2020 National Planning Conference Canceled

A sad day for the planning profession, as the American Planning Association makes the hard, but necessary decision to cancel the 2020 National Planning Conference.

3 minute read

March 18, 2020, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Seattle APA National Conference

Joe Szurszewski / American Planning Association

American Planning Association (APA) President Kurt Christiansen and APA CEO Joel Albizo announced on March 17, 2020 that the 2020 National Planning Conference scheduled for April 25-28 in Houston would be canceled, in accordance with recommendations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for controlling the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Registered attendees have the option of receiving a full refund or maintaining a credit with APA that can be applied to other programs, services, or membership renewal through September 30, 2021. We'll follow up shortly with additional information on future online learning opportunities that will facilitate the same high level of professional development for planners and the planning community that you've come to expect from APA.

The announcement also addresses the need to continue planning and working for the future of communities of all shapes and sizes in the United States:

As you focus on meeting the needs of your communities, we will turn our attention to the substantial challenge of keeping APA and the planning community strong in a rapidly changing world. We'll have more to say about this in the coming days.

The cancelation of the National Planning Conference is included in the larger context of the APA's COVID-19 response, which includes guiding principles—e.g., "The well-being of our staff, members, and partners is a top priority," and "Supporting planners across the country with empathy as they deal with uncertainty in their own lives and their communities is part of this shared experience"—as well as information about other APA COVID-19 response efforts and "important reminders and guidance."

The "important reminders and guidance" that conclude the announcement read as follows:

  • Be aware of racism and xenophobia. With uncertainty comes fear and anxiety. When we're fearful, we're prone to making hasty decisions that cause harm. Anti-Asian/Chinese racism is on the rise globally as well as in biased media coverage and narratives. Please be vigilant about harmful and biased narratives regarding COVID-19.
  • How we discuss the situation matters. Using statements intended to comfort others — such as "only old and sick people need to worry" or "you're young and healthy, you're fine" — can have an unintended consequence of further marginalizing those who are most vulnerable. Please encourage everyone to prioritize the most marginalized by taking the issue seriously, ensuring equitable resource and supplies allocation.
  • Consider the impact of the situation on people who are caregivers to the elderly, infants, and/or immunocompromised individuals, who experts have determined are most prone to risk.
  • Mitigate dissemination of false information designed to spread fear and hysteria. Share only verified information by trusted sources to fight against misinformation.
  • Continue to exercise proper hand and cough hygiene, and stay home if you are feeling sick or are caring for a sick member of your household.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 in American Planning Association

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