The American Planning Association was formed in October 1978 through the merger of the American Institute of Planners (AIP) and the American Society of Planning Officials (ASPO). The new organization was:

... organized exclusively for charitable, educational, literary and scientific purposes to advance the art and science of planning and the activity of planning — physical, economic, and social — at the local, regional, state and national levels.

At the same time, the merger created the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), which is responsible for the national certification of professional planners.

The AIP was originally incorporated in 1917 as the American City Planning Institute (renamed the American Institute of Planners in 1939), while the ASPO was incorporated in 1934. The origins of APA and the planning profession can be traced back to to 1909 and the first National Conference on City Planning in Washington, D.C. Since the merger, APA membership has grown from 13,000 to 38,000 members, of whom more than 16,500 are certified by AICP.


The mission of the APA is “creating great communities for all.”


APA advances planning through leadership in education, research, advocacy, and ethical practice.

For more information, visit the website of the American Planning Association

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