American Planning AssociationAuthor: American Planning Association
26 May 2019

American Planning Association

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Welcome to the American Planning Association Podcast. This is your source for discussions, interviews, and lectures on a multitude of planning topics.

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    People Behind the Plans: John Rahaim

    During NPC19 in San Francisco, host Courtney Kashima, AICP, sat down with John Rahaim, the city and county's planning director. On the table during their conversation are issues the city's grappling with now, from the housing crisis and homelessness to design review and short-term rentals. John divulges the route he took to his current position — he grew up in Detroit, got plugged in to planning in Pittsburgh, and eventually made a move to the West Coast. The two unpack the phenomenon of highly visible planning leaders, the growing pains San Francisco experienced in dealing with Airbnb, and the importance of the Citywide LGBTQ+ Cultural Heritage Strategy. Through concrete examples of actions the department has taken in its work, John underscores the need for planners to experiment with the programs and policies they develop.

  • Posted on 30 Apr 2019

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    People Behind the Plans: Jana Lynott, AICP

    How livable is your community? The AARP Livability Index sets out to tell residents just that, based on ratings in several categories: housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement, and opportunity. First launched in 2015, it was comprehensively updated in 2018. As senior strategic policy advisor with AARP Public Policy Institute’s Livable Communities team, Jana Lynott, AICP, was responsible for its development. She and host Courtney Kashima, AICP, talk about how the index is being used as a tool, but they also delve in to other areas of Jana's work, such as mobility as a service (MaaS), or universal mobility as a service. Most of the focus in transportation planning has been on how we move around cars, but universal mobility as a service looks at how we can best move around people. The two also discuss the language we use to talk about aging and why planners need to think about how the built environment affects people of all abilities.

  • Posted on 29 Mar 2019

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    People Behind the Plans: Sadhu Johnston

    The City of Vancouver, British Columbia, has a lot to brag about. City manager Sadhu Johnston knows that many of its successes are due to smart, collaborative planning, such as the work the city did to get car trips to the current rate of 45 percent of all trips, down from 90 percent in the 1970s. There’s the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, which Sadhu helped implement when he started in Vancouver; the plan seeks to set Vancouver apart as a global leader in sustainability efforts. It aims to reduce carbon emissions, add green jobs, and reverse urban tree canopy loss, among many other items.

    But the city is also grappling with serious issues, such as the housing and opioid crises. Sadhu tells host Courtney Kashima, AICP, that the current average home price in Vancouver stands at $1.5 million. But the city council is taking action. Among the ground-breaking solutions they've implemented to stem the tide of rising housing costs are building modular housing — which take only three months to erect — and implementing an empty homes tax.

    Courtney and Sadhu also discuss his time in Chicago, where he worked on the Chicago Climate Action Plan and helmed the Department of Environment, and before that, his time in Cleveland, where he worked with the Cleveland Green Building Coalition.


  • Posted on 21 Mar 2019

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    Resilience Roundtable: Pete Parkinson, AICP

    Pete Parkinson’s planning career has spanned not only decades but also various California counties. As a result, he’s familiar with a wide range of hazards. In the fourth episode of the APA Podcast series Resilience Roundtable, he and host Rich Roths, AICP, discuss many of them, including earthquakes, floods, landslides, and wildfires. Pete unfortunately has a very personal experience dealing with the latter, as he and his family lost their home in October 2017 when multiple fires tore through Sonoma County, as well as Lake, Napa, Mendocino, and Solano counties. His story focuses on the Tubbs Fire, which began in Calistoga but spread into Santa Rosa, even jumping Highway 101 in the process. It destroyed the Coffey Park neighborhood and ultimately the Santa Rosa mobile home park where Pete's mother-in-law lived. (The Tubbs Fire is now the second-most destructive fire in California history after the November 2018 Camp Fire, which caused 85 deaths and destroyed 18,804 structures in Butte County.) Pete is now working as a consultant on the new multifamily development at the site of the former mobile home park. The veteran planner ends his heartrending account by sharing the life-saving lessons he learned during and after the experience.

  • Posted on 09 Mar 2019

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    People Behind the Plans: Trevor Dick, AICP

    Trevor Dick, AICP, hates dry planning events. That means whenever he's involved in a National Planning Conference session — like the always popular Fast, Funny, and Passionate series — or an APA Illinois Chapter conference event, he makes things fun by using some ... unexpected tactics. Trevor and host Courtney Kashima, AICP, bring the same kind of lively spirit to this episode of People Behind the Plans. Not only does Trevor divulge some of his off-the-wall presentation antics, he also reveals his favorite planning references in pop culture and regales Courtney with stories of public meetings gone awry.

    The two switch gears to discuss the exciting developments underway in Aurora, Illinois, where Trevor is Director of Development Strategy and Facilitation. Currently one of the city's big projects is revitalizing the Fox Valley Mall, which sits squarely within the Route 59 commercial corridor, the second biggest retail hub in the state after Chicago's Michigan Avenue. Trevor also talks about the city's plan to create a downtown International Marketplace District and how it will serve as an inclusive space for all residents. He goes on to praise the diversity of the city's workforce, as well as his staff's efforts to ensure that every resident's voice is heard as they work to make positive change in the city.


  • Posted on 25 Feb 2019

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