President’s Message: June was a Doozy!

A few days shy of our Board Summer Retreat, I spoke to Axios about the job-housing mismatch in Georgia and the critical role community planners’ play in ensuring that housing choice and attainability keeps pace with high job growth in the Peach State. I don’t have to tell you that Georgia is growing jobs faster than housing. You’re on the front line. And with more than 500,000 new jobs coming our way by 2028, we know that #ItTakesAPlanner – working together with local leaders and partners – to provide workers with diverse and attainable housing through zoning reform. In between those events, I spoke to the Georgia Municipal Association about the need to promote quality, attainable healthy housing through plans, policy, and code enforcement efforts.

Join your Board in calling on Governor Kemp and the General Assembly to work with planners, counties, and cities to encourage locally driven change by incentivizing proven workforce housing strategies that we know boost housing supply and choice.

I will share more about the Board’s mid-year meeting and our strategic plan next month. But, for now, know that we are inspired and fired up to serve our members. I cannot wait to welcome you all to Savannah in September, where your local host committee has been planning walking, biking, and trolley tours, plus happy hours and late-breaking technical sessions featuring national and regional resilience best practice. Plan to stay the weekend! Not only are we offering a Saturday tour of the beautiful and meaningful Sapelo Island, but it’s also Jazz Fest here, with free shows in Forsyth Park. You do not want to miss it. Meet me at Forsyth Farmers’ Market Saturday morning, and we’ll eat popsicles for breakfast, listen to Farmer Joe’s song, and fill our baskets with watermelons and pumpkins, which amaze me every fall by sharing the season.

Help Wanted. GPA is seeking a motivated connector to lead our external communications. We do a great job reaching out to you, our members. But, what about local, state, and national decision makers – and our stakeholders? It is time to align our mission with our communications strategy. And, who better than you? We know #ItTakesAPlanner to bring people to the table, facilitate a dynamic systems approach, and advocate for policy that promotes a safe, healthy, equitable environment for all. Calling a few good planners. Let me know if you’re willing to step up.

I know summer is hectic. Please share your good work, and show how #ItTakesAPlanner to achieve great communities in Georgia, and beyond. And if you’re feeling shy, a great way to amplify our message is to recognize officials and journalists that elevate planning. Nominate leaders for our annual awards by July 24. Thank you for all that you do.

Whitney Shephard, PE
GPA President