In Memoriam: Majorie Macris, FAICP

By Andrew Trippel, AICP, Communications Director, January 6, 2024

Photo of Marjorie Macris of the Sierra Club Marin Group raises concerns about wildlife during a Marin County Planning Commission hearing on a playground project at Strawberry Point School in 2007.

Marjorie (Marge) Macris (1935-2023), a trailblazing Bay Area planner and mentor to many, passed on October 16, 2023. She was 88. The APA California Chapter honored Macris’ passing, noting that her

“support and guidance during challenging times left an indelible mark on those she mentored. Her induction into FAICP in 2020, alongside other remarkable women, highlighted her dedication to planning and environmental causes. Marge’s legacy as a member of the California Planning Roundtable will never be forgotten and will be remembered with gratitude. She will be greatly missed, but her legacy shall live on.”

Marjorie Macris of the Sierra Club Marin Group raises concerns about wildlife during

a Marin County Planning Commission hearing on a playground project at Strawberry Point School in 2007.

Photo credit: Frankie Frost/Marin Independent Journal

In 2006, Northern Section Director Darcy Kremin, AICP, nominated Macris for a 2009 Planner Emeritus Network (PEN) Honor Award, which she received. Below, we share text from Macris’ nomination as our thank you for her leadership and commitment to the Planning profession and as inspiration for us to honor her legacy through our work.

Marjorie W. Macris, FAICP, received both her BS and MS in Journalism and Planning from the University of Illinois. As a professional city planner since the late 1950s, she worked with city and county planning organizations in a variety of diverse political settings. She held the position of Marin County’s Planning Director from 1978-1984 and was responsible for the preparation and revision of the Marin Countywide Plan, a document that helped establish the county’s growth patterns for three decades. As a pioneer in environmental planning and inter-jurisdictional planning, she was responsible for coastal plan implementation and community planning in Marin County. She also held the position of City of Berkeley’s Planning Director from 1987-1989 and was Interim Planning Director for various California cities such as Emeryville, San Anselmo, Alameda, Belmont, El Cerrito, and Half Moon Bay. Ms. Macris was inducted as a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners in 2000.

As a consulting professional planner, Macris co-authored the City of Novato General Plan in 1996 and taught planning at the University of California (UC), Berkeley. She was an environmental representative for the Marin County Transportation Steering Committee, the Marin County St. Vincent’s/Silveira Task Force, and she served as chairwoman of the Campaign for Marin, which is a coalition of local environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, Marin Audubon Society, Marin Conservation League, Tomales Bay Association, Marin Baylands Advocates, Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN), Environmental Action Committee of West Marin, and Citizen Advocates for Preservation of St. Vincent’s/Silveira.

Ms. Macris authored several planning books, papers, and articles, including The Planning Commissioner and the California Dream: Plan It Again, Sam (Solano Press, 2005); Beginnings of the Planning and Women Division of the American Planning Association (undated); Planning Education and Social Equality (within the publication entitled, Who Wins? Who Loses? Social Equity In Planning, which is a series of articles published in 1995 by the CPR); and Within Sprawl: Can The Tri-Valley Area Retrofit The Suburbs? (within the publication entitled Beyond Sprawl, which is another series of articles published in 1995 by the CPR). Over her extensive planning career, she was cited by other authors as an expert in countless planning-related books, reports, documents, and newspaper articles.

Ms. Macris served as the California Planning Roundtable (CPR) Vice President-Programs from 1997-1998, and she served as the CPR President from 1998-1999. She was an expert leader, presenter, and facilitator/moderator in numerous Chapter and Section planning-related events. Macris was a long-time leader and advocate for women in planning. She, along with other members of APA, was instrumental in the formation of APA’s Planning and Women Division in 1979.

As a past president and director of various planning organizations, she significantly advanced the causes of statewide planning and transportation/land use coordination. As a pioneer in environmental planning and inter-jurisdictional planning, she contributed significant and innovative work and great leadership in the profession. She served as an excellent role model and mentor for planners throughout California and the entire United States.

Through all of her long-time service, advocacy, leadership, and innovative work in planning, she has contributed significantly to the profession and to planning in California. Marjorie Macris was tireless in her advocacy and environmental planning efforts, very innovative in her planning approaches and ideas, and very deserving of being recognized with a Planner Emeritus Network (PEN) Honor Award.

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