The 2018 Policy and Advocacy Conference took place September 23–25 in Washington, D.C. APA's communications team covered the happenings live — scroll through the feed to relive the highlights and catch up on what you may have missed.
...and That's a Wrap
Posted September 25, 8:30 p.m. ET
By Michael Johnson
As we close the books on our biggest and best Policy and Advocacy Conference and Planners’ Day on the Hill, we’d like to thank all of our attendees and member advocates for their hard work and dedication to making sure our communities thrive. See you next year!
Planners Take to Capitol Hill
Posted September 25, 11:55 a.m. ET
Updated September 25, 6:55 p.m. ET
By Dustin Calliari
Planners' Day on Capitol Hill is in full swing with planners from across the country meeting with their Senators and Representatives to stand up for planning.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski
APA members Jackson Fox and Laurie Cummings presented Sen. Lisa Murkowski with a Great Places award for Cushman Street in Fairbanks, Alaska. A Fairbanks local, Murkowski was eager to hear more about the pedestrian improvements, how they were funded, and the positive impact they’ve had in the revitalization of the community’s downtown.
Photo by Lindsay Nieman.
Sen. Kamala Harris
Representatives from the APA California Chapter, including incoming APA President Kurt E. Christiansen, FAICP, and incoming chapter President Julia Lave Johnston, met with Sen. Kamala Harris’s staff to discuss her efforts to improve infrastructure and encourage her commitment to Planning Home principles. They also presented the office with a certificate for Orange, California’s newly inducted Great Place, The Plaza.
From left, Nicholas P. Maricich; Ashley A. Hefner, AICP; Kurt E. Christiansen, FAICP; Rick Otto; Sen. Harris staffer Ike Irby, PhD; Anna Pehoushek; Julia Lave Johnston; Kristen L. Asp, AICP. Photo by Lindsay Nieman.
Sen. Ted Cruz
APA Texas Chapter members, including President Doug McDonald, AICP, met with Sen. Ted Cruz’s staff to talk about Hurricane Harvey recovery, housing affordability in the state’s high-growth communities, and Great Places in Fort Worth and Georgetown. Cruz’s representative was particularly interested in learning about Georgetown’s successful journey to becoming 100 percent renewable, the second city in the U.S. and the first in Texas to do so.
From left, Doug McDonald, AICP; Mike Brennan, Sen. Cruz’s staffer; Karen Frost; Kim McAuliffe; Marcie Diamond-Tesson, AICP; and Nathaniel Waggoner. Photo by Lindsay Nieman.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer
APA Oregon Chapter President Kirsten Tilleman, AICP, talked with Jon Bosworth, legislative assistant for Rep. Earl Blumenauer, about housing needs in Portland and the importance of funding programs like CDBG for FY 2019.
Photo by Catherine Hinshaw.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
New York planners Darren Kempner, Michael Levine, Sean Maguire, and Justin Romeo met with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s staff to emphasize the importance of planning.
Photo by Molly Walsh.
Sen. Gary Peters
Joe Myers and Elize Jekabson presented Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan with a Great Places in America recognition for East Cross Street in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
APA President Cynthia Bowen, FAICP, announced the 2018 Great Places in America designees in Washington, D.C., this morning. The announcement kicked off Planners' Day on Capitol Hill.
APA President Cynthia Bowen, FAICP, announces the 2018 Great Places in America with Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.). APA photo by Pixelme Studios.
Representatives from all 15 Great Places were present today for the announcement. To date, APA has recognized 290 Great Places in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Representatives from all 15 2018 Great Places in America at the announcement in Washington, D.C. APA photo by Pixelme Studios.
Planners As Legislators and Leaders
Posted September 24, 6:55 p.m. ET
By Dustin Calliari
Monday's conference sessions came to a conclusion with a closing plenary on the role planners can play as legislators and leaders.
@JennyBrekhus, City Councilor in Reno, NV, says that as an elected official (and a planner) she’s learned the importance of vocalizing a planning vision while continuing to bring people along. Great advice for all planners. #APAPAC18@APA_Planning@APAadvocates
During the third Planning Home session of the day, Dara Daniel, associate legislative director for Community, Economic and Workforce Development at the National Association of Counties, emphasized the importance of federally funded programs like CDBG and HOME, urging planners to tell their stories about why these program are critical to communities.
Gideon Berger, AICP, program director of the Rose Fellowship at the Rose Center for Public Leadership, discussed challenges associated with the politics of land use. David Dworkin, president and CEO of the National Housing Conference, addressed Opportunity Zones, something Flora Arabo also touched on in the first Planning Home session earlier today. He emphasized the importance of properly targeting investments and the important role of planners.
The common thread among these three experts was their emphasis on the interconnectivity of fiscal and equity issues.
Attending the @APA_Planning Policy and Advocacy Conference has provided a lot of great ideas and inspiration for @APAMississippi. Mississippi chapter members, get ready to help draft a new strategic plan for our organization! #APAPAC18
Speakers at this afternoon's Planning Home session examined innovative ways to address the housing affordability crisis at the local level. Jenny Schuetz of Brookings' Metropolitan Policy Program kicked off the session with some words of wisdom: policies have a lasting impact at all levels of government, for better or worse.
Rodney Harrell, PhD, director of livability thought leadership at AARP (an APA partner), highlighted the importance of population shifts and its connection to housing challenges at the local level. One of these innovative ways to address the housing affordability crisis? Reforming local codes to allow for the construction of accessory dwelling units, commonly known as ADUs.
Jason Segedy, director of planning and urban development for the City of Akron, Ohio, brought it home with a specific local example. Akron’s story provided a different market perspective. Segedy offered insights into addressing challenges associated with displacement as a result of economic decline.
