Samantha Murphy, LPP, MCIP, the Chair of the Atlantic Planners Institute from 2016-2020, has been dedicated to the planning profession for almost 19 years. While studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Latin America Studies at McGill University, she realized that a career in planning was her true calling. She was intrigued by the ability, as a professional planner, to shape a municipality’s physical, economic and social efficiency through the management of land use, resources, facilities and services. That realization was her first step towards discovering a passion for helping the public improve the communities around them.
“Planning as a career is helping communities figure out where they want to go and how to get there,” Sam said.
With a future of planning in her sights, Sam attended Dalhousie University. After graduating with a master’s degree in planning, she launched into a career devoted to building strong and resilient communities.
Her first job was with the Town of Cornwall in Prince Edward Island, working as their first in-house professional planner. Many great things came from that job, but one of the most satisfying moments of her time there was when she worked on the Town of Cornwall’s official land use plan.
It was the first review of the post-amalgamation plan, and she was responsible for it. Sam had the opportunity to assess the initial direction identified by the Town of Cornwall and the community after the creation of the new town. Working on that project meant she had to provide support to the Planning Board and, ultimately, to the Town Council, updating background and technical data, researching trends and options, hosting an extensive series of public engagement session and drafting amendments.
“Working on that plan was my chance to help set the road map, to identify the direction the town would take to create a future of growth and opportunities,” said Sam.
Throughout her time as a professional planner, Sam has dedicated herself to many important projects. From collaboration on climate change efforts to the modernization of municipal framework, she has kept her focus on engaging in a broader discussion about the importance of the future of communities. It was with this goal in mind, to promote the value of planning, that Sam became a member of the Atlantic Planners Institute, and ultimately serving as Chair of the API Board of Directors.
Becoming a fully certified member of API gives the public certainty as to one’s training and expertise in the field; however, Sam says membership in API membership isn’t only about the certification. It also provides a venue to build relationships with colleagues while having access to events that give the opportunity for collaboration and the sharing of ideas.
“Planning will always remain my passion. I believe in its potential as it gives people the chance to step back and see the development, strengthening, and flourishing of our communities over time.”