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COVID-19 Resources for Planners

In at least four states (Illinois, Delaware, Ohio, and Massachusetts), state legislatures are updating open meeting laws to allow local governments to interact with the public virtually, and more are likely to come. 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 know this is a trying time for everyone — not just professionally, but also personally. Below you will find a growing list of resources and webcasts to help you as we all adjust to a different way of working, gathering, and communicating.


Planning and the Digital Divide

(March 20) Not all communities are equipped with the broadband infrastructure needed to support a shift to online community engagement, remote work, and digital-first public communications. "Equal Access Equals Opportunity" from Planning outlines steps planners can take to help bridge the digital divide and emphasizes the importance of broadband infrastructure for rural communities.

Public Meetings in the Time of COVID-19

(March 20) From ICMA, read about how one Seattle-area community has started moving critical community meetings online using Zoom Video Communications and YouTube. 

Rethinking One-Size-Fits-All Public Engagement

(March 20) In this episode of the People Behind the Plans podcast, host Courtney Kashima, AICP, catches up with Traci Sanders, director of civic impact for WXY Studio. Both share their thoughts on how certain urban planning spheres view public versus private backgrounds, the public dimension of design, and why the community engagement process should be tailored to each client.

Web-based Platform for Citizen Participation

(March 20) Lakewood, Colorado, increased participation in planning commission meetings through a web-based platform, Residents can review materials, ask questions, and comment on proposed actions in advance of the in-person meetings.

Online Tools for Public Engagement

(March 20) This PAS QuickNotes offers four recommendations to consider if you are looking to begin or expand your use of online community engagement tools.

What Coronavirus Recovery Could Look Like

(March 24) Urban resilience expert Michael Berkowitz shares ideas about how U.S. cities can come back stronger from the social and economic disruption of coronavirus.

Ohio Attorney General Response to Ohio's Open Meetings Act

(March 25) The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has received numerous questions regarding the applicability of Ohio’s Open Meetings Act (OMA) during this time of a COVID-19 declared emergency. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and responded with a letter outlining requirements and adjustments available.

2020 Census Adjustments Due to COVID-19

(March 26) The 2020 Census is underway and households across America are responding every day. In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. Census Bureau has adjusted 2020 Census operations in order to protect the health and safety of Census Bureau employees, implement guidance from health authorities, and ensure a complete and accurate count.

Ohio and Federal Relief Bill Summary

(March 26) Acting in a swift and bipartisan fashion, the Ohio General Assembly on March 25 passed a sweeping disaster response bill to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill addresses a number of issues individuals and families have been concerned with over the past two weeks. Ohio’s COVID-19 response comes at the same time that lawmakers in Washington have moved a step-closer to approving a massive $2 trillion stimulus bill that aims to support families and individuals across the country while at the same time stimulating the economy and aiding state and local governments response to the pandemic. Thanks to Greater Ohio Policy Center for compiling this summary.


Transportation & COVID-19 – Practices from other disease outbreaks

(Updated March 26) How can the transportation industry deal with and manage the COVID-19 outbreak? Transportation Research Board (TRB) is hosting a free webinar on March 23 from 2–3:30 p.m. (ET) that will identify a holistic approach transportation and health agencies may take to contain and manage the outbreak. View the recording.

COVID-19:  Preparing for what's next webinar

(Updated March 26) Join the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) on March 23 from 3–4:30 p.m. (ET) to learn the latest the impact COVID-19 is having on everything from small businesses to essential civil functions. The moderator will engage speakers on their past experiences in emerging from economic calamity; attendees will learn important information they can use to help their communities recover from the impact of COVID-19. View the recording.

ProAct Now: Planning Effectively in a Rapidly Changing World

(March 20) Join the Maryland Department of Planning and the Smart Growth Network on March 27 at 1:00 PM (ET) to discuss the implications of major social, technological, economic and environmental trends and share a new methodology designed to enable communities to prepare effectively. Climate change, artificial intelligence, changing demographics, workforce automation, increasing socioeconomic inequality…the list goes on. Change is accelerating at a rapid pace in today’s world, and the future of communities depends on our ability to respond and adapt to disruptive technologies and other emerging challenges. The need for this type of thinking has only been reinforced during the recent COVID-19 outbreak.

Helping Communities Manage the Impacts of COVID-19

(March 26) The American Independent Business Association, Wise Economy Workshop and the Austin Independent Business Association gave a webinar on March 19, 2020, identifying strategies and upcoming plans for helping communities manage the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on independent businesses and communities. This session was recorded and is available to view at the link above.

APA Legislative Briefing: Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act

(March 27) The Senate passed significant COVID-19 emergency response legislation yesterday that includes immediate support for local governments. Your outreach was a game changer – and essential for helping elected officials understand why local governments need fast, federal support. Our work does not stop here. Join APA Policy Director Jason Jordan for a rapid-fire briefing on the congressional response to the coronavirus and provisions in the bill that will better position you to help your community stabilize, respond, and recover from this crisis. To view this webinar, click the link above.

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