Commission Report on 2009 National Planning Conference

The American Planning Association convened the 2009 National Planning Conference April 25-29 in Minneapolis.  As I mentioned before, I participated on the Minnesota Chapter APA Local Host Committee, co-chairing the Media Subcommittee.  The Local Host Committee welcomed about 4,500 professional planners, educators, elected and appointed officials from across the United States and around the world.


The National Planning Conference offered around 100 mobile workshops and many additional tours.  On Saturday, I participated in a day-long pro bono Community Assistance Workshop in the Chicago Avenue Lifesciences Corridor, organized by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).  Twenty-five planners partnered with two dozen community residents to develop a vision for the neighborhood.  The Lifesciences Corridor includes some of Minneapolis’ most diverse and challenging areas, from the Metrodome south to Lake Street, with 19 health and medical institutions and 61 research and clinical labs.  While there has been quite a bit of re-development in the area, state-sponsored Lifesciences incentives are not aligning with City of Minneapolis goals nor neighborhood association interests in the area.  Participants looked at opportunities in Transportation, Livability, Urban Design, Housing and Economic Development.


Sunday morning, Minneapolis mayor R.T. Ryback welcomed participants, and journalist Jonathan Alter delivered the opening keynote reflecting on trends in Washington, DC.  On Tuesday the heads of the planning organizations for the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom spoke about sustainability and urbanization in a general keynote.  Architecture critic Witold Rybczynski delivered the closing keynote Wednesday noon.


Each breakout session offered about 15 different choices, from general discussions for planning commissioners to highly technical presentations.  Most of the sessions were registered for Certification Maintenance, required for members of AICP, including sessions on the law and ethics.


Ask if you’re interested in information on these sessions.

·        Enduring Legacy of the Chicago Plan

·        After the Flood  (hazard mitigation, New Orleans, Grand Forks)

·        Green Post-disaster Redevelopment  (Kansas town destroyed by tornado)

·        Ethics in Planning

·        Planning and Water in the Netherlands

·        Small Wind Energy System Ordinance (Arizona)

·        Creating a Connected Sustainable Ballpark

·        Megaregion Strategy and Planning

·        Balancing Interests in Livestock Land-Use Regulation

·        Infrastructure Disasters Waiting to Happen (bridges, levees and dams)

·        10 Best Free Web Applications for Planning

·        Regional Response When Disaster Strikes (Florida, New Orleans, Iowa, California)


The National Planning Conference will be held in New Orleans in 2010.


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