As the year winds down, I think this is a good time to reflect on the happenings of 2014 and look ahead to 2015. Since I have already shared my reflections (see What is this Planner Thankful For?), I want to take some time now to talk about some events that planners, architects, and landscape architects can look forward to in the new year. For those of you who follow my writing, you know that I am a big fan of conferences. As I explained in Rest for the Weary Planner, I see conferences as opportunities to learn, grow, network, and be encouraged. I always return to work from conferences feeling refreshed and more prepared to take on the work that awaits me. In 2014, I was fortunate to be able to attend four events or conferences that contributed to my professional and personal growth: UCLA Extension Land Use Law & Planning Conference, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr: A Vision for the American West, National Outdoor Recreation Conference, and APA California Conference. Without further ado, here are ten conferences and meetings that may be of interest to those in the fields of planning, architecture, and landscape architecture:
UCLA Extension Land Use Law & Planning Conference (January 30; Los Angeles, CA)
As I shared previously in Land Use Law & Order and Land Use Law & Order: 2014 Edition, this is a conference I have attended the past few years. The amount of information shared by the speakers can be a bit overwhelming at times, but I always enjoy the event and find it very interesting. Essentially, the one-day conference offers a big picture view of land use law and planning practice, with very knowledgeable speakers providing updates on state and federal case law and legislation as well as practice pointers. Like past years, the conference will be held at the historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP) California State Conference (March 22-25; Santa Barbara, CA)
For those of you who may not know, the AEP is an association of professionals involved in and committed to improving the processing and implementation of environmental assessment, analysis, public disclosure, and reporting. This conference will feature presentations and discussions that provide strategies and solutions used for successful environmental planning, environmental review, project approvals, and permitting for the full rangeof public and private sector sponsored projects. The conference will be held at the beautiful Fess Parker Resort in Santa Barbara.
Greater and Greener 2015: Innovative Parks, Vibrant Cities (April 11-14; San Francisco, CA)
Organized by the City Parks Alliance and the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department, Greater & Greener is a four-day indoor and outdoor conference designed to equip attendees with the tools they need to create innovative, vibrant, and sustainable parks in their city, district, community, or neighborhood. Through outdoor workshops and tours, engaging speaker and panel discussions, volunteer opportunities and exclusive events, the conference will highlight the people and programs that are having a positive impact across urban park creation, management and stewardship in the San Francisco Bay Area and globally.
National Outdoor Recreation Conference (April 12-16; Annapolis, MD)
The Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals will be co-hosting this conference with the Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium (NERR). The theme of the conference is “Land, Water, and Conservation: Celebrating the Past and Crafting the Future of Outdoor Recreation.” The conference is typically attended by city, county, state, and federal outdoor recreation and related resource planners, managers, researchers, and administrators. I was at this year’s conference in San Francisco and really enjoyed it, especially the tour of the Presidio. Next year’s conference will be held in historic Annapolis, Maryland which is well-known for its naval history, blue crabs, and the Chesapeake Bay.
APA National Planning Conference (April 18-21; Seattle, WA)
This is the American Planning Association (APA)’s premier event each year. I missed this year’s conference in Atlanta, but I learned a great deal from the prior events in Los Angeles and Chicago. The 2015 conference will offer various interesting tracks and symposia, including (but not limited to): The Planning Office of the Future; Smart Cities and Sustainability; Parks, Recreation, and Greening Communities; The New Economy; Whole Streets; Planning and Climate Change; and Millennials, Gen X, and Active Boomers. The conference will be held at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle which is known as one of America’s most sustainable cities.
AIA National Convention (May 14-16; Atlanta, GA)
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Convention is intended to be a gathering for architects, designers, innovators, provocateurs, and thought leaders. As the convention is in its planning stage, the only information available on the website is the location of the event: the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Nearly 20,000 attendees were at this year’s convention which was held in Chicago and had the theme of “Design With A Purpose.”
Cal APA Planning Conference (October 3-6; Oakland, CA)
The California Chapter of APA hosts its annual conference in the Fall. I was at this year’s outstanding event which was held at the Disneyland Hotel (see my summary). The theme of the 2015 conference is “Rooted in AuthentiCITY.” The conference will be held in Oakland which has been generating a lot of interest in the local and national press. Specifically, its diversity, development potential, natural amenities, and unique cultural opportunities have been both promoted and celebrated. (On a side note, I visited Oakland earlier this year and shared my thoughts in this article.)
ULI Fall Meeting (October 6-8; San Francisco, CA)
The Urban Land Institute (ULI) Fall Meeting typically attracts over 6,500 attendees, including developers, investors, architects, planners, brokers, attorneys, and government officials. According to ULI, it is the only event that brings together leaders from every sector of the real estate development industry in one place. The 2015 meeting will be held in San Francisco. This year’s event took place in New York City; presentations from the meeting are available at this link.
National Conference on Planning History (November 5-8; Los Angeles, CA)
Organized by the Society for American City and Regional Planning History (SACRPH), the conference will feature presentations and discussions on all aspects of the history of urban, regional, and community planning, worldwide. A Thursday afternoon program will be dedicated to the legacy of urban renewal in Los Angeles after the demise of redevelopment authorities in California in 2012. Sunday morning will offer a range of tours exploring the planning of Los Angeles. The conference will be held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
ASLA Annual Meeting and Expo (November 6-9; Chicago, IL)
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)’s Annual Meeting and Expo is the premier event for landscape architecture professionals. It is the largest landscape architecture trade show in the world, drawing over 5,000 attendees and 500 exhibitors each year. This year’s event was held in Denver, Colorado; handouts from the sessions are available at this link. Next year’s meeting and expo will be hosted by Chicago at McCormick Place, the largest convention center in North America.
Obviously, as much as I would like to, I would not be able to attend all of these events. I think that would be a full-time job by itself! However, I do look forward to going to two or three of these conferences because I know they would benefit me both as a person and a planner. I hope you can make it out to some of these events as well.
Note: Photo of 2015 calendar by author.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone, and do not reflect the official views or positions of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation.