Planning Academy


The Planning Academy is focused on providing professional development opportunities to professional planners, but is open to all residents and is typically attended by engaged community members, government officials, real estate and urban design professionals, and city and county planning commissioners.

The Planning Academy is designed to provide an overview of local government, how it is financed, and the impact of State and Federal laws, environmental policy, and planning issues facing the host County and its cities today. The program typically includes several meetings to help participants become more informed, confident and comfortable in participating in local land use planning decisions. In a mix of lecture, panel discussion and group interaction, Planning Academy topics cover a range of planning issues such as zoning history and legal context; environmental review laws and procedures; natural resource management; redevelopment, government and real estate economics; regional government; transportation and infrastructure; urban design; water and utility planning and constraints, affordable housing, ethics and civic engagement. Each evening will cover a different topic.


The APA Central Coast Planning Academy provides an engaging opportunity for citizens to learn about community planning, public involvement, governmental organization, and other related land use and environmental issues. Planning Academy speakers are knowledgeable planners and expert practitioners.

2021 Planning Academy

February 2021, the Central Coast Section brought back another popular Planning Academy series. The 2021 Planning Academy was organized as an 8-week virtual course conducted as a series of 1.5 to 2 hour sessions. It  was geared toward professional planners, both veterans and early career, but had much to offer planning commissioners, community advocates, development professionals, academics, and others. The series also offered CM credits for participants interested in maintaining their AICP certification.The Planning Academy is hosted by APA Central Coast and highlights emerging and core topical areas in the planning profession such as environmental justice, affordable housing, climate action planning and adaptation, public space planning, emerging technology, and transportation planning.

Dates and Times: The series were hosted weekly on Wednesday evenings beginning at 5:30 p.m. The course’s first weekly session started on February 17, 2021.

Content and Session Descriptions: The 2021 Planning Academy was offered as a series of eight sessions with the common theme of social equity, environmental justice, and California-based planning. The academy featured speakers that are leading the industry in the respective topics. For the 2021 Planning Academy, APA Central Coast hosted these meetings on a digital platform. See syllabus for details.



  • Session 1. State Law –  Application to Project Programs and Approval [Session 1 Recording]
  • Session 2. Spaces for All – Designing for Various User Groups [No Recording Available]
  • Session 3. Transportation [Session 3 Recording]
  • Session 4. Social Equity – Planning For All [No Recording Available]
  • Session 5. California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) [Session 5 Recording]
  • Session 6. Housing – Implementing Fair Housing Laws and Utilizing Regional Partners [Session 6 Recording]
  • Session 7. Climate Action Planning – Getting the Biggest GHG Reduction for Our Buck [Session 7 Recording]
  • Session 8. Tech in Planning [Session 8 Recording]