Speed Share: The Role of Planning in Implementing Sustainable Development Goals

The APA’s International Division is proud to partner with APA to organize and host the APA World Town Planning Day, a one-day virtual conference that brings together hundreds of U.S. and international planners from all over the world.  Centering on international dialogue, APA World Town Planning Day presents the valuable opportunity for Planners in the United States to explore global planning methodologies and lessons learned, and the potential for application in their own cities and communities. This year’s theme, Think Global, Plan Local, explored the central role of the planning profession in local climate action and implementation of global sustainable development goals. 

This course recorded at 2022 World Town Planning Day and moderated byKate Holmquist, Vice-Chair, APA International Division and Principal Planner for WerkSTADT Urban Planning, speakers from the MIT Humphrey Fellows Fulbright Exchange Program will share global perspectives and experience in planning for SDG implementation, and the central role of Planners and Placemakers.  

MIT is one of 13 U.S. campuses to host the Fulbright Humphrey Fellowship, a program that welcomes mid-career individuals to enhance, reflect on, and share their professional experience in planning and international development. The Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS) in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning annually hosts around 15 Fellows from the Global South and North. Led by SPURS Director Bish Sanyal, SPURS formed an exciting partnership with the APA International Division in 2021 to foster knowledge-exchange and collaboration between International and U.S. Planners.  

Presentations include: 

Local Planning in Response to Global Forces - Interventions in East African Cities 
Dianne Wakonyo, Architect and Urbanist; SPURS/ Humphrey Fellow, MIT 

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) implementation at the local level looks different in countries with differing resources. Hear about local challenges faced by East African Planners, and better ways for local and international planners to work together to leverage local knowledge.  

Expanding Bike Infrastructure–The Case of São Paulo 
Hannah Arcuschin Machado, Vice President of the Brazilian Institute of Architects; SPURS/ Humphrey Fellow, MIT 


Measuring community impact against global benchmarks can pose a challenge, but technology can be harnessed to both inform need-based planning strategies and quantify impact against targets. Hear lessons learned from civic engagement and bikeway planning in São Paulo. 

Nepal Private Housing Reconstruction After 2015 Earthquake 
Jhapper Singh Vishokarma, Under Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, Government of Nepal; SPURS/ Humphrey Fellow, MIT 


Post-disaster recovery offers opportunities for building back better for multi-hazard resilience, sustainability, and inclusion. The Government of Nepal employed this approach in mobilizing local resources to harness rebuilding efforts for SDG implementation.  

Urban Farming With Land Scarcity – Hulhumale', Maldives 
Hussain Ziyath, Urban Planner; SPURS/ Humphrey Fellow, MIT 


The global Covid-19 pandemic highlighted community weaknesses, but also changing needs and opportunities. Planners in Maldives facilitated adaptation, faster recovery, and SDG implementation with limited resources by introducing flexible land use regulations. 

Learning outcomes 

  • Review local planning challenges and solutions for implementing Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Get insight on diverse global planning perspectives and experience. 
  • Explore international examples of the critical role and impact of planning in making progress against international sustainable development and resiliency agendas. 
In partnership with
APA International Division