Ethics of Working Abroad

Planners can contribute to communities all over the world, but in many places working as a planner poses ethical challenges. Public participation in the planning process is based on freedom of speech and assembly and includes the ability to protest a project that may be harmful. These freedoms are not protected in many countries. Consider these questions: Can a planner ethically practice under those constraints, and if so, what special steps should be taken? What is the role of planners in countries where women, ethnic minorities, LGBTQA individuals (perhaps even fellow staff members), or others are not allowed to participate? Are there steps that American planners need to take to avoid real and perceived issues related to neoimperialism,? Can planners play a credible role in countries where governments are not seen as legitimate? Consider and discuss components of the AICP Code of Ethics — including aspirational values and rules — that apply to these situations, hear from planners who addressed these questions while working in developing countries, and weigh in with your own thoughts.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the ethical challenges facing planners working abroad.
  • Identify components of the AICP Code of Ethics that may apply to unique circumstances that arise from work abroad.
  • Identify how other planners and organizations working abroad have addressed ethical dilemmas.

The NPC Peer Reviewers assigned this presentation a learning level of Advanced. For more on learning level descriptions visit our General Information Page.