2020 National Planning Conference

Call for Proposals

NPC20 | Houston | April 25–28

Start Prepping Your Poster and Emerging Trends Proposals

Submission portal open December 9, 2019–January 8, 2020


Emerging Trends Session Proposal

A lot has happened since we first asked for your help building the NPC20 program. This is your chance to submit a session proposal on an emerging planning issue and present at the year's premier planning conference. Below are some important topics that have developed and that may help you in creating a successful proposal.

  • How to use 2020 census data
  • Artificial intelligence in planning
  • Combatting homelessness and poverty
  • Planning for multigenerational communities
  • Accessibility design
  • Data privacy, data security, and data protection

APA's National Planning Conference is a first-class event that brings together thousands of planners, planning commissioners, appointed and elected officials, and students. Whether your goal is to contribute expertise and help drive change in the field of planning, learn from your peers and adopt new practices, or connect with like-minded planners who are solving everyday challenges like yours, make plans now to join APA on April 25–28, 2020, in Houston.

Before you submit your proposal, prepare by reviewing NPC20 tracks and topics as well as descriptions of the types of education proposals we are soliciting. The proposal submission portal will close at noon (CDT) on January 8, 2020.

NPC Participant Guidelines

Carefully review the NPC participant guidelines below before submitting your proposal and be sure to share it with any invited participants.

  • Only members of the American Planning Association may submit proposals for NPC20.
  • For sessions with multiple speakers, we encourage at least two APA member speakers with designated roles in the session.
  • All session participants (including moderators and speakers) must register for the conference by March 4, 2020.
  • Nonmembers are welcome to be conference speakers and encouraged to join APA to enjoy the benefits of membership. Nonmember speakers who wish to participate in their session only at no charge may do so by taking advantage of the guest registration option. (APA will contact nonmember speakers regarding guest registration once they have been confirmed.)
  • APA members are required to pay the member conference rate. They are not eligible for guest registration.
  • As a professional courtesy, speakers are encouraged to speak in no more than two sessions.

Speaker Information

The value of your proposal is sustained by the knowledge and skills of the speakers you have invited to participate. In 100 words or less, you will be required to include a brief description of why each speaker is qualified to present on the subject matter of your proposal. You may also upload a biography for each speaker to validate the speaker's knowledge, skills, and experience.

Please review the NPC Participant Roles and choose the appropriate role for each faculty member you include in your session proposal.

Note: All participants included in a proposal must have an APA account — every APA member has one. A nonmember speaker who does not have an APA account may create one at no cost.

Session Types

We have updated the list of NPC20 session types we are accepting for the Call for Emerging Trends. View the session types that you may choose from when submitting a proposal.

Proposal Tips and Examples

APA recommends preparing a draft of your proposal, using the appropriate instructions below, before beginning the online proposal submission process.

 

Submit a Proposal


Poster Session Proposals

Poster sessions are an informal format for presenting research data or highlighting innovative and effective practices. Research may be broad and can include many types of methodologies, such as experimental research, applied research, program evaluations, or literature reviews addressing research questions. For innovative practices, you are encouraged to highlight any case examples, best solutions, innovative practice or intervention.

Posters should align with the NPC20 Track and Topics. A poster session is a graphic presentation of project findings and a small amount of text on a poster board. The participant is invited to prepare and post a visual summary for viewing by conference attendees. The posters will be grouped together in exhibition-style rows.

The poster format allows one presenter an opportunity to speak in a more informal environment by standing next to your poster and speaking to smaller groups of people. The interaction is more personalized to the questions of the attendee/reviewer. Submitted posters are peer-reviewed and posters accepted under the Student Poster category will be entered into a competition.

 

Student Poster Proposal

Students can create and present a poster to reflect and analyze on their practice experiences and then synthesize and share the most important findings. Present a poster at NPC to gain visibility for your research, innovative practices, and for your school.

Professional Practice Poster Proposal

Recent graduates and planning professionals can create a poster to communicate research findings, case examples, innovative and effective solutions, and interventions. Present a poster at NPC to gain visibility for your case study and work.

 

Download the NPC20 Proposal Template for Poster Proposals to begin drafting your submission.

Poster Presenter Guidelines

  • Only members of the American Planning Association may submit poster proposals for NPC20. At least one presenter with a designated role in your poster presentation must be an APA member.
  • Though many may have participated in the project, only list those that are coming to the meeting in your proposal.
  • All poster presenters are required to register for the conference by March 4, 2020. Poster presenters do not qualify for complimentary guest registration.

Speakers and Poster Presenters

APA's Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion vision seeks to continually expand the representation of and build capacity for diverse perspectives within the organization and throughout the profession. APA encourages its members to be responsive to and prioritize these efforts for NPC20 and beyond. Diversity is an inclusive concept which encompasses, but is not limited to race, ethnicity, class, gender, age, sexuality, ability, educational attainment, spiritual beliefs, creed, culture, tribal affiliation, nationality, immigration status, political beliefs, and veteran status.  Please take into consideration these equity, diversity and inclusion statements as you choose contributing speakers and content to prepare your session proposal for NPC20. 

 

Submit a Proposal


Important Dates

December 9, 2019 For proposals submitted in June, APA notifies proposers and speakers of proposal decisions
December 9, 2019 Submission portal opens to collect proposals for posters
December 11, 2019 Registration opens for APA members only
December 9, 2019–January 8, 2020 (noon CT) Submit proposals for posters and emerging trends
January 9, 2020 NPC20 general registration opens
February 14, 2020 APA notifies poster proposers of poster decisions
March 4, 2020 Speaker and early-bird registration deadline
April 25–28, 2020 NPC20 in Houston

Submission Help

Looking for a little help using the proposal submission portal? Watch this walk-through video.

Educational Tracks and Topics

Climate Adaptation and Hazard Mitigation

Climate change affects all areas of the country. Coastal cities are planning for sea-level rise and landlocked states are experiencing extreme weather and new weather cycles, while droughts, floods, and seismic activity are occurring in unfamiliar locations. Communities that regularly focus on other planning issues also should note and be ready to address potential impacts from natural hazards and a changing climate.

We invite proposals for this track that share lessons learned about increasing ability to withstand natural hazards; adapting local economies and land-use policies; maintaining water delivery and other public infrastructure; and enhancing emergency communication systems. Proposals that address resources related to providing energy derived from fossil fuels or renewable sources are encouraged.

Topics within this track:

  • Climate Adaptation
  • Climate Mitigation
  • Climate Resilience
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Drought Resilience
  • Extreme Weather Impacts
  • Fire Prevention and Recovery
  • Hazards Planning and Mitigation
  • Sea-Level Rise
  • Energy Conservation
  • Stormwater/Green Infrastructure
  • Water Supply Management

Design, Development, and Preservation

People embrace communities of lasting value that reflect historic preservation, cultural resources, local character, and exceptional urban design. Communities built on principles of interrelated patterns of land use, transportation, and urban form foster some of the most desirable characteristics of human habitation: neighborliness, sustainability, and economic efficiency.

We invite proposals that address land-use planning and building form, community revitalization, urban design, public art, historic preservation, and new urbanism.

Topics within this track:

  • Equitable Access and Reducing Barriers to Opportunity
  • Structural Barriers to Equity
  • Land-Use Planning and Building Form
  • Creative Placemaking
  • Historic Preservation
  • Preserving Community Character
  • Public Art
  • Land Use and Development
  • New Urbanism
  • Urban Design

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

APA is committed to promoting more inclusive, just, and equitable communities through a planning profession as diverse as the communities we serve. We encourage proposals that are responsive to demographic changes and challenges to achieving just, equitable, and inclusive communities for all.

We invite proposals that discuss efforts to foster inclusion and equity within communities and the institutions of planning. Sessions within this track may emphasize issues of concern to communities of color (e.g. gentrification, environmental justice); examine aspects of any planning context with a thoughtful focus on equity, diversity, or justice; or consider the concerns and special circumstances of planners with specific demographic characteristics or abilities.

Topics within this track:

  • Accessibility and Universal Design
  • Aging in Place
  • Digital Divide
  • Environmental Justice
  • Health Equity
  • Homelessness and Poverty
  • Immigrants and Refugees
  • Inclusive Public Participation and Public Involvement
  • Multigenerational Planning
  • Planning for Diverse Populations
  • Planning for Inclusive Communities
  • Gentrification
  • Public Health and the Built Environment
  • Redlining and Greenlining
  • Religious Land Uses
  • Schools as Community Assets
  • Housing/Housing Affordability, Mobility

Healthy Living With Natural Environments

Across the country, local governments are adopting goals and objectives that integrate public health into all types of plans, policies, and processes. These efforts will impact how people choose where to live, how to get around, and how to access healthy foods and physical activity. They will affect everything from clean air and water to social equity.

Through citizen engagement, plan making, capital improvements, development review, and other planning actions, planners promote fiscally sound investments and decisions that protect and restore the natural environment, conserve resources, and build more sustainable communities in both rural and urban areas.

We invite proposals that address these topics as well as environmental justice, parks, open space, and greenways. Proposals within this track will highlight local, regional, and national efforts to balance human needs with long-term environmental viability. We encourage proposals that explore how plans and regulations affect the equitable distribution of benefits associated with ecosystem services.

Topics within this track:

  • Active Living
  • Air Quality
  • Ecosystem Services
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Environmental Regulations
  • Food Systems
  • Green Infrastructure
  • Partnerships for Healthy Communities
  • Parks, Open Spaces, and Greenways
  • Planning Policies for Healthy Communities
  • Public Health and the Built Environment
  • Sanitation
  • Urban Agriculture
  • Waste Minimization
  • Water Quality
  • Wildland-Urban Interface
  • Wildlife Preservation

Housing and Community Development

Solving the pressing issues of insufficient affordable housing, homelessness, and social inequity is essential for improving everyone's quality of life and expanding economic and social mobility for all. Providing local communities with a pathway toward inclusive prosperity requires the collaboration of legislators, policy makers, planners, developers, advocates, and residents.

We invite proposals that examine these issues and offer pragmatic solutions that planners can adapt in their communities and regions.

Topics within this track:

  • Equitable Growth
  • Inclusionary Housing
  • Combatting Homelessness
  • Missing-Middle Density
  • Affordable Housing
  • Gentrification and Displacement
  • Creative Housing Financing
  • Zoning Tools for Housing Choice
  • Densification
  • Community Development Incentives
  • Asset-Based Planning
  • Public Services Delivery
  • Foreclosures, Microlending, and Alternative Financing
  • Alternative Ownership Structures/Land Trusts
  • Community Facilities (Schools, Parks, Joint Facilities)
  • Community Policing and Crime Prevention

International, Comparative, and Global Planning

Rapid urbanization, cross-border movement of people, goods, and ideas, and global environmental challenges have made the planning world smaller. How can communities respond to global pressures? How can planners respond to global problems and innovate considering increasing globalization and its associated risks?

We invite proposals that explore international challenges of development, channels for international movement of planning ideas, urbanization, environmental pollution, and climate change in different countries and in international agencies and compacts. We encourage proposals that discuss innovative and successful responses to informality, land tenure, migration, disaster resilience, artificial intelligence, varying legal frameworks, and emerging concepts such as the Right to the City.

Topics within this track:

  • Planning for Olympic Games/ Mega Events
  • Global Movement of Planning Ideas and Practices
  • International and Comparative Planning Innovations
  • Informal Settlements/ Favelas
  • Infrastructure Development Planning
  • International Financial Institutions and International Development Aid Agencies
  • International Law
  • Land Reform
  • Migration and Refugees
  • Planning for Humanitarian Emergencies
  • Planning in Conflict Zones
  • Sustainable Development
  • Transboundary Planning
  • Urbanization

Managing Communities in Transition

While local economies are greatly influenced by national and state policies, communities are challenged to find the best local economic development choices. Many planners are eager to learn about successful local and regional efforts to support job creation, workforce development, and economic activities that maintain or enhance quality of life.

We invite proposals that concern economic transformation of neighborhoods or communities; compatible redevelopment; approaches to maximizing economic opportunities; real estate market analysis; comprehensive planning; understanding the consequences of planning-related decisions; and building political support for transformational economic development.

Topics within this track:

  • Comprehensive Planning
  • Changing Demographics
  • Suburban Reinvention
  • Economic Development and Redevelopment
  • Innovative Finance
  • Shared Economy
  • Changes in Zoning Codes to Support Change
  • Changes in Brick and-Mortar Retail
  • Disruptive Technology
  • Aging Infrastructure
  • Real Estate Market Analysis
  • Public Engagement
  • Workforce Planning

Planning Practice and Careers

Planning work takes place in diverse settings in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, and at neighborhood, municipal, regional, state, interstate, national, and international levels. Career advancement and success derive from formal qualifications, opportunities, continuing education, mentoring, and personal initiative.

We invite proposals that offer best practices for managing planning organizations, working within legal mandates and constraints, and building successful careers.

Topics within this track:

  • Leadership and Collaboration
  • Relations with Elected and Appointed Officials
  • Influencing Decision Making in the Public Interest
  • Intergroup and Stakeholder Relationships
  • Media Relations and Managing the Flow of Information
  • Private Practice and Consultancy
  • Expert Testimony
  • Integrity, Value, and Ethics
  • Professional Growth
  • Talent Development
  • The Planning Labor Market
  • Learning from Other Professions
  • Intersection of Practicing Planners and Academia

Politics, Policy, and Government

Planners are deeply concerned about many federal, state, and local policy issues. In our currently contentious era, it is more important than ever for planners to keep up with new issues and trends of thought, especially those likely to affect their work during the next decade. This track will offer discussions and new ideas about current policies that every planner should understand, insights into the workings of government at all levels, and a platform to support planning advocates' positions and actions on policy issues that affect local communities.

We encourage proposals that illustrate successful tools and approaches that planners use to engage communities, respond to political leadership, introduce innovative ideas into community dialogues, and promote productive relationships with interest groups and decision makers.

Topics within this track:

  • Inclusion and Equity
  • Advocacy and Activism
  • Youth and Community Engagement
  • Conflict Management
  • Intergovernmental Coordination
  • Planning Law
  • Regional Partnerships
  • Political Engagement
  • Advisory Committees
  • Working with Elected Officials
  • Census 2020
  • State v. Local Control
  • Management Innovations
  • Zoning, Codes, and Ordinances

Research to Improve Planning

How can research aimed at understanding and improving planning practice bring planning researchers and planning practitioners closer together? Whether conducted by scholars or practitioners, proposals in this track should show applicable practice that attendees can use by including researchers and the planners who served as subjects of the research or who experimented with implementing the results of research.

We invite proposals featuring research to better understand cities, imagine improved planning systems, reinterpret planning's past, develop new planning approaches, or assess the impact of plans. We encourage proposals that provide for interaction between researchers and those impacted by research.

Topics within this track:

  • Research Examining Planning Practice
  • Policy Analysis
  • Qualitative and Quantitative Methods
  • Planning Methods and Tools
  • Demographics and Economics
  • Impact Assessment and Demand Analysis
  • Spatial Analysis

Small-Town and Rural Planning

Rural communities' challenges differ in scale and nature from challenges in metropolitan areas. This track assembles sessions that explore diverse rural and small-town planning topics. Examples include ensuring equal access to high-quality broadband, transportation, and utilities infrastructure; planning for rural economic development; and recognizing the importance and distinctive characteristics of small towns and rural areas.

We invite proposals that explore both innovative and tried-and-true strategies to address the unique issues and opportunities facing these communities.

Topics within this track:

  • Agriculture and Farmland Protection
  • Broadband Access
  • Building Local Leadership
  • Distributed Utilities
  • Resort and Tourism Planning
  • Gateway and Natural Amenity Planning
  • Impact of Sprawl on Service Delivery
  • New Ruralism
  • Revitalizing Main Street
  • Rural Growth and Change
  • Rural-Urban Synergies
  • Sharing Economy and Small Towns
  • Small-Town and Rural Disaster Recovery

Technology and Innovation

Expanding data sources and computing power have transformed projection, analysis, and design in planning. New technologies are disrupting housing, transportation, and other industries that are central to urban growth and development. Planners' skillsets now require frequent updating to keep agencies and firms on the cutting edge.

We encourage proposals that demonstrate the potential and impact of new technologies, imagine improved planning functions that use technology, and help planners integrate technological developments in related fields.

Topics within this track:

  • Urban Analytics
  • Big Data
  • Autonomous Vehicles
  • Sensors in Cities
  • Internet of Things
  • Smart Cities
  • Internet Communication Technology
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • GeoDesign
  • Urban Simulation Modeling
  • Visualization Tools

Transportation

Transportation is changing rapidly, and planners must acquire skills needed to keep abreast of new developments. As both technology and transportation preferences evolve, transit, biking, and pedestrian travel and safety have become prime considerations in street design.

We invite proposals that consider these issues, as well as others that cover large transportation planning projects — including rail and airport planning — and how they are planned and executed. We encourage proposals highlighting new and promising responses to challenges in accessibility and mobility, including those aimed at pedestrians, light individual-transport vehicles, public transit, paratransit, for-hire vehicles, freight, and air travel.

Topics within this track:

  • Active Transportation
  • Transit-Oriented Development
  • Roadway Design
  • Micromobility (Scooters, Ebicycles, Bikeshare, etc.)
  • For-Hire Vehicles/ Transportation Network Companies/ RideHailing Services
  • Autonomous and Connected Vehicles
  • Emerging Modes of Transit Planning (Bus Rapid Transit, Microtransit, and Autonomous Shuttles)
  • Intercity Rail
  • Parking Management and Optimization
  • Curbside Management
  • Port and Intermodal Freight Planning, Including Last-Mile Delivery Services
  • Airport Planning
  • Transport-Related Smartphone Apps

Session Types

Please choose a session type that corresponds with the proposed education content.

Please review all descriptions carefully. APA encourages diversity among speakers and perspectives at NPC.

Interactive

75 minutes

Two or three industry leaders will present slide shows of transformative ideas on a unified theme, topic, or trend. This format is ideal for topics with multiple solutions and varied results. NOTE: This is not a panel discussion among the speakers and the audience. By selecting this type, you agree to incorporate ARS into your presentation.

These session rooms will have Audience Response Systems (ARS) so speakers can engage the audience. Attendees may use mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.) to answer polling questions built into a speaker's presentation. The Q&A will be conducted via the ARS, allowing attendees to submit questions, the audience to vote, and the moderator/speaker to choose which questions to answer.

NPC20 Additional ARS Information

Presentation With a Panel Discussion

75 minutes

The first 30 minutes must include a slide show presentation about the session's major points and supporting information. This will jump-start the rest of the session: a point/counterpoint among the panelists discussing the main idea with examples of how it can and should be applied. This format facilitates panel discussions that require a presentation to shape the topic prior to a panel discussion.

The required moderator plays a very active role guiding a conversation between the panelists and the audience. The introductory, in-depth slide show allows ample time for discussion. The panelists will share facts, experiences, and opinions and respond to audience questions during the discussion period. The panel comprises two to four industry leaders who offer thought-provoking analyses of topics from different angles and diverse perspectives.

A Presentation With a Panel Discussion must include:

  • A slide show presentation of up to 30 minutes
  • A moderator to guide the conversation, ask thought provoking questions, and facilitate audience questions.

NOTE: These rooms do not include ARS.

Let Me Tell You a Story

20 minutes

Storytelling helps an audience feel a stronger connection to you and retain more information. This is the perfect format for a single speaker to share a thought-provoking story or a real-world example. Content should be timely, engaging, informative, and entertaining. It can be inspirational or motivational, but the topic must be relevant to the planning profession.

