APA National Resources: Planning Advisory Service Quick Notes 2024

APA National’s Knowledge Center's Quick Notes (QN) briefing papers are developed by APA National’s Planning Advisory Service (PAS). The PAS is APA National’s research brand that has developed curated content and research on planning issues since 1949. PAS’ QN publications provide concise overviews of planning issues and fundamentals to public officials (i.e. elected officials) and engaged citizenry (i.e. members of neighborhood associations). Provision of these briefs to these individuals can enhance the quality of civic engagement and dialogue which can result in more effective outcomes in the plans and policies planners craft.

New PAS QN briefs of interest to chapter members include:

  • Asset-Based Community Development. Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) is an approach that uses the existing resources of a community to support its development. Rather than focusing on challenges or resources that are lacking, ABCD seeks to identify often unrecognized assets produced by local individuals, associations, and institutions, and then works to build on those assets to sustain a community and support its growth. This PAS QuickNotes highlights how planners can use ABCD to inform solution-oriented and conscious practices in all aspects of the planning process and advance equitable and restorative planning.
  • Mobility as a Service. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is a new approach to urban transportation that transforms mobility by providing users access to a wide range of transportation options, making personal vehicle usage less necessary. It involves creating an integrated digital platform that combines different transportation choices to maximize convenience for users. For optimal effectiveness, MaaS works best when supported by a robust public transit network, safe infrastructure for walking and biking, and other travel options such as car sharing. This PAS QuickNotes explains how MaaS can combine integrated digital platforms, supportive policy frameworks, and sustainable, equitable transportation solutions to create more cohesive, efficient, and eco-friendly mobility systems that can help achieve broader urban development and sustainability goals.
  • Design Thinking. Design has enabled us to adapt to new conditions and innovate in the face of changing needs. But design has traditionally focused on the function and appearance of products and physical environments, while largely ignoring the creation and delivery of services. This disparity has led to a lot of badly designed systems, processes, and policies, resulting in unnecessary dysfunctions and ugly consequences. Design thinking has emerged in recent years as a way to bring more creative, “right brain” insights into linear, “left brain” processes. Through design thinking, we can improve these services. For the planning profession, design thinking also represents a creative, humanities-based approach to the physical environment, complementing more data-driven, social-science approaches. This PAS QuickNotes defines design thinking and suggests how planners can use this agile, five-step process to help improve systems, processes, and policies in their communities.

Hawaii Chapter members, PAS is actively looking for authorities in our profession to contribute to the QN series. Sharing your expertise can provide a positive contribution to our profession and community. If you’re interested, the PAS has outlined guidelines for contributors. Potential contributors are encouraged to provide a brief on topics that haven’t already been covered. Please consult PAS’ QN archive for a list of these topics.