Maryland APA

The Maryland Chapter of the American Planning Association

Welcome to the Maryland Chapter of the American Planning Association's Website. Our mission is to make great communities happen in Maryland by offering continuing professional development and other valuable services to our members that will enable them to excel in their practice. We advocate for excellence in planning, promoting education and citizen empowerment, and providing our members with the tools and support necessary to meet the challenges of growth and change. We hold a bi-annual conference, produce a quarterly newsletter, offer continuous opportunities to network, and experience new and varied educational opportunities across the state.


APA - MD 2018 Annual Meeting Sessions

Planning for Inclusive Communities

We as planners know our communities are changing, but how can we anticipate change and develop strategies so that all residents and workers in our community benefit from investments? This session will provide examples from Maryland and across the country for ways to plan for inclusive and sustainable development over the long term.

Since the Great Recession, labor markets have shifted, the cost of housing continues to rise, and many are priced out of areas with the best access to jobs and amenities. Incomes for many workers have been stagnant, and the limited availability of affordable and workforce housing continues to pull households away from job opportunities and existing community networks. At the same time, there is increased competition among counties and cities to attract businesses and workers by investing in infrastructure, services and amenities; however, economic development incentives often miss the opportunities to ensure broadly shared prosperity.  

This session will highlight integrated strategies local governments can take to facilitate inclusive economic development. From land use and zoning tools, to business attraction and workforce development, to transit and transportation planning, local planners can be at the forefront of developing policies and plans that can help build inclusive and diverse communities.

The session’s panel brings together four local and national experts on housing policy, economic development, affordable housing finance, and land use planning and community development. The goal of the session is to provide attendees with a better understanding of the importance of inclusive communities and to give concrete examples of ways local jurisdictions can develop inclusive and integrated land use, economic development, housing and transportation policies and plans.

About the Presenters:

Lisa Sturtevant, PhD

Dr. Lisa Sturtevant is President and founder of Lisa Sturtevant & Associates. She has been involved in research and analysis on local economic, demographic and housing market conditions for more than 15 years. Her recent projects include analyses of housing needs in local communities, evaluations of local inclusionary housing and public land policies, and the demographic factors shaping housing demand, with a focus on immigrants and older adults. Lisa served as Vice President for Research for the National Housing Conference (NHC) between 2013 and 2016. Prior to NHC, Lisa served as Deputy Director of the Center for Regional Analysis and Associate Research Professor at the George Mason University School of Public Policy. She worked from 2000 to 2005 in the Arlington County, Virginia Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development. Lisa completed her PhD in public policy from George Mason University in May 2006. She received her master’s degree in public policy from the University of Maryland in 2000 and a BS in mathematical economics from Wake Forest University in 1994. She is a frequent speaker on economic and housing market conditions, affordable and workforce housing policy, demographics, and population and housing demand forecasting.

Ryan Price

Ryan Price is an urban planner with the City of Alexandria Virginia and has over 12 years of experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors in a variety of roles, from analyzing regional and local economies to planning and designing pedestrian-oriented communities. Through these roles Ryan has developed expertise in housing market analysis, employment and demographic forecasting, land use planning, urban design, spatial analysis and mapping, and community engagement. Prior to his local government work, Ryan was a Research Associate at the Center for Regional Analysis (CRA) at George Mason University where he analyzed and monitored the DC-area economy, and communicated demographic, and employment sector trends to policy makers and the business community. In his role at CRA, Ryan was also responsible for analyzing the local housing market and generated monthly reports for the Washington and Baltimore markets, as well as economic metrics for the Washington Business Journal. Ryan has also served in various roles for the American Planning Association and Freddie Mac. Ryan received a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from Virginia Tech in 2011, and a BBA in finance from James Madison University in 2004.

Ellen Harpel, PhD

Ell  en Harpel is the founder and president of Business Development Advisors LLC (BDA), an economic development and market intelligence consulting firm. Dr. Harpel is also the founder of Smart Incentives, which helps communities make sound decisions throughout the economic development incentives process. BDA works with economic development leaders at the local, state and national levels to increase business investment and job growth in their communities. Launched in 2013, Smart Incentives serves economic development organizations by providing in-depth business research on companies seeking incentives and conducting thorough business case analysis for incentive projects. Smart Incentives is also at the forefront of efforts to develop better processes for monitoring compliance and evaluating the effectiveness of incentive programs. Dr. Harpel speaks and writes frequently on incentive policies and programs. Dr. Harpel earned a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina, and a doctoral degree in regional economics from George Mason University’s School of Public Policy.

Michael A. Spotts

Michael A. Spotts is the founder and President of Neighborhood Fundamentals, LLC. He has over a decade of experience providing research and technical assistance to on-the-ground practitioners in both the public and private sectors, at every level of government, and in urban, suburban and rural areas. Prior to founding Neighborhood Fundamentals, he worked for Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. from 2009-2017 as part of the Public Policy team. During this time, he conducted research and analysis of affordable housing and community development policies. He managed Enterprise’s federal transit-oriented development (TOD) policy activities and Expanding the Supply of Affordable Homes program. Prior experience in the community development field includes work with the Housing Assistance Council, Sustainable Pittsburgh, Allegheny County (Pa.) Economic Development, and the Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Michael received a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University. He graduated summa cum laude from Dickinson College in 2006, and received a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Community and Economic Development from the Pennsylvania State University in 2008.