Justin Dula, AICP is currently the Eastern Regional Coordinator at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Office of Environmental Justice. The Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) fulfills a critical role within DEP — ensuring that the Pennsylvanians most at risk from pollution and other environmental impacts have a voice in the decision-making process. The OEJ's mission is to help the DEP ensure the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people with the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental policies, regulation, and laws; as well as with respect to the identification of environmental issues that affect the most vulnerable communities.
Previously, Mr. Dula was the Community and Regional Planning section Manager at the Delaware County Planning Department (DCPD) with over 16 years of experience at Delaware County. In his position, Mr. Dula coordinated on regional planning efforts, County Council initiatives, and on municipal projects within Delaware County. He managed the long range comprehensive planning process for Delaware County. He has worked extensively in issues related to planning for energy efficiency and making connections between planning and other fields.
Mr. Dula became a board member of the Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance after acting as the Government Caucus Chair for several years. Through his work with the Government Caucus, he helped reach out to members to see how DVSGA could better respond to the needs of the public sector in its work, spawning the municipal showcase sessions.
Mr. Dula is also currently Vice Chair of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA PA), Past Chair of the Southeast Section of the APA PA, and Secretary and Treasurer for the LGBTQ and Planning Division of APA. He contributes those organizations' development and events committees. In addition to assisting in organizing many events for the Southeast Section, Mr. Dula has also helped organize events with the Pennsylvania Chapter, such as the 2007 American Planning Association National Conference and the 2009 American Planning Association Pennsylvania Chapter Conference. He joined the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) in 2006. He also serves on the boards of the Pennsylvania Downtown Center and the Bywood Community Association.
“I think smart growth is only achieved by understanding the interrelationship of different fields involved in shaping the built environment. A true smart growth projects cannot be created unless bridges are made between planners, developers, architects, landscape architects, environmentalists, and the many other interest groups and professionals involved in the built environment. A smart growth project cannot reach construction unless the project can successfully market the incorporated interests of the public.
Right now is the perfect time for the creation of smart growth projects and I think it will soon become the standard of development. As elected officials are looking for efficiencies that help maximize existing public funds, public opinion is shifting in favor of well-designed, convenient density. Professionals and developers, who have long faced an uphill battle against public opinion and policies, now have a great opportunity to partner with these groups to successfully create thoughtful smart growth developments. However, it is important for all groups to be involved in the process in order to create a project that takes the unique character of each community into place for a project to avoid opposition. Smart growth can never be cookie cutter, and must always be unique to its site, community, and local interests. ”