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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Creating great communities for all

Advancing diversity in the planning profession

By Naphtali H. Knox, FAICP, editor, May 15, 2021

From the archives

While searching our Northern News archives on a separate assignment, I ran across an article from 14 years ago that remains relevant today.

The writer was Leonardo Vazquez, AICP. At the time, he was director of the Professional Development Institute at Rutgers University. Vazquez is the founding director of the longtime National Consortium for Creative Placemaking — which just sunset this spring — and director of Creative Placemaking at New England College. In 2012, he received APA’s National Leadership Award for Advancing Diversity and Social Justice in Honor of Paul Davidoff.

In “Understanding the challenges and benefits of diversity” (Northern News, July 2007), Vazquez distinguishes between diversity and integration, concluding with seven recommendations to planning managers for creating diversity in planning agencies and integrating diverse people into the planning ranks.

Until we published Vazquez’s article, Northern News barely covered diversity, reflecting what was occurring nationally. We announced in the December 2005 issue, page 6, that Northern Section would be holding a Latinos and Planning dialogue on February 4, 2006, to address the planning challenges and opportunities that arise in working with Latino communities.

A subsequent article, “What APA is doing about diversity,” by Michele Rodriguez, AICP, then the Northern Section’s Planning Diversity Ambassador, appeared in the April/May issue, 2006, page 4.

Northern News can do more to cover what our profession is and isn’t doing with respect to diversity, but only if you write the articles for us to publish. Send your articles to

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