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Planning resources for underserved communities

by the South Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association

The South Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association has developed a community planning assistance program modeled after the American Planning Association's national program. 

The new program provides a multidisciplinary team of planning professionals from across South Carolina to assist communities with limited access to planning resources and expertise.

The Community Planning Assistance Teams work with community leaders, elected officials and stakeholders to address local planning issues. Such challenges may include economic development, housing, transportation, energy, recreation and environmental.  

Hartsville CPAT program
Hartsville residents and planners participate in a 2014 national CPAT program
to develop a neighborhood revitalization strategy for South Hartsville.

Team members, selected for specific expertise needed on a project, offer pro bono assistance to develop a planning approach that fosters sustainable, economically vibrant, healthy, resilient and livable communities. They offer expertise in urban design, economic development, transportation, consensus building, historic preservation, downtown revitalization, land use, parks and open space, and implementation strategies.

Through the CPAT program, SCAPA offers a unique opportunity for planners to work with residents to address community issues. The program also meets ethical principles of the planning profession, such as contributing "time and efforts to groups lacking in adequate planning resources." 

As the leading organization and resource for planning activities in South Carolina, SCAPA has an active membership of nearly 500 individuals. The diverse membership consists of professional planners (public, private and academic), elected and appointed officials, building officials, neighborhood group leaders, urban designers, economists and students.

SCAPA is accepting CPAT program applications through June 1, 2015, from all levels of local government, nonprofit organizations, neighborhood associations and other community groups.