2022 Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Petra Doan

During her career, Dr. Doan has had a tremendous influence on planning through her leadership in planning education, pathbreaking research on planning for queer communities, and her role as advisor and mentor to hundreds of planning students, faculty, and professionals.

While the planning profession was advocating the need for equity, diversity, and inclusion, Dr. Doan — through research, mentoring, training, and active involvement in the profession — dramatically and substantively altered the foci and outcomes for planners and the communities we serve.

She recently concluded 33 years as a faculty member in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Florida State University. She supervised 14 completed dissertations (with two more in the process) and 90 graduates in the Master of Science in Planning Program (28 of these also served overseas in the Master’s International Program with the Peace Corps). Beyond that, Dr. Doan has mentored countless undergraduates, master’s students, and Ph.D. students who have gone into careers in planning here in the U.S. and globally where their work has made tremendous positive impacts on their communities. As a long-time faculty member and then the director of FSU DURP’s doctoral program, hers has been an influential voice in shaping the direction of planning education helping to bring greater recognition to the importance of global planning education, diversity, and inclusion, and planning for marginalized communities as part of planning curricula.

As a former student stated in support of her nomination: “As a professor, Dr. Doan was able to link theory to practice and provide relevant real-world examples of how the course material relates to current planning topics. She consistently encouraged future planners to understand the complexity of situations and consider other viewpoints and opinions. These are still lessons I carry with me today in my work.”

Beyond her work as an educator, Dr. Doan became a leader in the subjects of international development, gender, and planning for the LGBTQ+ community. Dr. Doan began her research on planning for queer communities at a time when this was a largely ignored subject in planning scholarship. Her work raised the visibility within the planning spheres of this community and provided other scholars and practitioners with frameworks for understanding and lessons for implementation to improve the wellbeing of community members.

Dr. Doan has authored numerous books and articles to help those in our planning field understand the obstacles facing gendered and sexual minorities. She has presented her work at countless planning-related conferences and workshops and has fielded questions from professional planners around the world.

Her important work in this sphere followed an earlier record of exemplary scholarship on planning in developing countries, particularly in Africa and the Middle East. Dr. Doan’s scholarship has been paired with advocacy in both spheres and through her advocacy, she has helped to place issues of planning for queer communities and global planning education and research more firmly on APA’s agenda.

She has also been a leader within the planning academy through her work with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning’s Faculty Women’s Interest Group and Global Planning Educators Network and on the FSU campus through her extensive service to the University Faculty Senate. She has been a steadfast supporter of female and underrepresented faculty and students serving as an ally and mentor.

This award’s criteria call for the individual to have made substantial contributions to APA over at least a 25-year career in support of planning and APA and to have influenced the trajectory of the planning profession through the influence upon and implementation of their ideas in practice. Professor Doan’s career clearly exceeds the criteria for this award.