2023 National Planning Conference


April 1–4, 2023 | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

April 26–28, 2023 | Online

NPC23 will offer educational opportunities that explore the biggest drivers of change and disruptors facing the planning profession and the communities we serve.

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Core Program Content Areas

Climate Emergency

Climate change is no longer a crisis but a full-fledged emergency requiring the attention and involvement of all planners and communities. We are seeking proposals that provide methods and tools that planners can use to address the economic impact of climate change and the inevitability of weather-related disruptions through topics such as:

  • Climate action, justice, migration, adaptation
  • Impacts on local and regional economies; new political emphasis
  • Net-zero emissions; digital emissions; water scarcity; decarbonization and electrification
  • Grid-connected solar and wind power; smart grids; green building; ethical consumption
  • Public and private sector innovations and funding sources
  • Hazard preparedness, management, mitigation

Diversification of Transportation

As a growing number of cities develop mobility justice initiatives to protect fair and safe transportation access, we are seeking proposals demonstrating novel approaches, methods, and techniques that planners can apply on topics such as:

  • Micro mobility; universal basic mobility; urban mobility; electric mobility
  • Changing user behaviors and customer expectations
  • Decarbonization; fuel technology; zero-emissions
  • Curb control; ride share; competing transit options
  • Autonomous vehicles and deliveries; drones; urban air mobility
  • Evolving transit: fleet, bus, rail, air
  • Federal funding and programs (e.g. Reconnecting Communities)


Today, advances in technology affect every aspect of life: how people live, work, study, shop, date, and move around town. We are seeking proposals that provide planners with solution-driven innovations to address shifts in societies, economies, and the built environment spurred by:

  • Digital inclusion; digital vulnerability; broadband connectivity
  • Data collection, use, protection, privacy; wearable technologies
  • Smart cities; artificial intelligence (AI); blockchain and Web3
  • Hybrid community engagement; crowd sourcing; open-source data
  • E-commerce; everything as a service; brick and mortar adaptability
  • Private/public partnerships
  • Metaverse

Future of Work, Upskilling and Reskilling

The nature of work is rapidly changing, and the skills to meet changing workplace needs continue to evolve. As we prepare for the workplace of the future, the need to upskill and reskill becomes more essential. We are seeking proposals addressing the opportunities and challenges of the rapidly advancing nature of the workplace by offering skill-oriented training, tools, and methods to upskill planners in areas such as:

  • Active listening; empathy; cognitive reflection; awareness
  • Social perceptiveness; cultural competency; emotional intelligence
  • Critical and creative thinking; problem-solving 
  • Conflict management; persuasion; collaboration
  • Navigating the Great Resignation; unionization; workers' rights; workforce of the future
  • Generational work preferences
  • Virtual and remote work; working from anywhere; gig work; Zoom towns
  • Adaptability; agility; systems; design thinking
  • Effective and ethical use of technology; robotics and automation in the workplace

Health Equity and Nature

Wide physical and mental health disparities persist among certain demographics. These disparities are not random, but are due to the systems in place, including unequal distributions of factors planners can influence. We are seeking proposals highlighting planners' influence to implement policies, systems, and environmental changes in communities that have historically seen underinvestment to reduce health disparities. We are particularly interested in proposals on the following:

  • Access to food, healthcare services, safe and healthy communities
  • Declining life expectancies; worsening metal health
  • Nature-based solutions; public spaces; green and biophilic spaces
  • Intersections in health and planning

Housing Affordability, Availability, and Accessibility

Movements for safe, healthy, and accessible housing contributed to the development of contemporary planning and are deeply embedded in the work of planners today. As displacement, homelessness, and housing costs continue to increase, we are seeking solution-driven proposals for both the public and private sectors working to confront challenges through policy change and technological advances in housing construction and development related to the following:

  • Decreasing homelessness; gentrification and displacement
  • Increased affordability; zoning reform; gentle density; NIMBY and YIMBY (Yes in My Backyard) movements; mixed-use development
  • 3D printing of homes; manufactured homes; Big Tech-funded housing; investor-owned housing; workforce housing
  • ADUs; missing middle; adaptive reuse
  • Accessible and adaptable housing

Implementation of Federal Programs and Grants

The historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is injecting billions of federal dollars into environmental justice, climate action, and many other local planning efforts. Communities also have access to several other new and ongoing opportunities that can help advance critical planning work, including the American Rescue Plan Act. To help planners prepare and act, we are seeking case study proposals detailing how to secure and leverage federal support related to programs and topics such as:

  • Reconnecting Communities
  • Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program
  • Safe Streets and Roads for All
  • Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Formula Program
  • Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP)
  • Thriving Communities
  • Community resilience efforts stemming from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)
  • New regulations related to measuring climate change in plans
  • New programs in the works for planning for EV (Electric Vehicle) charging stations
  • The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)
  • Climate change; housing; electric vehicles infrastructure; environmental justice

Political Shifts and Polarization

Planners navigate politics on a day-to-day basis. Political will is a major factor that planners must consider when making recommendations to elected officials through their plans and programs. We are seeking proposals that address the intersection of political ideologies and planning on topics such as:

  • Influencing elected and appointed officials
  • Solutions for staying abreast of changes happening in local, state, and federal governments
  • Balancing intensifying and more polarizing political beliefs
  • Public trust; public engagement; building public confidence; accountability
  • State-level intervention in local affairs; political polarization; policy "pendulum shifts"
  • Special-interest online communities
  • Advancing innovative ideas in geographically isolated communities
  • Land use and civil rights; sanctuary cities

Population Diversity and Inclusive Design

It's imperative that planners understand how social characteristics and identities relate to people's preferences, behaviors, and access to resources. We are seeking proposals that address cultural humility, inclusive practices, and diversifying the planning profession to address ongoing and future population changes.

  • Aging U.S. population; racial and ethnic diversity; diversity awareness
  • Youth movements for social change; acknowledging and righting planning wrongs
  • Monuments and public art
  • Complexities of integrating equity, diversity, and inclusion in planning efforts; inclusive language
  • Community funding for inequalities; funding from foundations
  • Rematriation; reparations programs, universal basic income pilots
  • Dismantling racial and economic segregation
  • Surveillance tools
  • Climate Change Impacts and Action
  • Economic Restructuring
  • Housing & Zoning
  • Agile Planning Methods and Approaches
  • Leveraging Technology
  • Planning with Intention for Inclusion and Equity
  • Transportation & Infrastructure