As we are now in the month of November, this is probably a good time to look ahead to 2017. 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 inspired and/or encouraged. I always return to work from conferences feeling refreshed and more prepared to take on the work that awaits me. In 2016, I was fortunate to be able to attend the APA California Planning Conference in Pasadena, CA. Without further ado, here are twelve 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 and Planning Conference (January 27; 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, 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. Last year’s panels included: A 30-Year Prospective Look at Land Use Law in California; CEQA: Discussion about the Supreme Court’s decisions; Quick Hits: Updates on a variety of topics; Planning, Zoning and Development Law; and Affordable Housing.
New Partners for Smart Growth Conference (February 2-4; St. Louis, MO)
Organizers call this “the nation’s largest smart growth and sustainability event.” The theme for the 2017 conference is “Practical Tools and Innovative Strategies for Creating Great Communities,” underscoring a stronger emphasis on implementation tools and strategies, and new technologies that will help communities now. The program will span three full days with post-conference events scheduled for Sunday, February 5. The main program will kick off on Thursday morning, February 2, with a plenary starting at 10:00 am, and continue through Saturday afternoon, closing at 4:00 pm. The schedule includes a mix of plenaries, breakouts, implementation workshops, focused training sessions, peer-to-peer learning opportunities, and coordinated networking activities. It will also feature tours of local model projects in and around the greater St. Louis region.
Active Living Research Conference (February 26-March 1; Clearwater Beach, 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 theme of the 2017 conference, “Active Living across the Life Span,” places emphasis on the importance of promoting physical activity throughout the life-course, from childhood through mature adulthood, for optimal health and quality of life. The theme challenges attendees to consider the myriad of needs across age cohorts and how age and various settings affects opportunities for intervention(s). The conference is the premier venue for policy-relevant research and cross sector exchange between scientists, practitioners and policy makers on how to create and sustain active living environments.
AIA Convention (April 27-29; Orlando, FL)
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Convention is intended to be a gathering for architects, designers, innovators, provocateurs, and thought leaders. The convention will offer numerous seminars, workshops, and opportunities to talk shop with nearly 800 exhibitors on the expo floor. As the convention is in its planning stage, the only information available on the website is the location of the event: Orlando Orange County Convention Center. AIA Convention 2016 brought thousands of architects and design professionals to Philadelphia, and featured actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a keynote speaker.
National Outdoor Recreation Conference (May 1-4; Scottsdale, AZ)
The National Outdoor Recreation Conference, held annually by the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals (SORP), showcases innovative and creative approaches to nature-based outdoor recreation research, planning, and management. Since 1983, SORP has been serving the outdoor recreation profession. It is the nation’s leading association of outdoor recreation and related professionals who strive to protect our natural and cultural resources while providing sustainable recreation access. The conference is typically attended by city, county, state, and federal outdoor recreation and related resource planners, managers, researchers, and administrators. I was at the conference in San Francisco two years ago and learned a great deal, especially during the tour of the Presidio.
CNU 25 (May 3-6; Seattle, WA)
The Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) will celebrate the last quarter-century of New Urbanist accomplishments and pivotal moment, while looking forward to the future of building sustainable, equitable, livable places. Since its earliest days, the event has evolved towards greater immersion in local places, cultures, and issues, helping residents to understand the fascinating story of a unique metro region. In sessions, attendees will be able to hear from speakers, participate in workshops, collaborate on projects, and learn new strategies from leaders in dozens of fields. For a promotional video about next year’s event in Seattle, please visit this page.
APA National Planning Conference (May 6-9; New York City, NY)
This is the American Planning Association (APA)’s premier event each year. I attended last year’s event in Seattle as well as the prior events in Los Angeles and Chicago, and thoroughly enjoyed them. The 2017 Conference will offer a variety of tracks that call attention to emerging issues and guide planning practice, including: From Climate Change to Resiliency; Contemporary Design Skills in an Interdisciplinary Work Place; Disruptive Economic Development; Housing and Inequality; Leadership in Planning; Fiscal Analysis, Municipal Finance, and the Economy; Metrics, Public Response, and Indicators to Track Success; New Horizons in Parks and Planning; Planning Law; Redevelopment Makes an Impact; Transportation: From Mega-Projects to Personal Commuting Decisions; and Zoning: Hitting the Reset Button.
Greater & Greener 2017: Parks Connecting Cities, Cultures, and Generations (July 29-August 2; Minneapolis & Saint Paul, MN)
Presented by City Parks Alliance, this is the leading international urban parks conference where attendees will be able to learn about the latest in global park innovation, new methods to engage city dwellers and urban communities around the value and importance of urban parks, and how they are addressing critical environmental and societal issues such as climate change and community health, and essential lessons on sustainable park creation and management. Organizers are expecting more than 1,000 urban park leaders, city planning and design professionals, public officials, advocates, funders, and innovators from 200 cities and 20 countries to attend the event in Minneapolis and Saint Paul.
APA California Planning Conference (September 23-26; Sacramento, CA)
The California Chapter of APA hosts its annual conference in the Fall. I was at this year’s outstanding event which was held in Pasadena and offered the following tracks: Resiliency; Sustainability; By the Numbers (Data, Demographics and Technology); City Beautiful 2.0; Community Outreach – The Art of Communicating with the Public; and Crafting Meaningful Regulations. APA California Conferences typically include an opening reception, keynote speakers, concurrent tracks of programs and seminars including practical “nuts and bolts” sessions, mobile workshops to local planning related venues, the APA California Awards event Dinner, and the California Planning Foundation auction to raise funds for scholarships that will be awarded to planning students.
ACSP Annual Conference (October 12-15; Denver, CO)
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 was held in Portland, OR; the conference program is available here. The 2017 Conference will be hosted by the University of Colorado, Denver.
ASLA Annual Meeting and Expo (October 20-23; Los Angeles, CA)
Founded in 1899, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing more than 15,000 members in 49 professional chapters and 72 student chapters. The 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 New Orleans; the schedule is available here. I encourage you to check out the promotional video on this page. Next year’s meeting and expo will take place in Los Angeles.
ULI Fall Meeting (October 23-26; Los Angeles, CA)
As a multidisciplinary real estate forum, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) facilitates an open exchange of ideas, information, and experience among industry leaders and policy makers dedicated to creating better places. The 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 2017 meeting will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. This year’s event took place in Dallas; the schedule for the meeting are available at this link .
Note: Photo of 2017 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.