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COVID-19 Resources for Planners

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 in the communities you serve.

If you have a resource not listed below, please email to have it added.

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September 10

Confronting COVID-19: Creative Placemaking in the Time of Protests and the Pandemic

The importance of creative placemaking—the process of intentionally integrating arts, culture, and community-engaged design into comprehensive community development—and the role that artists play in that process have been elevated by both the COVID-19 pandemic and social justice protests in the United States, as people seek places to socialize and connect with others outside their homes, according to participants in a recent ULI webinar.

July 20

Low Contact Community Engagement

Critical planning, design, and development projects need to move forward, even under difficult circumstances. How can we create opportunities for people to weigh in on projects that affect their neighborhoods, while maintaining a safe distance and reducing the risk of illness? A new publication written in conjunction with Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative and Bike Cleveland, Guidelines for Low Contact Community Engagement, collects ideas and best practices that can be used now and as conditions begin to return to normal.

July 7

YARD & Company COVID-19 Resource Library

Like you, we are being inundated with a flurry of new information about COVID 19 daily, including articles about how this might change our cities and posts about creative public realm interventions. As a way of storing and cataloging all of this information we are using our public Resource Library as a place to store ideas, information and future ideas for city building, district management and more.

July 2

Philadelphia Nonprofit Designs Innovative Solutions to Social Distancing

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Community Design Collaborative - a volunteer group of architects and designers - have identified some simple design solutions that reinvent how people move through and experience public spaces during the pandemic - everything from wayfinding to public art, smart seating and use of color. 

June 18

Using Signs and Graphics to Change Behavior During a Pandemic

As the country reopens, businesses and organizations have been diligently following the new processes and protocols to keep people at a safe social distance in their spaces. But this proves difficult to do because it's not simply about managing traffic flow; it's also a matter of changing behaviors. As visual communicators and wayfinding consultants, we've been observing the tools, graphics and signage that places are using and have identified a few common mistakes that put both patrons and employees at risk, interrupt the desired experience.

Supporting Small Businesses as Communities Re-Open

Main Street America shares survey results on how small businesses are impacted by COVID-19 and tips on how to take advantage of local resources as communities re-open their doors. The results are in.

June 16

Pop-Up Patio Guidebook

The City of Dayton’s Pop-Up Patio Pilot Application Guidebook will lead applicants through the application process for authorization to install a temporary patio, parklet, or pedlet both within the public right-of-way or on private property. This guidebook provides an overview of the program, regulations, process, procedures, terms and conditions, and design best practices for expanding or creating temporary outdoor seating areas. Business owners, property owners, and other potential applicants are encouraged to read this guidebook in advance of submitting an application. 

Akron Program Aims to Curb Possible 'Avalanche' of Evictions

With so many Northeast Ohioans losing their jobs, there's growing concern about people losing their homes. However, a new pilot program between East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation and Community Legal Aid is aiming to curb as many evictions as possible.

Rebuilding America: Coronavirus and Changes in Transportation Industry

As commuters gear up to head back into work, the industry is making adjustments in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

May 21

Rethinking Sidewalks and Streets in the Midst of COVID-19

As the country begins to reopen, one can't help but notice that the world we knew pre-pandemic looks and feels quite a bit different now. The National League of Cities explores the future of sidewalks, streets, and paths in an era of social distancing.

As Mobility Patterns Change, Cities Shift Gears

Cities around the world are reclaiming streets for bicyclists and pedestrians as demand surges during the pandemic. But will it last?

May 12

7 Ways to Respond to Regulation Rollbacks

How can planners offer sound, ethical strategies when the pandemic puts pressure on officials to ease or roll back regulations? Benjamin Hitchings, FAICP, offers seven suggestions to consider.

May 5

Slow Streets

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing many aspects of how we live, move about our cities and get essential physical activity. The City of Oakland CA has launched Oakland Slow Streets to support this new way of life. The City of Oakland Slow Streets Program is intended to support safe physical activity by creating more space for physical distancing for all Oaklanders by declaring that all Slow Streets with and without soft closure barriers are Closed to Through Traffic so that people can more comfortably use these low-traffic streets for physically distant walking, wheelchair rolling, jogging, and biking all across the City.

May 4

COVID-19 and the New Abnormal

Richey Piiparinen is director of The Center for Urban Theory and Analytics at Cleveland State University and principal at Rust Belt Analytica. He writes about the future of growth as seen through the lens of COVID-19. COVID-19 didn't create the urgencies we face as much as reveal them. The physical and mental well-being of Americans have been declining for some time. This is related to how various economic restructurings has been good for some, and less good for most.

