Message from the new Division Chair, Rob Kerns

I have been passionate about sustainability for my entire planning career – in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and across the country with Wallace, Roberts and Todd, LLC. I consider it a privilege to be elected chairperson for our new Division.

My sense is that the Division needs to promote active engagement with sustainability issues. There is already significant knowledge and discussions occurring about sustainability. The Division should add value by promoting members’ leadership and expertise. My vision for our Division is to strategically direct efforts into three areas.

The first initiative is a communications campaign. Sustainability is too often misunderstood or dismissed by people because it is not well defined. This campaign would redefine sustainability in ways that better connect with public and private sector decision-makers.

The second initiative is to build a sustainability leadership network nationally and in APA state chapters. This network would grow a movement of planners across the country that advances sustainable solutions in their respective regions, and provide a national “toolkit”
of materials to leverage their efforts.

The third initiative I envision is a virtual training and best practices program. These online resources would be complemented with in-person sessions at national and state professional meetings. Developing a core curriculum with a handful of topics such as sustainable comprehensive planning, zoning, etc. is an important first step.

These are substantial actions for the new Division. Planners are in pivotal positions in their communities to understand sustainability issues. I believe it is vital for the Division to do its part to equip planners with strong communications and organizational support to help them succeed. Creating the Division was an important milestone. The Division’s resources will build as members own this opportunity and get involved. I look forward to working with all of you as we “raise the bar” for sustainable community planning.

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