Equity, Technology, and Infrastructure: What Got Planners Talking at NPC21
And just like that, another APA National Planning Conference has come and gone. Attendees from all 50 states, 2 U.S. territories, 4 U.S. military bases, and 20 countries came together virtually this year for NPC21. The virtual environment did not slow down attendees from challenging assumptions, sharing knowledge, and asking questions.
Here's a snapshot of what attendees got excited about during #NPC21:
Making Connections, Even Virtually
Distance didn't stop planners from connecting. Attendees jumped into the virtual world and used their avatars to explore NPC21 Connect, visiting the career center for resume reviews and mentor matches, literally 'bumping' into fellow conference attendees to network, and continuning the discussion momentum of spotlight sessions.
Join me tomorrow at 4 pm EDT for "Ask a Career Coach," an event by APA Career Services. I will be chatting with @gigitheplanner, Robin Scherr and Erica Crumley https://t.co/woNpRCa1cu #NPC21— Silvia_Vargas, FAICP (@svargas_planner) May 7, 2021
Building Skills, Sharing Knowledge
Rapidly emerging trends, many of which were accelerated by the pandemic, are impacting how planning is done. Planners are working to lead communities to a stronger, more sustainable future, which includes providing opportunities for accessible community engagement, using new data to make even more informed decisions, and helping small businesses manage curbside demands.
"You have to listen regardless of the decibel of what's being said"— anne mcnamara (@annemcplans) May 5, 2021
an important starting point for improving our public engagement skills #NPC21
Had a very informative afternoon at #NPC21 @APA_Planning conference, great to see how American #planners have been using #BigDataAnalytics #Crowdsourcing tools #smartcity. Now watching "Ending Zoning's Racist Legacy", excellent argument. pic.twitter.com/i7E2oIwmWq— Dr Wei Yang (@drweiyang) May 6, 2021
The city of Charlotte is working on a displacement dashboard. It's currently in beta testing, but we're getting a preview. I suspect this might be a first outside of academia. Please let me know if I am wrong. #NPC21 pic.twitter.com/qAJ3VZkynM— James Brasuell 🚌 🚇 (@CasualBrasuell) May 5, 2021
Industrial Evolution — Zoning Practice
"Poor Curb Management Is Costing Cities Billions" — Planning
Embracing the Responsibility to Advance Equity
Presenters and attendees did not shy away from delving into the legacy of racism or inequality that had been perpetuated by past actions of the planning profession. Tangible steps and examples were shared on how planners can help move the profession, but also communities, toward a more equitable future — focusing on elevating the voices of minority populations and actively working with community members on future plans.
A few of the many great takeaways and lessons from #Detroit in the "Redressing Racist Policies to Implement Equity-Driven Revitalization" session with @detroitplanning's @justpennies @Just_J_Ruffin and @KatyTrudeau #NPC21 pic.twitter.com/52qIJQk3Q7— American Planning Association (@APA_Planning) May 5, 2021
.@EjCarolina key points to advance EJ @EHCSanDiego #NPC21 #EnvironmentalJustice pic.twitter.com/RKJAQ0JdKd— Vidal F. Marquez (@VidalFMarquez) May 7, 2021
Pretty awesome straight talk going on here at #NPC21 where planners are looking at our origin story founded in racism. Took one century to get here, so let's create a new origin point for our work. Completely. Thanks @JenniferRaitt #TODThursday #ETOD https://t.co/frdAjEEEak pic.twitter.com/R9KyLuEeeF— Eric Orozco (@ericorozco) May 6, 2021
Planning for Social Equity Policy Guide
Voices of Equity
Applying Technology in New Ways
From GIS to AI to smart cities, existing and new technologies are impacting the profession and changing the way in which planners can — and will work. Just as important is ensuring that planners learn from past mistakes and prevent the transfer of existing inequalities into the era of digitalization.
