The vision for Citizen Planner is simply to place the tools of community resilience into the hands of local officials, our citizen planners. Why? Because every year across Texas hundreds of locally elected and appointed officials enter public life. They bring with them an ethic of service, but few have the training in the art and science of community planning. Texas and its 1,200 cities and towns are growing at an unprecedented rate, and our elected citizens must be properly trained to enhance the quality of life, economic opportunity, and sound environmental stewardship. Planning and land use decisions made today will determine how resilient our critical facilities are for decades to come. The Citizen Planner program was created to address this need for knowledge and awareness by municipal leadership.
TCP’s target audience are members of local governing boards, city councilpersons, mayors, appointed officials, municipal staff, and other local governing bodies such as MUDs, Drainage Districts, and Independent School Districts.
Approach to Instruction
The TCP program began in 2013, led by Texas A&M’s Texas Community Watershed Partners, we sought to bring together instructors from across specialties, including researchers, legal scholars, and planning practitioners. Through instruction from different planning perspectives, the goal is to help local officials become informed about the latest practices and trends together with a foundation in core planning principles. The initial course was attended by over 20 local officials representing nearly a dozen cities from around the Houston region. The 2013 pilot program has since evolved to provide local officials with instruction in specialized topics, like hazard mitigation, starting in 2017.
We look forward to continually improving the program to address the needs of Texas cities.