Can you believe that it is almost November? With 2020 fast approaching, I would like to highlight twelve events that planners, architects, and landscape architects can look forward to in the new year. For those of you who follow my writing, you probably 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 energized, refreshed, and more prepared to take on the challenges and assignments that await me. In 2019, I was fortunate to be able to attend the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Conference, where I had the opportunity to meet with other members of the Health and Wellness Panel, attend a number of informative sessions on park design and planning, and spend some time exploring the city of Baltimore. Without further ado, here are twelve conferences and meetings (listed in chronological order) that may be of interest to those of us in the fields of planning, architecture, and landscape architecture:
(January 24, 2020; 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. The keynote speaker will be Kate Gordon who is a nationally recognized expert on the intersection of climate change, energy, and economic development. A few of the topics to be covered in 2020 include the strategic housing entitlement, CEQA updates, cannabis and land use, and planning, zoning, and development law.
(February 2-5, 2020; Orlando, FL)
The Active Living Conference brings together active living researchers and advocates from over 30 disciplines to advance knowledge and action around active communities. The theme of the 2020 conference is Innovation and Imagination in Active Living which challenges us to be creative and to consider unique research approaches, partnerships and innovative strategies that promote fun and healthy opportunities for active living. Topics might include innovation by design, creative use of big data, health and nature, creative active play, interactive art, sport and health, technology, innovation in measurement, novel approaches in research translation and dissemination, and effective ”non-traditional” partnerships. The conference agenda will have two focus areas: 1) research and 2) practice/policy. The goal of these focus areas is to encourage a broad audience to attend the conference and provide opportunities for exchange on how to use evidence to increase physical activity in diverse settings.
(April 19-22, 2020; Yosemite, CA)
The 2020 California Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP) Conference will be held in Yosemite with the theme of Planting the Seeds of Knowledge. As with past conferences, the 2020 conference will provide an opportunity for California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) practitioners and technical experts to meet and discuss important topics such as: CEQA/NEPA review; relationship between CEQA and planning; technical analysis in environmental planning; land use and management; transportation planning/policy; water supply/drought management; climate change adaptation; and shoreline issues/policy.
(April 25-28, 2020; Houston, TX)
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 2020 Conference is Discover Inspiration with sessions to be offered in the following educational tracks: climate adaptation and hazard mitigation; design, development, and preservation; equity, diversity and inclusion; healthy living with natural environments; housing and community development; international, comparative, and global planning; managing communities in transition; planning practice and careers; politics, policy, and government; research to improve planning; small-town and rural planning; technology and innovation; and transportation. For more information about each of these tracks, please review this document.
(April 27-30, 2020; Knoxville, TN)
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. SORP 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 theme of the 2020 conference is Outdoors for All: Advancing Stewardship, Equity, and Wellness in Outdoor Recreation. The conference will offer sessions that demonstrate how connecting people with the outdoors instills a life-long commitment to the environment, creates diverse and inclusive experiences, and improves public health. There will be presentations that provide tangible examples of stewardship, equity, and public health being incorporated into successful outdoor recreation research, planning, and/or management. The conference is typically attended by city, county, state, and federal outdoor recreation and related resource planners, managers, researchers, and administrators.
(May 14-16, 2020; Los Angeles, CA)
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Conference on Architecture is intended to be a gathering for architects, designers, innovators, provocateurs, and thought leaders. In 2020, the conference will be held in Los Angeles, a city whose architecture has been described as a “visual feast,” a “wonderland,” and “stunningly beautiful” (according to the conference website). The conference will offer numerous seminars, workshops, and opportunities to talk shop with nearly 800 exhibitors on the expo floor. The Los Angeles Convention Center will be transformed into a product playground featuring the most innovative, high-tech materials and solutions to hit the market by the industry’s best building product manufacturers. Details on A’20 is forthcoming. See highlights from last year’s conference.
(June 10-13, 2020; Saint Paul and Minneapolis, MN)
The annual Congress is the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU)’s flagship event, where over 1500 multi-disciplinary policymakers, planners, urban designers, developers, and advocates gather to debate and discuss trends and challenges related to building places people love. CNU 28 will offer sessions that discuss a range of issues related to building healthy, resilient, and affordable neighborhoods and cities in the 21st century. This includes, but is not limited to, sessions that address transportation and mobility, adapting to a changing climate, housing solutions (affordable and otherwise), architecture and urban design, coding, development, open space, suburban retrofit, implementing new urbanism with local governments, challenges facing cities in the 21st century, regional cooperation, public health, art, and tactical urbanism.
(September 12-15, 2020; Riverside, CA)
The California Chapter of APA hosts its annual conference in the Fall. 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. The 2019 conference was held in Santa Barbara with the theme of A Resilient Future; the program is available at this link.
(September 14-17, 2020; Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville, MA)
The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible, and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life. NACTO’s Designing Cities Conference brings together 900 officials, planners, and practitioners to advance the state of transportation in cities. The conference is intended to empower attendees to lead the way on transportation policy at the local, state, and national levels, and raise the state of the practice for street design that prioritizes people walking, biking, and taking transit. The 2019 conference was held in Toronto, Canada; for more information, please refer to this program.
(October 2-5, 2020; Miami, FL)
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 Conference 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. Next year’s meeting and expo will take place in Miami; for information about the 2019 event in San Diego, please visit this page.
(October 12-15, 2020; San Francisco, 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 policymakers 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 2019 meeting was held in Washington, DC (see this page for more information).
(November 4-8, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
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 2020 Conference will be held in Toronto, Ontario and will be hosted by Ryerson University, University of Toronto, and York University.
Note: Photo of 2020 calendar by author.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone.