By Matthew Kredell
USC Price professor Marlon Boarnet took over as president of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) in October, beginning a two-year term in which he will have the opportunity to influence planning education and the role of programs across the nation.
The ACSP represents more than 100 collegiate planning programs and over 2,000 faculty members in the U.S., with additional affiliate members abroad.
Boarnet, who chairs the USC Price Department of Urban Planning and Spatial Analysis, served as the vice president for the ACSP the previous two years and on its governing board from 2011 to 2015.
“The ACSP is the scholarly association for academic planners, so it’s really the voice of urban planning and the only organization that represents both planning professors and university planning departments,” Boarnet said. “It is an entity that charts the course for planning academia. It’s quite an honor to be nominated and serve as vice president and now president.”
The national conference held each year by the ACSP attracts 1,200 members and is the primary U.S. conference for planning scholarship. The association also publishes the Journal of Planning Education and Research.
Boarnet set three priorities to help steer the focus of the ACSP over the next two years:
After USC funded and hosted the workshop for three of its first four years, the ACSP institutionalized it as an annual program. One-third of previous workshop participants completed or currently are attending planning PhD programs.
USC Price shares that commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity and justice, and worked with the ACSP to launch a predoctoral workshop for students of color.
Boarnet announced that the ACSP will partner with organizations such as Planners for Climate Action and United Nations Habitat with the goal of building a set of partners that will help focus planning programs on climate change.
“We are looking at what we can do to help our member programs to think through how they can address climate adaptation, big data and new data resources, smart cities and technology, and how to link it all to issues of social justice,” Boarnet said. “The ACSP is a support system for university programs, and we want to strengthen our support in those areas.”