From Chapter President Jason Valerius

Jason Valerius, APA - WisconsinChapter President


Wisconsin has a strong heritage of thoughtful community planning and design.  From our lead role as the first state in the nation to grant municipalities a clear right to engage in city planning (1909) and the first to authorize the use of zoning in rural areas (1923) to legislation requiring comprehensive plans (1999), Wisconsin leaders have shown a commitment to making development processes more predictable and finding a fair balance among diverse interests in our communities.  Groundbreaking developments such as Greendale and Middleton Hills have shown our willingness to test new concepts in community design.

Wisconsin also has a strong professional planning practice.  Variously known as Community Development Directors, Zoning Administrators, Urban Designers, Community Engagement Specialists, Planning Consultants and dozens of other titles, Wisconsin planners are diverse in responsibilities and technical training.  What the hundreds of Wisconsin planners have in common, I think, is a shared interest in the vitality of our communities and a desire to give stakeholders a voice in decisions about growth and change.

Many challenges face Wisconsin communities today.  Housing affordability, racial inequities, shrinking small towns, increasingly severe weather events and other trends are stretching our capacity to sustain a high quality of life.  The Wisconsin Chapter of the American Planning Association exists to help Wisconsin communities survive and thrive through smart planning.  We support planning and planners through advocacy for best practices, training to help planners try new practices, and networking to facilitate peer learning and professional success throughout the state.  I am pleased to lead APA-WI for 2018 and 2019, and I encourage other Wisconsin planners to consider service to our profession.