California Northern Section

The Northern Section was formed in the 1950s as one of the three original sections of APA California. APA California now has eight sections, and the Northern Section is the largest with over 1,400 members. The Northern Section encompasses a diverse geographic area covering the coastal areas from the Oregon border to Monterey Bay and includes all nine counties in the San Francisco Bay Area.

California Chapter

The American Planning Association California Chapter has a long proud history. It is the professional association that represents California urban planners and related practitioners. Its origin dates back to 1933 with the formation of the California Planners Institute. The present APA California Chapter was formalized as a professional organization in 1947 with the merger of the California Planners Institute and American Institute of Planners. APA California now has over 4,500 members. Read more about our history at APA California Celebrates 60 Years of Accomplishments by Betty Croly, FAICP, Chapter Historian and Steven A. Preston, FAICP.

Section Bylaws & Policies

The APA Northern Section is a non-profit organization and the Bylaws govern the operations of the Board of Directors.

Northern Section Budget

The budget reflects the priority goals developed by the Board at its annual retreat in January and is updated mid-year in July.

Regional Activity Coordinators

The Regional Activity Coordinators (RAC) represent seven geographic areas and organize meetings, workshops, and social events for members in their regions.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is composed of four Elected Officers (Director, Director Elect, Administrative Director, and Treasurer) as well as Appointed Officers.

What is Planning?

Urban planning or city and regional planning, is a dynamic profession that works to improve the welfare of people and their communities by creating more equitable, healthful, efficient, and attractive places for present and future generations.

CA Planning Foundation

The California Planning Foundation (CPF) is a nonprofit, charitable corporation established to further the professional practice of planning in California through scholarships and awards to university students in financial need.

History of APA California

Learn more about Protecting the History of Planning in California, and the Chapter Historian Program.

Northern Section Archives

Northern Section’s PEN Honor Award Recipients

The Planner Emeritus Network (PEN) represents a body of long-tenured members of APA who are available to provide knowledge of the profession as it has matured in California.

Each year, the Section Director, Section Historian, and an appointed subcommittee of the Board nominates Section members for a special PEN Honor Award recognition. Persons receiving these awards are selected for an outstanding contribution to the profession or for a significant accomplishment that enhanced the recognition and value of planning. Past PEN Honor Award Recipients from the Northern Section include:

  • 2021 – Elizabeth (Libby) Tyler, FAICP
  • 2020 – None awarded to Northern Section members
  • 2019 – David Early, AICP
  • 2018 – Tom Jacobson, FAICP; and Dan Marks, AICP
  • 2017 – Hing Wong, AICP
  • 2016 – Steve Piasecki, AICP
  • 2015 – Hanson Hom, AICP
  • 2014 – Joseph Horwedel, AICP; Mike Moore; and Eileen Whitty, AICP
  • 2013 – Linda Dalton, FAICP; Barry Miller, FAICP; Pete Parkinson, AICP; and Donald Weden
  • 2012 – Earl Bossard, PhD, AICP; Anne Cronin Moore; Barbara Kautz, FAICP; and Leon Pirofalo, AICP (posthumously)
  • 2011 – Alec Bash, AICP; Elaine Costello, FAICP; and Alex Hinds
  • 2010 – Dan Iacofano, PhD, FAICP; Naphtali Knox, FAICP; Joan Lamphier; and Paul Sedway, FAICP
  • 2009 – Dean Macris, FAICP; Marjorie Macris, FAICP; and Donald Rothblatt, FAICP
  • 2008 – Don Bradley, PhD, AICP; Jeanette Dinwiddie-Moore, FAICP; and Wayne Goldberg, AICP
  • 2007 – Vivian Kahn, FAICP
  • 2002 – 2006  None awarded to Northern Section members
  • 2001 – Larz Anderson; and Nadya Andrews, AICP
  • 2000 – Ken Norwood
  • 1999 – John Hirten, FAICP
  • 1998 – Betty Croly, FAICP

Great Places in America Designees from the Northern Section

APA National’s Great Places in America Program celebrates neighborhoods, streets, and public spaces of exemplary character, quality, and planning. Places are selected annually and represent the gold standard in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for tomorrow. More information on the APA website. Past designees from the Northern Section include:

  • Uptown, Oakland – 2014 Great Neighborhood
  • Chinatown, San Francisco – 2013 Great Neighborhood
  • Northbrae, Berkeley – 2011 Great Neighborhood
  • Ferry Building, San Francisco – 2010 Great Public Space
  • North Beach, San Francisco – 2007 Great Neighborhood

For a complete list of all designees to date, click here to See a list of the Great Places in America by state.

Great Places in California program

The California Chapter of the American Planning Association also recognizes and awards Great Places in California on an annual basis. A Great Place in California is one that exemplifies character, quality, and excellent planning. A Great Place may be found anywhere from a large city to a small rural community. It may encompass a vibrant downtown, a suburban gathering place, a historic small town, a public park, or a preserved open space. But most importantly, it must be a place where people want to be. Past Great Places in California award recipients from the Northern Section include: