The American Planning Association’s professional institute — the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) — engages community members through the Community Planning Assistance Teams (CPAT) program. CPAT is a pro bono technical assistance program designed to engage residents, key stakeholders, and local officials to address a range of challenges that communities face. The program is rooted in community education, engagement, and empowerment.
The multidisciplinary teams are composed of four to five senior level experts who volunteer their time, experience, and skills to communities lacking the resources and capacities needed to address specific issues. APA encourages communities to contact CPAT program staff to discuss projects ahead of submitting proposals.
Key elements of CPAT work include engaging and learning about the community from the community; creating visual interpretations of concepts and ideas; identifying short and longer term visions; encouraging and empowering local champions; building partnerships in the community; and developing implementation strategies that measure progress. These elements have substantial parallels to the work of Plan4Health coalitions and others working at the intersection of planning and public health.
In Deerfield Beach, Florida, a CPAT project helped the city with a strategy to create a walkable, mixed use district through the creation of a new land use category. The CPAT brought skills in land use, economic development, market analysis, landscape architecture, and urban design.
The CPAT project in Florida is one of many examples of how the CPAT program relates to efforts in Plan4Health communities. Learn more about the CPAT work in Deerfield Beach, Florida, and other CPAT efforts to support communities.
The APA community also offers a host of other ways for AICP-certified planners to get involved, including learning opportunities and Certification Maintenance (CM) credit. There are three Plan4Health webinars eligible for CM credit — AARP Livability Index, Health Impact Assessments, and Landscape Performance. AICP members can search for these and other CM opportunities here.
Image from APA CPAT.