October is National Community Planning Month

National Community Planning Month is a time to highlight the important role of planning in our communities. Planning can be summed up as comprehensive, community-focused choices that enhance the spaces where people live, work, and play. While many people may not realize it, planning has a significant impact on their day-to-day life. From where they live, to how they commute, to the type of home they live in, planning plays a vital role in a person’s life and well-being.
Planning helps create access and opportunity for all. Through planning, strategic investments in innovation and infrastructure can boost the economy and strengthen communities.
Planners help create communities of lasting value. Planning helps leverage public and private funds that lead to business growth, job creation, robust infrastructure, and economically resilient communities.
Planners are skilled at balancing the varied interests and viewpoints that emerge as a community plans its future. Planners consider what is best for the entire community – senior citizens, workers, children, people living with disabilities, business owners, and elected officials. How do they arrive at these community-wide decisions? Through conversations with residents and thoughtful, inclusive outreach to community stakeholders.
Planners work for the greater good. Planners work with professionals from different fields such as public health, recreation, and engineering to make communities safer, stronger, healthier, and more just. Planning does not stop at a geographic border. Communities are served best when planners take a broader viewpoint, encompassing regional and statewide perspectives. This is especially critical for infrastructure projects, which are most successful when planned at a regional scale. Taking a regional focus ensures the infrastructure system will benefit those well beyond the immediate location of the project.
Planners have the unique expertise to comprehensively address the impacts of today’s actions on tomorrow’s communities. With a comprehensive big-picture perspective, planners are uniquely positioned to evaluate how decisions about the built environment, including transportation networks, building location and scale, and parks and green space, impact communities. When guided and informed by good planning, these decisions make communities safer, more resilient, healthier, more prosperous, and more equitable.
More than 15,000 planners have earned their professional certification. AICP-certified planners pledge to uphold high standards of practice, commit to a code of ethics and professional conduct, and keep their skills sharp and up to date by pursing advanced professional education.

What is National Community Planning Month?

Established in 2006, National Community Planning Month is celebrated each October as a way to highlight the role of planners and the importance of good planning in our communities. Across the country, communities celebrate planning through a variety of avenues including mayoral or city council proclamations declaring October as community planning month; site visits for federal, state, and local elected officials; community tours of APA designated Great Places in America; or outreach to students. Planning is essential for the health, safety, equity, and economic well-being of all people living in our communities.


Each year, a theme is identified to help a community highlight an aspect or outcome of planning. The theme can be used to organize events and activities within the community. The 2019 theme is planning for infrastructure that benefits all. Infrastructure is defined broadly, extending to different types of projects ranging from roadways to transportation systems to parks and broadband networks. Housing is another critical component of a community’s infrastructure. Well-planned infrastructure projects strengthen communities, boost the economy, expand opportunity, and promote equitable development. Ensuring that all residents in a community have safe and affordable housing options advances economic and social equity goals.
Why Celebrate Planning?

National Community Planning Month is your chance to raise the visibility of planning, the planning profession, and to highlight the positive impact it has on your community. It is also an opportunity to share your stories with your appointed and elected officials to reinforce the importance of planning in your community.