Ukraine Rebuilding Action Group (URAG)

URAG was founded in 2022 by the American Planning Association International Division, shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as an initiative by the International Division in response to strong interest in planning for post-war rebuilding shown by APA members during the Ukraine session at the APA 2022 National Planning Conference (NPC) in San Diego. 

URAG has since grown to a group of several dozen members, including not only International Division members but also members of several other APA divisions and other professional organizations. Additionally, we have a database of many other APA members who have attended our NPC sessions and have expressed interest in our mission and initiatives. 

URAG's purpose is to provide relevant, feasible, and effective assistance to Ukrainian communities through networking, capacity building, knowledge sharing, and collaboration. Our initiatives range from our completed handbook on public participation and guidelines on environmental sustainability planning, both featured on the URAG website (, as well as support for planning education in Ukraine. 

Can APA Planners Provide Support to Ukraine Rebuilding? 

URAG members addressed this question early on and concluded that we can provide guidance for Ukraine to build back better that is relevant, feasible, and effective:

Relevant - Are US planners and APA relevant to planning for the rebuilding of Ukraine? Yes, planning before the war ends is critical to the successful and cost-effective return of the displaced people, providing for their basic safety, health, social services, and livelihoods. Further, while there are many Ukrainian spatial/physical planners – especially architects and urbanists – as well as regional economic and social development specialists, these experts operate in separate silos legally and institutionally. So, there is both a lack of professional planners and planning educators in general and a lack of attention to integrated, comprehensive planning. We have an important niche to fill.

Feasible - Can volunteer planners based in the US contribute effectively? Yes, in addition to the URAG website, the APA website alone offers a treasure trove of information and education on virtually all aspects of planning that URAG has started to curate and contextualize for use by Ukrainians involved in planning for rebuilding. These guidelines cite several references from APA’s Knowledge Base.

Effective - Can our work be effective? Yes, working with partners who have “boots on the ground” we can not only leverage our work through “more hands”, but also reach and influence those involved in planning and decision-making in Ukraine. If our work only achieves capacity building and facilitates the preparation of projects that are feasible, implementable, sustainable, and bankable, then we feel we have done a significant service.

APA National Planning Conference, San Diego. May 2, 2022

The Start

The URAG started with the session "Brainstorming Ukraine's Post-War Reconstruction" during the 2022 National Planning Conference in San Diego. The session inspired speakers to develop a team of planners to explore the potential to provide planning assistance to Ukraine for post-war recovery. Later,  the team developed into the Ukraine Rebuilding Action Group. 

Currently, the URAG consists of a team of core members led by Tim Van Epp, FAICP, PP. Over 70 APA members, international planners, and officials have expressed interest in supporting the group.