City of Columbia to Celebrate National Community Planning Month
Sep 16, 2019

The City of Columbia is celebrating National Community Planning Month this October.  The City of Columbia prioritizes planning, working to improve our public space and parks, planning for preservation and sustainability, and helping formalize a vision for the future of our city and our communities.    National Community Planning Month is a time to highlight the important role of planning in our communities. Planning can be summed up as comprehensive, community-focused and enhancing choices. While many people may not realize it, planning has a significant impact on their day-to-day life. From where they live, to how they commute, to the type of home they live in, planning plays a vital role in a person’s life and well-being. 


  • Columbia Compass: Envision 2036, the City’s comprehensive planning process, is in the process of being drafted.  This draft will be the culmination of research and public input received over the last year and a half.  To learn more about Columbia Compass and sign up for updates, please visit
  • The South Carolina chapter of the American Planning Association holds its Fall conference in Columbia this year!  The conference will be held October 2-4, and you can register to attend by visiting


Planners help create communities of lasting value. Planning helps leverage public and private funds that lead to business growth, job creation, and economically resilient communities.

Planners are skilled at balancing the varied interests and viewpoints that emerge as a community plans its future. Planners consider what is best for the entire community – senior citizens, workers, children, people living with disabilities, business owners, and elected officials. How do they arrive at these community-wide decisions? Through conversations with residents and thoughtful outreach to community stakeholders.

Planners work for the greater good. Planners work with professionals from different fields such as public health, recreation and engineering to make communities safer, stronger, and healthier. Planning does not stop at a geographic border.  Communities are served best when planners take a broader viewpoint, encompassing regional and statewide perspectives. 

Planners have the unique expertise to comprehensively address the impacts of today’s actions on tomorrow’s communities. Planners do not just focus on where to locate (or site) a building, but also consider how that decision impacts the safety of the community, the existing character of the community, how it impacts the environmental resiliency, and if the decision encourages social and economic diversity. 


What is National Community Planning Month? 

Established in 2006, National Community Planning Month is celebrated each October as a way to highlight the role of planners and the importance of good planning in our communities. Across the country, communities celebrate planning through a variety of avenues including have a mayoral proclamation declaring October as community planning month; planning department open houses; community tours of APA designated Great Places in America; or photo contests. Planning is essential for our communities to prosper and maintain balance and cohesiveness. 

Each year, a theme is identified to help a community highlight an aspect or outcome of planning. The theme can be used to organize events and activities within the community. The 2019 theme is planning for infrastructure that benefits all. Infrastructure is defined broadly, extending to different types of projects ranging from roadways to transportation systems to parks and broadband networks. Housing is another critical component of a community’s infrastructure.  Well-planned infrastructure projects strengthen communities, boost the economy, expand opportunity, and promote equitable development. Ensuring that all residents in a community have safe and affordable housing options advances economic and social equity goals.

For more information about community planning efforts, visit or contact the Planning and Development Services Department at 803-545-3222.