April 30

APA National COVID-19 Resources
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having a significant impact on communities, and planners are on the front lines of response and recovery. APA is committed to providing resources, information, and tools to address your immediate needs and help you prepare for what is to come. Learn more about how we are using the practice of foresight to "learn with the future," prepare for uncertainty, and help planners navigate this disruptive change. Turn to APA for trusted, timely and useful resources, updated frequently.

April 17

Mapping Local Responses to COVID-19
Across the country, communities and people are adapting to life amidst COVID-19. The National Complete Streets Coalition is committed to advancing transportation systems that provide safe access for all users of all ages and abilities. We wanted to share and uplift strategies communities are using to respond to the unique circumstances brought on by this pandemic.The following map tracks community responses related to Compete Streets and complete communities. Each action is sorted into one of eight categories such as open streets, curbside management and community engagement.

Closed Cities Should Open Streets
Some cities around the country are responding to COVID-19 by opening up more street space for people as traffic has dwindled and more space is needed for people to safely be outside. But could these temporary changes lead to more public space for people even after the immediate threat has subsided? Possibly, but only if cities start acting to realize that future now.

April 16

Greater Ohio Policy Center COVID-19 Relief Programs in Ohio
GOPC is part of a number of statewide and national networks that are sharing information and resources that can help communities manage through the COVID-19 crisis. Click the link above for a page of useful resources that will be continuously updated as more information becomes available.

April 6

Farmers Markets Respond to COVID-19
As concerns about the spread of COVID-19 grow, farmers market operators are wondering how best to respond. Markets are grappling with their role as public gatherings that are vital to food access for consumers and the livelihoods of farmers. Farmers Market Coalition will be regularly updating this page with news announcements and updates as the situation continues to unfold. Visit our compiled Best Practices, Examples, and Resources page for tips for your market operations by clicking the link above.

COVID-19 Resources for Parks
The National Recreation and Park Association has compiled a list of resources ranging from operations, programming, park facility and playground, aquatics, engagement and more. Click the link above to view all these resources.

April 3

How to Rescue Main Street From Coronavirus Before It's Too Late
A tidal wave of insolvency is about to crash on the American small business community, and Congress is running out of time to stop it. The Economic Innovation Group and Upwork propose solutions.

April 2

Smart Growth America's Infrastructure and Community Development Recommendations
Smart Growth America has released a package of infrastructure and community development recommendations to inform additional short-term emergency measures and longer-term economic recovery efforts—with an eye toward bringing benefits to the most people in an equitable way.

March 26

2020 Census Adjustments Due to COVID-19
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
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.

March 25

Ohio Attorney General Response to Ohio's Open Meetings Act
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.

March 24

What Coronavirus Recovery Could Look Like
Urban resilience expert Michael Berkowitz shares ideas about how U.S. cities can come back stronger from the social and economic disruption of coronavirus.

March 20

Planning and the Digital Divide
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
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
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
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
This PAS QuickNotes offers four recommendations to consider if you are looking to begin or expand your use of online community engagement tools.



August 20

Helping Communities Manage COVID-19: Learning from Age-Friendly Approaches

The Coronavirus pandemic has upended communities and highlighted differences in access to health, secure housing, and transportation by age, income, and race. Older adults have been particularly hard-hit, particularly people who were already at risk of isolation and food insecurity. Join the Maryland Department of Planning and the Smart Growth Network at 1:00 PM ET, Thursday, August 27, when Danielle Arigoni, Director of Livable Communities at AARP and Lindsey Wallace of the National Main Street Center examine how communities can use an “age-friendly” lens to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and deploy strategies to help them recover from the pandemic. This will be the third offering of Planning With Purpose: A Smart Growth Network Webinar Series on Community Revitalization, hosted by the Maryland Department of Planning in coordination with the Smart Growth Network. Participants of the live webinar are eligible for 1.5 AICP CM credits. To register for this webcast, click the link above.

August 6

COVID-19 and the Future of Planning

(Updated) The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted how we live, work, play, and move around our communities.  It also has changed how planners think about and prepare for the future, while navigating the impacts of social inequity. Join the Maryland Department of Planning and the Smart Growth Network at 1 p.m. Eastern, Thursday, Aug. 13, as Petra Hurtado and Jo Peña of the American Planning Association explain how APA is using its “foresight-first approach” in times of COVID-19, what the biggest pain points and potential solutions are, and what current developments may mean for the future of the planning profession. This will be the second offering of Planning With Purpose: A Smart Growth Network Webinar Series on Community Revitalization, hosted by the Maryland Department of Planning in coordination with the Smart Growth Network. To view a recording of this webinar, click the link above.

