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Thread: The "What's good about the APA?" thread

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    The "What's good about the APA?" thread

    APA-bashing is a favorite pasttime of many Cyburbians. Still, we continue to pay or dues, attend conferences, read Planning magazine, and take advantage of their other services. It can't be all bad, can it?

    What do you think is good about the APA? In my opinion:

    National conferences. Not just the fantastic venues, receptions, parties, and organization, but also the mobile workshops, presentations and seminars. For a niche profession like urban planning, the APA puts on one hell of a show. The cost to attend is rising, but I think it's well worth it, especially for planners working in less progressive regions, and newbie planners that haven't had much exposure to planning practice outside of their backyard.

    Membership services. Never had a problem with them. Okay, one problem, but I forgot what it was, and they seemed to work hard on their end to resolve it.

    Planners Press. Really high-quality publications, written in plain English. Sure, the books tend to be a bit pricey, but considering the small press runs, its understandable. The Small Town Planning Handbook will never be a bestseller like The DaVinci Code, so you can expect that it's going to cost a bit more.

    PAS Reports. Again, expensive, but very well written, and relevant to day-to-day planning practice.

    Zoning Practice. Not as expensive as PAS Reports, but still quite relevant to planners in the field.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    I would add the local conferences as well. I attended the Rocky Mountain Land Use Conference last week and it was exceptional. APA was a sponsor of the event I believe.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    Good: As a Canadian planner, I won't need membership. *smirk*

    Though we've the CIP to deal with...

    I've read many of the PAS reports and other, larger publications and for the most part they are of excellent quality (though dry).
    Last edited by abrowne; 14 Mar 2006 at 2:12 PM.

  4. #4
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Though it varies widely, some Chapters are very good (All of the New England chapters [NNECAPA, MA, CT, & RI] I have direct experience with, and are excellent), providing local member services, great conferences, and legislative advocacy.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Ditto to everything Dan has said. I can claim to know at least one planner in some of the major cities because of my attendance (and networking) at the national conferences in the past.

    Also, I do like the fact that in recent years APA has become more visible and vocal on issues that affect the profession such as legislation, national disasters (I'm really impressed with their coverage of Katrina), etc.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  6. #6
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planderella

    Also, I do like the fact that in recent years APA has become more visible and vocal on issues that affect the profession such as legislation, national disasters (I'm really impressed with their coverage of Katrina), etc.
    OT: Did you know that Paul Farmer, the Executive Director, is a native of Shreveport, LA? we got to meet him at the LA-APA conference in Shreveport last Fall. from conversation seems like a nice guy.
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    PAS Reports. Again, expensive, but very well written, and relevant to day-to-day planning practice.

    Zoning Practice. Not as expensive as PAS Reports, but still quite relevant to planners in the field.
    Furthermore, they (the reports) give a lay person (council, commissioners, volunteers, neighborhood activists) the security of legitimacy. I can spout off planning theory till I'm blue in the face, give examples of how various communities have handled similar issues, etc, etc. Once I can reference a published document like a PAS report, my "theories" become legitimate.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  8. #8
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    I pissed off most of the Oregon planners with my AICP oath rant... Everyone except Otis and Plankton. (Plankton is still mad about me beating him in the CFFL Bowl, tho...)

    So I don't attend much of their stuff, but the APA in SF was great!

    Also, I run Public Works, so I can go to all kinds of schools and seminars...
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  9. #9
    Cyburbian TOFB's avatar
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    OK, I am a big supporter of APA. Paul Farmer is the best ED they have had since inception, the national conferences are increasing in attendance and quality every year, they are more in tune, etc. I am or have been active at many state, division, and national levels and like so many 'membership' organizations, it is is good as the membership makes it. Yes, the staff is its own little bueaucracy, but they are doing the best they can. I have spend countless hours in the Chi offices (conference planning committee 1992/2002) and they are good people.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I like how my AICP pin impresses chicks.
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  11. #11
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner
    I like how my AICP pin impresses chicks.
    I've sorta misplaced mine. That doesn't seem to bother ZG. Go figure.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Don't forget your State Chapter Pin.
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    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
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  13. #13
    Cyburbian plankton's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mastiff
    I pissed off most of the Oregon planners with my AICP oath rant... Everyone except Otis and Plankton. (Plankton is still mad about me beating him in the CFFL Bowl, tho...)
    lol

    APWA ain't got nuthin' on AICP, oak-boy!!

    I really enjoy the APA. Good website for keeping tabs on jobs, news, events.

    The OR/WA APA Chapters provide good classes on legal issues, takings, etc..

    I look forward to doing more with the APA in the coming years.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA
    Don't forget your State Chapter Pin.

    Huh a state chapter pin?? I've been getting rooked!
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  15. #15
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    I just cancelled my Planning Advisory Service subscription. Formerly succinct monologs on practical issues, they have turned 200+ page text books.

    No KS chapter pins, no chapter either.

  16. #16
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by plankton
    lol

    APWA ain't got nuthin' on AICP, oak-boy!!
    APWA... AWWA... OAWU... NWPMA... There are so many PW groups I can't even name all of them. So, not only do I have a nice sized travel and training budget, I get to pick some really nice spots to go take classes!
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  17. #17
    Cyburbian TOFB's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee
    I just cancelled my Planning Advisory Service subscription. Formerly succinct monologs on practical issues, they have turned 200+ page text books.

    No KS chapter pins, no chapter either.

    The internet has made PAS obsolete. APA should drop it.

  18. #18
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TOFB
    The internet has made PAS obsolete. APA should drop it.
    Not entirely. There's still a lot of the old guard out there who use the Internet for email and mailing lists, but that's about it. Even planners that use the Web might not have good Google-fu skills. You can get a lot of raw data online, but the PAS compiles it into easy-to-digest bites. It would be nice to get a subscription to the Memo without the full PAS service (redundant, I know), though.

  19. #19
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Well, apparently APA finally listened to El Guapo & Co. about the Kansas Chapter, so I figure that's something good about them!

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  20. #20
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    National Conferences, I think that much of the information in Planning is good but limited, and I have ordered quite a few books from the book services at a discount.

    Since getting involved with my State Chapter, I found that in the past few years, they have been doing a lot more. Several bills are in the state legislature, state conferences are short but impressive, good information in the monthly publications and the scholarship committee that I am on give out thousands of dollars to students in planning programs at Michigan colleges and universities.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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