Climate Change and American Planning Association – Florida

The University of South Florida wanted help developing an industry partnership and engagement strategy for the Coastal Areas Climate Change Education initiative, which was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. Sunshine facilitated discussions with members of regional planning organizations, academics, state agencies and leading engineering/design firms and committee members of the APA-FL to assess the state of professional training for planners. Sunshine created an Advisory Board and worked with the Chair of the APA continuing education program to develop an educational needs assessment of APA-FL members.

More than 700 professionals completed the online survey, representing 25% of APA FL members. The survey identified priority topics for training: 1) developing adaptation planning strategies and solutions, and 2) conducting risk and cost/benefit analyses. The results identified different needs by job responsibility -- executives of county Municipal Planning Organizations sought a broad understanding of climate change effects and infrastructure impacts in their region, in order to plan for, lead and build organizational capacity. Planners responsible for conducting vulnerability assessments wanted training on specific tools. All planners prioritized training to communicate about climate change to elected officials and members of the community. The survey also identified that travel budget cuts meant that training needed to be local or via webinars/online courses. Sunshine president CJ Reynolds and the Chair jointly presented results and recommendations to the APA FL executive committee.