Speakers are expected to deliver a well-paced and well-rehearsed story to a large audience. A 75-minute session will comprise three stories — on complementary or contrasting topics — with quick transitions between speakers and a 10-minute Q & A at the end. A moderator will introduce the session concept and topics covered and oversee the Q & A.

Ignite Series

5 minutes
(Formally known as Fast, Funny, and Passionate)

Spark ideas in a quick but meaningful way. Ten of these bite-sized presentations occur in a 75-minute session. We are looking for a presentation based on a personal project or short visual essay. Proposals should include an engaging presentation that informs, captivates, and entertains the audience. Your proposal must clearly state how you plan to present the topic area in a fast and entertaining way.

Session Participant Roles

Session Organizer Only

This person is an APA member who submits the proposal on behalf of the speakers. For sessions with multiple speakers, we encourage designated speaking roles for at least two APA members. The Session Organizer Only will not attend the conference and is not required to register. This individual is responsible for completing the proposal requirements and confirming speakers' participation before submitting the proposal. The Session Organizer Only is authorized to request session updates, including the addition or removal of speakers.

  • Submits proposal
  • Will not speak/attend NPC20
  • Is not required to register for the conference

Session Organizer and Speaker

This person is an APA member who submits the proposal on behalf of the speakers (note, for sessions with multiple speakers, we encourage designated speaking roles for at least two APA members) and who will speak at the session. The Session Organizer and Speaker will attend the conference and is required to register. This individual is responsible for completing the proposal requirements and confirming speakers' participation before submitting the proposal. The Session Organizer and Speaker is authorized to request session updates, including the addition or removal of speakers.

  • Submits proposal
  • Will speak/attend NPC20
  • Is required to register for the conference

Speaker

This person may be either an APA member or nonmember (note, for sessions with multiple speakers, we encourage designated speaking roles for at least two APA members) who will attend the conference and is required to register. A Speaker is not authorized to request session updates or addition or removal of other speakers.

  • Will speak/attend NPC20
  • Is required to register for the conference

Session Organizer and Moderator

This person is an APA member who submits the proposal on behalf of the speakers (for sessions with multiple speakers, we encourage designated speaking roles for at least two APA members) and who will preside over the session. The Session Organizer and Moderator will attend the conference and is required to register. This individual is responsible for completing the proposal requirements and confirming speakers' participation before submitting the proposal. The Session Organizer and Moderator is authorized to request session updates, including the addition or removal of speakers.

  • Submits proposal
  • Will moderate/attend NPC20
  • Is required to register for the conference

Moderator

This person may be either an APA member or nonmember (note, for sessions with multiple speakers, we encourage designated speaking roles for at least two APA members) who will attend the conference and is required to register. A Moderator will only preside over the session and is not authorized to request session updates or addition or removal of other speakers.

  • Will moderate/attend NPC20
  • Is required to register for the conference

Poster Participant Roles

Lead Poster Presenter

This person is an APA member, submits the proposal on behalf of the poster presenters (note, for the proposal to be considered at least one participant must be an APA member). Though many may have participated in the project, only list those that are coming to the meeting in your proposal. The Lead Poster Presenter will attend the conference and is required to register. Lead Poster Presenters are not required to be in the Exhibit Hall throughout the day but are encouraged to be present during the assigned date and time dedicated to Poster Presentations to answer attendee questions. The Lead Poster Presenter is responsible for the display set up of the poster in the Exhibit Hall. The Lead Poster Presenter is the only one authorized to request the addition/removal of poster presenters or other presentation updates.

  • Submits proposal
  • Will attend NPC20
  • Is required to register for the conference

Poster Presenter

This person may be an APA member or nonmember (note, for the proposal to be considered at least one participant must be an APA member). The Poster Presenter will attend the conference and is required to register. Poster Presenters are not required to be in the Exhibit Hall throughout the day but are encouraged to be present during the assigned date and time dedicated to Poster Presentations to answer attendee questions. A Poster Presenter is not authorized to request addition/removal of other presenters or other poster updates.

  • Will attend NPC20
  • Is required to register for the conference