We are a shifting nation - by 2035, people over 65 will outnumber people under 18 for the first time in US history. We must fundamentally rethink how we create housing and communities to include people of all ages. #apapac18
The midterm elections are right around the corner, and David Wasserman from The Cook Political Report shared insights on the election and its implications for planners. The plenary offered insights on our current political landscape, including the "lifestyle realignment" of the electorate, the rural versus suburban battleground, and 2018 emerging as the "the year of the fired-up female college graduate."
Wasserman also discussed the tendencies of undecided voters, what we need to do to in order to trust the polls, and how politics can change so fast in this viral era.
Dave Wasserman of The Cook Political Report addresses the 2018 Policy and Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. Photo by Molly Walsh.
"We're Still Creating the Alphabet ..."
Posted September 24, 3:14 p.m. ET
By Karen Kazmierczak
In talking about federal autonomous vehicles policy, Finch Fulton, deputy assistant secretary for transportation policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation says: “We’re still creating the alphabet. We’re not ready to grade poetry yet.”
This was a common theme in the session "New Policy Frontiers for Autonomous Vehicles and Smart Cities." Malcom Glenn, head of global policy, accessibility and underserved communities at Uber, Greg Rogers from Securing America’s Future Energy, and Paul Lewis from Eno Center for Transportation discussed the very early stages of regulating and planning for autonomous vehicles from the perspective of the private and public sectors.
Impacts of Tax Reform on Housing and Economic Development
Posted September 24, 1:38 p.m. ET
By Lindsay Nieman
Last year’s federal tax reform will have an immeasurable impact on planning and development across the country. Those consequences were the subject of one of the Planning and Advocacy Conference plenaries this morning.
Emily S. Brock from the Government Finance Officers Association dissected the reach of municipal bonds, which have contributed to nearly three quarters of all public infrastructure, and how tax reform has put them in danger by discontinuing advance refunding. Peter Lawrence from Novogradac cleared up some of the murkiness surrounding Opportunity Zones, the new federal program introduced in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, while Enterprise Community Partner’s Marion McFadden put the focus on affordable housing, explaining how 2017 changes to the Low Income Housing Tax Credits program translate to units lost. McFadden encouraged APA members to join Enterprise Community Partner’s action campaign, which provides resources for supporting the LIHTC program.
Each of the speakers stressed the value of advocacy, especially at the local and state level. “Policy is forever — unless we can get it reversed,” Brock said. “It was advocacy that carried us through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” She prepared PAC attendees headed to Capitol Hill tomorrow for Planners Day on the Hill by identifying bills they might encourage their state representatives to support, like HR5003, which would bring back advanced refunding for municipal bonds.
Emily S. Brock stessed the importance of coalition-building when conducting advocacy work:
Demanding Attention: State Housing Policy
Posted September 24, 1:26 p.m. ET
By Catherine Hinshaw
Flora Arabo of Enterprise Community Partners opened up the State Housing Reform panel by identifying a few key policy indicators to follow as states seek to address the housing crisis. Ballot measures and financial packages rose to the top, as did the importance of governors’ attention to housing in their State of the State addresses.
Perspectives from Massachusetts and California offered insight into the housing landscape at the state level. Housing affordability remains a priority issue in California despite the passage of the 2017 Housing Package. Pete Parkinson, AICP, president of APA's California Chapter, shared obstacles they face, including NIMBYism and stong regional differences within the state. Rachel Heller, CEO of Boston-based Citizens Housing and Planning Association, highlighted the need for involvement of all stakeholders, from the executive level to the grassroots, in order to move the needle at the state level.
The plenary session Understanding Our Housing Crisis offered expert insights on the causes of the housing affordability crisis. Christopher Herbert from the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies presented information about the forces affecting conditions from the demand side — income inequality, stagnant renter incomes and rising real rents, and barriers to homeownership. Elizabeth Kneebone of the UC Berkeley Terner Center for Housing Innovation covered the topic from the supply perspective, demonstrating that how much housing, what kinds of housing, and where housing is being built is contributing to the crisis.
Anthony Flint, director of public affairs at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, facilitated an informative series of presentations and panel discussion with Julie Kim of the Stanford Global Projects Center, Gerald Korngold from New York Law School, and Mike Alexander, AICP, from the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Center for Livable Communities.
Lack of housing affordability is a “threat to the fabric of our society.” Well said, @gerrykorngold! 👏🏻👏🏻 #APAPAC18
The forum offered an overview of currently used regulatory tools that help communities capture some of the increased land value that results from publicly funded improvements, including potential pitfalls and legal challenges. Panelists also discussed and provided examples of new tools available to planners and policy makers to help fund infrastructure projects.
Watch the full Burnham Forum here:
Mobile Workshop Focuses on Inclusionary Zoning in DC
Posted September 23, 3:58 p.m. ET
By Lindsay Nieman
Braving the rain, PAC attendees visited the 14th Street NW corridor of Washington with representatives from DC's Department of Housing & Community Development and its Office of Planning. In this expensive corner of the city, inclusionary zoning policies have brought more than 300 affordable rate units online in market rate developments.
A market-rate development in northwest Washington, D.C., that includes affordable rate units due in part to DC's inclusionary zoning requirements. Photo by Lindsay Nieman.
Planning Home Addresses Housing Affordability
Posted September 23, 3:30 p.m. ET
By Roberta Rewers
PAC attendees learned more about Planning Home, an organization-wide initiative to reshape the way planning is used to address America's housing affordability crisis, and ways to engage in the initiative in their own communities.
State Policy Training Brings Policy Closer to Home
Posted September 23, 12:15 p.m. ET
By Catherine Hinshaw
APA advocates brought policy closer to home with a state policy training on housing and telecommunications. They discussed hot topics in housing policy and small cell infrastructure with subject matter experts and how to address the issues at the state level.