July 28

Pedaling Through Pandemic: How (E-)Cycling Can Keep Post-COVID Cities Moving

In a short time, the coronavirus crisis has forced communities worldwide to reevaluate their mobility networks, especially as public transportation faces reduced capacity for the foreseeable future. Enter the bicycle, which—in combination with an electric pedal assist—is filling a portion of the gap. The Maryland Department of Planning and the Smart Growth Network held this webinar on July 16, 2020. Melissa Bruntlett and Chris Bruntlett, authors of Building the Cycling City: The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality, discussed how cities across the globe are adapting their streets to this new reality and are working to ensure this ‘bike boom’ sticks long-term. To view a recording of this webinar, click the link above.

July 7

COVID-19's Impact on Zoning & Regulations

Planning commissions and zoning hearings have shifted virtual during the COVID-19 pandemic due to spatial distancing concerns. While this has some positive repercussions it also creates an imbalance of participation, particularly among those without access to the internet and related technology. Whether or not this trend continues it will be critical to diversify the voices and faces in power positions among these commissions, while also ensuring that conversations around change go beyond the meeting and become personal interactions out in the communities where the changes are being proposed. To view a recording of this webinar, click the link above.

City Planning, Development and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has completely reshaped both what we can do and what we should do when it comes to building our cities, neighborhoods and districts. This realization has forced us and enabled us to hit pause on short-term and long-term projects, community engagement efforts and regulatory processes. After over three months of a pandemic City leaders like Rebekah are realizing that hitting pause is ok and that investing smartly in place, removing red tape strategically and re-thinking short and medium-term investment is necessary. To view a recording of this webinar, click the link above.

How the Coronavirus Recovery Is Changing Cities

As cities emerge from coronavirus lockdowns, the way people use parks, stores, restaurants, transit, streets and homes is changing in ways both subtle and dramatic. To view a recording of this webinar, click the link above.

June 18

Permitting in Times of Crisis

COVID-19 continues to have a tremendous impact on jurisdictions, businesses and the communities they serve. Now more than ever, the importance of effective online permitting is heightened. ISA is pleased to offer a complimentary webinar on permitting, where you will learn how several jurisdictions have effectively navigated permitting during these challenging times, including software they utilized and lessons learned. To view a recording of this webinar, click the link above.

June 17

Urban Planning in a COVID-19 World

(Updated) Join the Planning Webcast Series on Friday, July 24 at 1:00 PM ET. This webinar will look at some of the ways that Covid-19 has and will change the world and profession of urban planning. This webinar is not intended as the end all, be all of the discussion, but a beginning. The speakers will share their experiences and thoughts on the subjects of transportation, public education and public engagement. 1.5 CM credits are available. To view a recording of this webinar, click the link above.

June 16

Signs of Disaster: The Role of Visual Communications Pre, During and Post-Disaster

(Updated) Join the International Sign Foundation on June 30 at 2:00 PM ET for a panel discussion. Attendees will learn the roles that signs play in crisis responses to natural disasters and pandemics, including challenges to community and business recovery. A recent, real-life scenario in Harris County TX will be discussed. Attendees will also learn how local leaders can use visual communications for wayfinding and transportation solutions in disaster response and recovery. To view a recording of this webinar, click the link above.

June 4

Planning for Recovery 101
Join the Greater Ohio Policy Center (GOPC) and City Managers from the Cities of Hamilton and Sandusky on June 17 at 12:00 PM ET for a presentation and discussion on how to plan for recovering from the impacts of COVID-19. Local governments will need to prepare early for how they will move forward; planning for the future will, more than ever, be essential to a community’s success. To view a recording of this webinar, click the link above.

Effective Use of State & Federal Funding 101
(Updated) Join the Greater Ohio Policy Center (GOPC) and Enterprise Community Partners on June 30 at 2:00 PM ET for a presentation and discussion regarding strategizing to receive State- and Federal-pass through money and how to effectively use those resources in the short-term to advance long-term community goals. To view a recording of this webinar, click the link above.

May 19

COVID-Safe Streets Boston
Catered to Boston, it is applicable to your city too. In the talk, Jeff Speck highlights the work of his colleagues Mike Lydon and Tony Garcia of Street Plans, the godfathers of Tactical Urbanism. (Mike and Jeff wrote The Smart Growth Manual together with Andres Duany.) Street Plans has been quick off the mark, working with cities and sharing best practices. To view a recording of this webinar, click the link above.

