinghouse

The Built Environment and Public Health Clearinghouse is a resource for training and relevant news about the intersection of health and place. APA, the American Public Health Association and the National Network of Public Health Institutes, were a part of a 2014 relaunch. The clearinghouse now offers both academic and professional training resources that address the link between public health with planning, architecture, health impact assessment and transportation engineering, among others.

Capacity Building for Planners to Address Health

This five-year effort developed technical tools, educational resources, and professional development guidance to enhance opportunities for pursuing health-oriented planning.

City Parks Forum

We are facing a new era of defining what constitutes a park. No longer seen as simply grass and trees, parks provide a multitude of benefits to their users.

Coastal Zone Management

Working with the Coastal States Organization, APA's Hazards Planning Research Center produced a PAS Report on coastal zone management.

Complete Streets

Discover policy and implementation practices that are helping to create complete streets in communities across the country.

Context-Sensitive Signage Design

For planners and building officials, signs are but one component of the complex built environment. And planning for and regulating signs is just one aspect of a city or community design program.

Drought Mitigation

APA's Hazards Planning Research Center published a PAS Report on best practices and case studies in drought planning, working with the University of Nebraska's National Drought Mitigation Center and the National Integrated Drought Information System.

Family Friendly Communities

This project engaged planners in thinking critically about what makes a family friendly community, what's currently being done, and what opportunities are there to create more friendly communities.

Great Urban Parks Campaign

APA completed a project with the National Recreation and Park Association and the Low Impact Development Center to improve environmental and social outcomes in underserved communities through green infrastructure in local parks.

Greater Baltimore Wilderness: Green Infrastructure for Regional Resilience

Through this project, APA and its partners developed a regional green infrastructure decision-support tool, a toolkit to guide local policy and implementation, and provided planning assistance for two pilot projects in central Maryland.

Growing Food Connections

This project targeted 20 urban and rural communities across the U.S. that are significantly underserved by the nation's food system.

Growing Smart

States and their local governments now have new practical tools available to help combat urban sprawl, protect farmland, promote affordable housing, and encourage redevelopment.

Hazard Mitigation

Learn how to integrate best practices in hazard mitigation into all forms of local plan making and planning activities.

Hazardous Tree Management and Post-Disaster Recovery

APA hosted a scoping session under USDA Forest Service sponsorship to discuss ways to reduce disaster-caused damage to the urban forest. Several federal agencies and other national nonprofits participated.

Health Impact Assessment's Role in Planning

APA's Planning and Community Health Center completed a project to further the education, training, and development of Health Impact Assessments (HIA) as an integral part of planning practice to integrate the use of HIA into plans and policies that shape the built environment.

Healthy Communities through Collaboration

In 2003, a partnership between APA and the National Association of County and City Health Officials began to restore the bridge between land-use planning, community design, and public health practice.

Housing Choice

Everyone needs housing — a place to live, a place to call home. But the realization of safe, decent, affordable housing is becoming increasingly difficult for more and more individuals and families.

Improving Community Resilience

In this HUD-funded and NOAA-supervised project, team lead AECOM partnered with APA, NACo, and ASFPM to develop models for integrating resilient hazard mitigation planning into local comprehensive plans.

Land Based Classification Standards (LBCS)

The LBCS model extends the notion of classifying land uses by refining traditional categories into multiple dimensions. These multiple dimensions allow users to have precise control over land-use classifications.

Naturally Resilient Communities

The Nature Conservancy worked in partnership with the APA and other organizations to develop a green infrastructure siting guide for municipal leaders and staff responsible for community planning, floodplain and stormwater management, and redevelopment activities.

Planning and Designing the Physically Active Community

In the last decade, the paradigm of smart growth has prompted many communities to improve the physical design of downtowns and neighborhoods.

Planning for a New Energy and Climate Future

A PAS Report, a database, a reader, and other resources provide information on integrating energy and climate issues into planning.

Planning for Food Access

APA's Planning and Community Health Research Center is identifying and evaluating plans that address community-based food systems.

Planning for Public Health

A multi-year research study to identify and analyze the plan-making processes and the health goals, objectives, and policies of local comprehensive plans across the U.S.

Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation

An update and overhaul of the classic PAS Report Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction, incorporating numerous planning lessons learned from the last 15 years of dealing with major disasters.

Planning for Wildfires

Wildfires are increasing in frequency and severity as more people move into areas where developments meet or intermingle with undeveloped wildlands.

Planning the Urban Forest

Planners need to adopt a green infrastructure approach and incorporate trees into urban plans. Learn how to develop an urban forestry program that reaps the many benefits of trees.

Planning Tools for Health

In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this two-year study resulted in a set of tools that integrate health into plan implementation with a focus on creating guidelines for site plan review and subdivision.

Smart Growth Codes

How do we amend our ordinances to advance smart growth?

State Laws and Natural Hazards

A survey of planning legislation in 50 states.

Subdivision Design in Flood Hazard Areas

In this FEMA-funded project, APA revamped a 1997 PAS Report to incorporate new issues and knowledge that have developed over the past two decades.

SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership

From September 2010 to July 2016 APA worked with its partners to provide outreach, training, and technical assistance to local and regional governments to make it easier for residents, businesses, and property owners within their jurisdictions to use solar energy.

Tools for Health

The Planning and Community Health Center developed a set of applied tools to incorporate health into development review, comprehensive planning, safe routes to parks, and green infrastructure.

Tribal Transportation Programs

In early 2005, APA contracted with the Transportation Research Board to produce a Synthesis Study on Tribal Transportation Programs.

Urban Agriculture

Research that resulted in a Planning Advisory Service Report on the role of planning practice in developing and sustainable urban agriculture to support economic, social, and environmental goals.

Wildlife Habitat Protection

A census of local planning activity in jurisdictions that contain priority conservation areas.

Research activities at APA are supported by grants from foundations, nongovernmental organizations, and government agencies, as well as subscription revenues. APA welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with organizations that have similar or complementary interests.

Contact us at APA Research