As the year winds down, I think this is a good time to look ahead to 2016. Specifically, I would like to discuss 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 must know by now 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 2015, I was fortunate to be able to attend and present at the APA National Conference in Seattle (read this article for a summary). Without further ado, here are ten conferences and meetings that may be of interest to those of us in the fields of planning, architecture, and landscape architecture:
UCLA Extension Land Use Law & Planning Conference (January 22; Los Angeles, CA)
As I shared previously in Land Use Law & Order and Land Use Law & Order: 2014 Edition, this is a conference that 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 and helpful. 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.
Active Living Research Conference (January 31 – February 3; Clearwater, FL)
The Active Living Research Annual Conference brings together active living researchers and advocates from over 30 disciplines to advance knowledge and action around active communities. The 2016 conference theme, Equity in Active Living, explores opportunities to ensure that all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, economic background, level of education, age, sexual orientation, gender identify, physical and/or cognitive ability, have access to safe and enjoyable places to be physically active. The conference is the premier venue for both discussing the latest research and for making findings useable by non-scientists. The conference will be held at Hilton Clearwater Beach.
Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP) California State Conference (April 3-6; San Diego, 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 range of public and private sector sponsored projects. The conference will be held at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina.
APA National Planning Conference (April 2-5; Phoenix, AZ)
This is the American Planning Association (APA)’s premier event each year. I attended this year’s event in Seattle as well as the prior events in Los Angeles and Chicago, and thoroughly enjoyed them. The 2016 conference will feature global futurist Jack Uldrich and oceanographer John Englander as keynote speakers. This is the conference to be at if you want to find out how a place with 330 days of sunshine a year plans to become America’s first carbon-neutral city. The conference will be held at the Phoenix Convention Center.
River Management Symposium and National Outdoor Recreation Conference (May 16-20; Boise, ID)
The Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals will be co-hosting this conference with the River Management Society. The theme of the conference is Rivers and Recreation in a Changing Climate. The conference is typically attended by city, county, state, and federal outdoor recreation and related resource planners, managers, researchers, and administrators. I was at last year’s conference in San Francisco and learned a great deal, especially during the tour of the Presidio. Next year’s conference will be held at the Riverside Hotel in Boise, Idaho.
AIA National Convention (May 19-21; Philadelphia, PA)
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 Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. AIA Convention 2015 brought thousands of architects and design professionals to Atlanta, and featured former President Bill Clinton as a keynote speaker.
Cal APA Planning Conference (October 22-25; Pasadena, CA)
The California Chapter of APA hosts its annual conference in the Fall. I was at last year’s outstanding event which was held at the Disneyland Hotel (see my summary). The theme of the 2016 conference is Crafting Our Future: The Art of Planning. The conference will be held in Pasadena, which is well known as the host of the annual Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl game. Pasadena is also home to many scientific and cultural institutions, including the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Art Center College of Design, the Pasadena Playhouse, the Norton Simon Museum of Art, and the Pacific Asia Museum.
ULI Fall Meeting (October 24-27; Dallas, TX)
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 2016 meeting will be held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas. This year’s event took place in San Francisco; presentations from the meeting are available at this link.
ASLA Annual Meeting and Expo (October 21-24; New Orleans, LA)
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 Chicago; handouts from the sessions are available at this link. Next year’s meeting and expo will take place in New Orleans.
ACSP Annual Conference (November 3-6; Portland, OR)
Unless you are a professor or Ph.D. candidate in urban planning, you may not know what the ACSP is. The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) is an organization that promotes planning education, research, service, and outreach in the U.S. and across the world by seeking to: recognize diverse needs and interests in planning; strengthen the role of planning education in colleges and universities through publications, conferences, and community engagement; improve and enhance the accreditation process; and extend planning beyond the classroom into the world of practice. The 2016 Annual Conference will be hosted by Portland State University and the University of Oregon, and will be held at Hilton Portland & Executive Tower.
Obviously, as much as I want to, I will not be able to attend all of these events. That would be a full-time job by itself! However, I do look forward to going to a couple 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 2016 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.