May 14

Parks are an Essential Business
COVID-19 has brought greater clarity to what is “essential” in our daily existence. In the era of social distancing and sheltering in place, we are all discovering what many of us already knew—that parks and trails are an essential business. More than ever our communities are relying on these critical green resources as means of transportation, to get needed fresh air and exercise, and as a mechanism for aiding mental health. Join APA Central Ohio on June 11 from 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM as they highlight local, regional and national examples of how communities are addressing both short-term and long-term challenges. We will then showcase current initiatives in Columbus that, if properly coordinated and implemented, can ensure that Central Ohio provides equitable social access to parks and trails for all of its citizens. To view a recording of this webinar, click the link above.

May 1

Planning during a Pandemic: Moving to Virtual Public Meetings
(Updated) As state departments of health issue orders addressing “mass gatherings,” the need for social distancing has forced communities to hold virtual public meetings – many for the first time. Planners are focusing on new approaches to community engagement and public meetings with new technologies. But what are the requirements to meet state laws? What’s working for Cincinnati-area communities? What’s not working? Join APA Cincinnati on Friday, May 8 from 10:00 - 11:00 AM ET for a brief presentation by Scott Phillips, Practice Group Leader of Frost Brown Todd, to review the legal requirements for virtual public meetings and dos and don’ts. A panel of local planners will then share their initial experiences with virtual public meetings, good and bad, as well as lessons learned. To view a recording of this webinar, click the link above.

April 17

Complete Streets Response to COVID-19
(Updated) Cities around the world are trying to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, this often includes allowing residents to travel and recreate while maintaining physical distancing. Some cities are taking advantage of temporary but steep reductions in car traffic to reserve select streets for pedestrians and cyclists. Join Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition on Monday, April 27 at 1:30 PM ET to learn what goes into closing streets to cars during a pandemic, and what the benefits are. To view a recording of this webinar, click the link above.

April 15

The Front of the Line is Not Inclusive: Why We Need a Better Way to Save Our Small Businesses
(Updated) Government programs to save small business are rolling out weekly. They are a big and blunt instrument that is slow moving and wide. But they are not reaching the targeted needs of the small businesses in our communities. And they are not being deployed in a way to ensure inclusive access to save our small businesses. Join Smarth Growth Online and Ilana Preuss, founder and CEO of Recast Cityon on Tuesday, April 21 at 1:00 PM ET. Preuss will lead a discussion on concrete steps we can take to ensure inclusive access for small businesses, a framework that can help us look at this issue, programs already being adopted by local governments that are targeted to under-represented populations in business owners, and models from non-profits, CDFIs, major corporations, and philanthropy to ensure an inclusive recovery from this economic crisis. Participants of the live webinar are eligible for 1.5 AICP CM credits. To view a recording of this webinar, click the link above.

April 6

Temporary Sign Regulations in Times of Crisis
(Updated) As COVID-19 continues to have a tremendous impact on small businesses and the communities they serve, you may be wondering how you can support them during this time. Many jurisdictions have recognized the importance of temporary signage in supporting essential businesses and thus have suspended temporary sign regulations. Join ISA on April 10 at 2PM ET to hear from a panel of experts from jurisdictions as they discuss the steps they've taken in their communities to be a part of the relief efforts by suspending temporary sign restrictions. To view a recording of this webinar, click the link above.

The 411 on the CARES Act Support for Small Businesses and Nonprofits
(Updated) One of the landmark provisions of the CARES Act, the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package signed into law last week, is a new loan program that is designed to ensure small businesses can continue paying employees during this unprecedented economic disruption. Another provision expands eligibility for the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Join Next City senior economics correspondent Oscar Perry Abello for a flash webinar April 3 at 1pm ET. Abello will answer questions from audience members about the new loan programs. To view a recording of this webinar, click the link above.

When "Stay at Home" Isn't an Option: Homelessness and Public Space During COVID-19
(Updated) Project for Public Spaces speaks with partners in Atlanta - one of the U.S. cities hit hardest by COVID-19 -- on how life with a stay-at-home order can quickly become extremely complicated for those without one. Some of the questions that will be considered: How can public space managers and designers help to address needs as they relate to public spaces / outdoor spaces? How can those managing and caring for these spaces be considerate and helpful? To view a recording of this webinar, click the link above.

April 2

ProAct Now: Planning Effectively in a Rapidly Changing World
(Updated) 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. This session was recorded and is available to view at the link above.

Smart Growth America's Infrastructure and Community Development Recommendations
(Updated) Join Smart Growth America for a webinar on Wednesday, April 15 at 1pm ET where they'll walk through recommendations for supporting the nation through a recovery plan. This session was recorded and is available to view at the link above.

March 27

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

March 26

Transportation & COVID-19 – Practices from other disease outbreaks
(Updated) 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) 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.

Helping Communities Manage the Impacts of COVID-19
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.


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