APA California is dedicated to providing excellent services to its members.

The California Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA California) links planners statewide and nationwide through the American Planning Association. Through this linkage, members can obtain the latest information about planning, unite to influence legislative issues, and further professional expertise through conferences, meetings and workshops. APA California was chartered in 1948 and currently has over 6000 members including practicing planners, young planning professionals, elected and appointed planning officials, academicians, citizens and students. Elected state and local Section officers lead the Chapter.

The Planning Profession in California: Results from a Survey of the State’s Planners

APA California has a rich history dating back to the 1930s. As the planning profession has grown in California, so too has the organization. In 2019, APA California had close to 7,000 members but no detailed information about its membership. As a remedy to this, the board commissioned a first-of-its-kind survey to take the pulse of the “State of the Planning Profession in California” and collect baseline data. Close to 800 planners across the state completed the survey in 2019 — read the full report for key findings on demographics and professional experience; engagement with APA; and career development.

APA California is exploring the findings of this survey in more depth and hopes to repeat it in order to establish trends over time. 

APA California Online: The APA California Website and Email Blasts

The website provides APA members and employers with the capacity to:

APA California also has a weekly e-mail blast program, eNews and Announcements, to alert members of important information and events, hot legislation, deadlines, and services.

Statewide Newsletter: CalPlanner

APA California produces the digital CalPlanner newsletter two times annually. CalPlanner brings APA California members the latest information on issues of concern to the planning field. The editor of CalPlanner is the APA California Vice President for Public Information, Ellie Fiore, AICP.

Statewide Annual Conference

APA California provides varied and unique education and networking opportunities for its members though its annual conference. The list of locations for the annual conferences is posted on the website and rotates each year to one of the eight host APA California Sections. The conference session presentations are also available on the website.

Professional Development, Networking and Certification Maintenance Opportunities

APA California provides varied and unique educational and networking opportunities for its members through conferences and workshops. Workshops at both the state and Section level focus on a variety of hot planning issues including the annual legislative updates, AICP test and planning commissioner training, as well as professional development, legal, ethics, and nuts and bolts instruction and field trips.

All of these opportunities qualify for National APA Certification Maintenance (CM) credits for AICP members, as do most of the sessions featured at the State Conference. Every APA California member belongs to a local Section. Sections allow members to participate closer to home by sharing experiences with colleagues, expanding networks, keeping up to date on local and regional issues and broadening every planner’s perspectives beyond our office, commission, community or campus.

Chapter and Sections Awards Programs

Each year, the Chapter encourages creative and positive planning through its California Chapter Awards and Section Awards programs. The awards are given for excellence in plans, planning projects, and journalism focusing on planning issues. Awards are also given to professional planners, community and statewide leaders, and elected officials for distinguished service.

Legislative Program and Legislative Review Teams

Through its Vice President for Policy & Legislation, Eric Phillips, its legislative advocate Lauren De Valencia y Sanchez with Stefan/George Associates, and its Legislative Platform (Plan California), APA California affects statewide change in planning law by working with state legislators and affiliated interest groups through its legislative program. Legislation of key interest to APA California Chapter members that APA California actively lobbies are continually updated on the Hot Bills List for members only, which includes bills dealing with CEQA, growth and infill development, regional planning, financing for planning, redevelopment options and local fiscal reform, housing element reform, density issues, safety planning, and legislation amending general plan, local ordinance and zoning law. Members can actively participate in determining APA California’s position on critical legislation affecting planning in California by joining the Legislative Review Teams.

Student Scholarships and Student Conference Track

The Chapter, through its California Planning Foundation, awards scholarships annually to students from each of the nine accredited planning programs at seven universities throughout California. In addition, APA California now features at its annual conference an entire day of programs geared to the needs and interests of students.

Landmark Awards Program and Archives

APA California each year recognizes influential works and projects completed more than 25 years ago through its Landmarks Awards Program which began in 1988. APA California also has an agreement with the California State University at Northridge to house its Chapter Archives, so that planning students and scholars can review important historical documents that will be preserved for future generations. APA California has two Historians that oversee this important California Planning History program.

Ongoing Member Support Options

APA California also has a number of other programs designed to target specific member services:

  • New member outreach
  • Planning commissioner and governmental planning board member programs
  • The Young and Emerging Planners Group (YEP) programs and mentorship programs
  • The Membership Inclusion Program
  • Planner Emeritus Network (PEN)
  • Chapter-Only membership
  • Insurance for professionals: discounts and services
  • Solano Press book discounts at the annual State Conference

For information regarding any of these programs e-mail