Using cameras mounted on municipal garbage trucks to detect blight and track over time. #NPC21 pic.twitter.com/lAjVMYmI6Q— Karen Kazmierczak (@kareniskaz) May 5, 2021
Planning and GIS? This closing keynote was made for me! #NPC21— Amber Turnquest, AICP (@Amber_Turnquest) May 7, 2021
At #NPC21, @landpolicy Heather Sauceda Hannon explains how #scenarioplanning can be used to help planners prepare for emerging trends https://t.co/1zySOgxocr pic.twitter.com/Jstue6PNVe— Lincoln Institute (@landpolicy) May 7, 2021
Building Stronger Infrastructure
Infrastructure can connect people to opportunity and offer protection from the effects of climate change. Climate migration, broadband accessibility, and micro-mobility were just a few of the many infrastructure topics discussed during NPC21.
Woohoo @nicole_mcheinz! #NPC21— Daniel Besinaiz (@cityplannerd) May 6, 2021
"Intelligent Transportation Systems Application" pic.twitter.com/E65a9qun0t
Planners are talking w/ Congress about need for an #infrastructure bill that:— APAadvocates (@APAadvocates) May 7, 2021
-Increases share of funding for local govt, regions
-Expands support for 🚍🚴🏽♀️🚶🏽
-Incorporates climate & resilience planning
-Plans for broadband & emerging needs #NPC21 https://t.co/qC5sZ4AaTV pic.twitter.com/KOv4OIlmLV
"Climate Migrants Are on the Move" — Planning
How COVID Has Underscored the Digital Divide — APA Podcast
APA 2021 Legislative Priorities
Growing Focus on Health and Wellbeing
When is the last time you hugged a tree? The importance of public spaces, access to nature, and other elements of the built environment can impact not only the physcial, but also the mental health of community members, as well as offer respite from the impacts of climate change. Attendees also countered the time spent in virtual sessions during NPC21 by participating in a variety of early morning wellness activities such as yoga, a Peloton ride, and a HIIT class — led by a fellow AICP-Massachusetts planner.
Learning so much at this #NPC21 session. Using Mental Health Considerations in Designing Places. Thank you Megan Oliver and Justin Hollander. So needed today. #publicspaces #happyplaces pic.twitter.com/SvB2IzMexj— Mitchell Silver (@mitchell_silver) May 6, 2021
Starting the last day of #npc21 off on the right (and left!) foot with Massachusetts own Kristina Johnson, AICP and a great HIIT class!! Thanks Kristina! @APA_Planning @APA_Mass #sweatyselfie #beatsofboston pic.twitter.com/A7QXl68Wfn— Neil (@nangus) May 7, 2021
Experiencing Some Boston Beats
While not physically "in" Boston, attendees still got to experience the city through virtual mobile workshops to learning about real-world Boston-region planning efforts.
Loving the #NPC21 #BitesofBoston but I may have to rethink my friendship with @TBottPlimoth - given his Steelers comment. Great work to the local @APA_Mass team and I'm sorry not to see you all in person!— Erika Oliver Jerram (@erikaoj) May 6, 2021
Boston Beats Blogs
Boston Takes on Climate Change — Planning
Jamming Between Sessions
One frequently asked question throughout NPC21 was not the location of the bathrooms, or where to grab a bite to eat, but rather, the music playing before the sessions started. The artist was Kind Beats, but that specific track played during NPC21 will be released soon.
NPC21 drew to a close with a jam session featuring two different musical acts and lots of physically distanced dancing by attendees.
Thank you for joining us this year for NPC21. And a special thank you to all of our conference sponsors for helping to bring NPC21 directly to you, our attendees. We're looking forward to seeing you at NPC22.
Shout out and special thanks to all of our amazing #NPC21 sponsors!@AccelaSoftware@AECOM @ClaritiSoftware @Esri @generalcode @GoodSeedCDC@Granicus @tylertech@UFPlatform @wsp pic.twitter.com/8cLZLref4h— American Planning Association (@APA_Planning) May 7, 2021
Access NPC21 Recordings
Need to revisit a session? NPC21 Live Plus registrants can go back and access available on-demand content and recordings. Didn't opt for the Live Plus registration? It's not too late to upgrade!