With Thanksgiving and the holiday season fast approaching, this is perhaps a good time to look ahead to 2018. Specifically, I would like 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 should 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 2017, I was fortunate to be able to attend one of the events that I recommended last year, the APA California Planning Conference in Sacramento, CA, where I had the opportunity to be on a panel on funding for parks, receive an award on behalf of my department, and visit the State Capitol. 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 19; 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 and enjoyed over the years. The amount of information shared by the speakers can be a bit overwhelming, but I always learn a lot and find it very 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. A few of the topics to be covered in 2018 include the housing crisis, CEQA updates, climate action plans, exactions, initiatives, and transportation infrastructure.
New Partners for Smart Growth Conference (February 1-3; San Francisco, CA)
Organizers call this “the nation’s largest smart growth and sustainability event.” The theme for the 2018 conference is “Bridges to Smart Growth” and places a strong emphasis on implementation tools, innovative strategies, and new technologies that will help communities now. The program will span three days with pre- and post-conference mobile workshops. The main program will kick off on Thursday afternoon, February 1 and continue through Saturday morning, February 3. 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 San Francisco.
Active Living Research Conference (February 11-14; Banff, Alberta, Canada)
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 2018 conference, “Future-Proofing Activity: Application Across Sectors,” focuses on anticipating the future of physical activity, and creating environments, programs and policies that will minimize the effects of shocks and stressors of the future state when it comes to physical activity and active living. The theme challenges us to consider the future of activity across all sectors, and reflect upon applications that will minimize the detrimental effects of technology while maximizing the beneficial effects by way of intentional design. For example, how could “big data” be used to inform active living research and policy? How can we plan for active communities that incorporate connected and automated vehicles?
AEP State Conference (March 25-28; Rancho Mirage, CA)
The 2018 California Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP) Conference will be hosted by the Inland Empire Chapter in the beautiful Coachella Valley. The theme of this conference is Earth, Wind, Fire & Rain. As with past conferences, the 2018 conference will provide an opportunity for California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) practitioners and technical experts to meet and discuss the hot topics of the day such as: After the Drought – water conservation and water storage; After the Fires – planning on the urban/wildland interface, the future of our forests; Tiny Houses and Second Units – do our efforts to alleviate the State’s housing crisis come with greater environmental impacts; and Beyond CEQA – the future of environmental planning under the present administration.
APA National Planning Conference (April 21-24; New Orleans, LA)
This is the American Planning Association (APA)’s premier event each year. I attended the prior events in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle, and thoroughly enjoyed them. The theme of the 2018 Conference is “Strong Roots. Big Plans,” with details on the conference forthcoming. The 2017 Conference offered 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; Housing and Inequality; Metrics, Public Response, and Indicators to Track Success; New Horizons in Parks and Planning; Redevelopment Makes an Impact; Transportation: From Mega-Projects to Personal Commuting Decisions; and Zoning: Hitting the Reset Button.
National Outdoor Recreation Conference (April 23-26; Burlington, VT)
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 three years ago and learned a great deal, especially during the tour of the Presidio.
CNU 26 (May 16-19; Savannah, GA)
For our 26th annual conference, the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) invites attendees to explore all of Savannah, Georgia—a fascinating American place, from its world-famous historic core to its fast-changing outer reaches, that demonstrates the value of excellence in urbanism. 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.
AIA Convention (June 21-23; New York City)
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: Javits Center in New York City. AIA Convention 2017 brought thousands of architects and design professionals to Orlando, and featured former First Lady Michelle Obama as a keynote speaker.
APA California Planning Conference (October 7-10; San Diego, 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 Sacramento and offered the following tracks: Lessons Learned: A Diverse Past; We’re All in This Together: Implementing Diversity; Tips of the Trade: Diversifying the Tool Kit; Engage: Planning for Diverse Places and Perspectives; and Embracing and Envisioning Change: A Diverse Future. 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 ceremony, and the California Planning Foundation auction to raise funds for scholarships that will be awarded to planning students.
ULI Fall Meeting (October 8-11; Boston, MA)
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 was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
ASLA Annual Meeting and Expo (October 19-22; Philadelphia, PA)
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 Los Angeles; see the video on this page. Next year’s meeting and expo will take place in Philadelphia.
ACSP Annual Conference (October 25-28; Buffalo, NY)
Unless you are a professor or Ph.D. candidate in urban planning, you probably do not know what the ACSP is. The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning 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 2017 Annual Conference was held in Denver and the 2018 Conference will be hosted by the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Note: Photo of 2018 calendar by author.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone.