Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Programs

One of the key goals of APA California is to encourage a diverse membership and to provide support to all who would like to participate in APA and work in the planning field. The Chapter’s Strategic Plan 2022-25 considers inclusion and diversity as one of its guiding values and principles. In 2019, the Chapter strengthened it’s commitment to these values by eliminating the two nominated Board positions – a Membership Inclusion Director for Northern and for Southern California and created a new elected position Vice President – Diversity and Equity that would have voting rights and be part of the Executive Committee.

APA California sponsors a Diversity Summit at the APA annual conference to highlight various issues that are of particular concern to communities of color, LGBTQIA community and the accessibility community.  A Diversity Mixer is also sponsored by APA California at the conference to provide an excellent networking opportunity for members and provide a forum to discuss how members can get involved in Chapter activities.

In addition, each of the State’s Sections also have a Board position aimed that fulfilling the State’s diversity-related goals and provide a number of diversity programs and participation options.

If you are interested in getting involved, please contact the VP for Diversity & Equity at [email protected]:

APA California Land Acknowledgment Policy

(Adopted September 2021)

The APA California Chapter Board recognizes Native American tribes as traditional stewards of the land. State- and Section-initiated and/or sponsored events (webinars, conference sessions and other events) shall begin with a land acknowledgement that acknowledges the stewardship of the tribes where the activities are being held.  

DEI in Planners Workplace Series

Social equity is a guiding principle for urban planners’ professional work, and APA California has highlighted many to center the perspectives and needs of historically marginalized communities. However, the planning profession itself faces major challenges to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) – many workplaces simply do not reflect the communities they serve, the outcome of historic and current barriers to entry and advancement. This webinar series looks inwards at the planner’s workplace, highlighting best practices with actionable steps towards advancing DEI for current and future planners. Below are links for the one-hour webinar series that provides stories from three different types of workplaces and each webinar qualifies for 1 CM Credit.

DEI in the Planner’s Workplace: Stories from Private Sector Firms (AECOM, Buro Happold, KGTY and MIG)

DEI in the Planner’s Workplace: Stories from Public Sector (San Jose’s Office of Racial Equity, Office of Economic Development and Planning and Department of Building and Code Enforcement)

DEI in the Planner’s Workplace: Stories from the Non-Profit Sector (California Walks, GRID Alternatives and LANI)


At the 2019 State Conference in Santa Barbara the Board organized an implicit bias and cultural training. This was a double session, 180-minute training conducted by Oakland based The Justice Collective that was very well received.

Below are the presentation and exercises that were used at this training.

Diversity Summit

Since 2006 APA California has sponsored Diversity Summits at the State Conference. For the past several years Diversity Summit has been the de facto soft opening for the state conferences. Over the years, these Summits have undertaken a myriad of topics and the list below provides a taste of the type of issues discussed.

Ambassador Program

APA Ambassadors are planners who connect with schools and youth programs. Ambassadors are an important part of APA’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion strategy to create a profession reflective of our communities and enhance community knowledge of the planning process. Benefits of joining the program include pro bono CM credits and access to national online forum to share resources and form local teams.

This is a program facilitated by the National APA’s Equity Diversity Inclusion Committee. Our leadership above is available for any kind of support and assistance needed by California Ambassadors.