Planning is our Middle Name: MPC represents at the 2013 American Planning Association national conference - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Planning is our Middle Name: MPC represents at the 2013 American Planning Association national conference

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Chicago skyline, from the north

While MPC works on a broad range of issues from community development to transportation financing to stormwater mitigation and more, the thread that connects it all is found right in our name – planning. MPC’s long history and expertise in planning in the Chicago region and beyond is reflected in MPC’s extensive participation in the upcoming American Planning Association (APA) 2013 National Planning Conference.

This year, from April 13 to 17, our fair city of Chicago will play host to the APA conference. The theme, an homage to Daniel Burnham, is “Plan Big Chicago,” and the conference includes tracks on transportation, technology, water, public space, aging in place and many more. The conference presents a great opportunity to meet with planners and related practitioners from near and far to talk about all the issues we know and care about.

MPC is formally participating in 15 events, from panels to mobile workshops to symposiums, as well as helping design the mobile tour app for the conference and chairing the local exhibit committee. If you’re attending the conference, we’d love to see you at our events. For a quick guide organized by day, see our event calendar. For more information on each of our sessions organized by topic, see below.

Housing and Community Development

Housing and community development are the issues MPC was founded upon, so it’s no surprise we’re involved in three events on this topic:

Sunday, April 14
2:30 to 3:45 p.m.
Panel: Necessary Elements for Safe, Walkable Streets
Marisa Novara and others will discuss how to make communities more walkable and pedestrian-friendly beyond engineering improvements, including the effects of crime, snow removal and vacant properties.

Monday, April 15
9 to 10:30 a.m.
Panel: Public Private Partnerships in Support of Housing Recovery
A panel organized by MPC’s Joanna Trotter will discuss two strategies MPC uses to respond to the Chicago region’s foreclosure crisis: Employer-Assisted Housing and Commute Options.

Tuesday, April 16
10:30 to 11:45 a.m.
Panel: Mixed-Income, Mixed-Tenure Neighborhoods that Work
Joanna will also sit on this panel covering promising tools and strategies for promoting housing choice while ensuring neighborhood stability in neighborhoods in transition.

Placemaking and Civic Engagement

You’ll have a tough decision to make. Two MPCers, Chrissy Mancini Nichols and Marisa Novara, will each present on issues of placemaking and public engagement at the same time:

Sunday, April 14
9:45 to 11 a.m.
Panel: Social Media and Mobile Apps for Civic Engagement
Chrissy and her co-panelists will talk about a new mobile app that planners can use to include more community members in the planning process.

Sunday, April 14
9:45 to 11 a.m.
Panel: Space-in-Between Placemaking
Marisa will sit on this panel, part of the Public Space Biennial of the Americas Symposium, where she’ll talk alongside some of our contest winners about MPC’s 2012 Space in Between contest, for which people submitted creative projects transforming previously vacant spaces.

Regional Planning and Open Data

Successful regional planning requires data to make strategic decisions, and MPC’s Peter Skosey will be talking about all of the above throughout the conference. He’s the co-chair of the Local Exhibits Committee, which has designed a large, walk-through exhibit on the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s GO TO 2040 regional plan and local implementation. Read our post on the APA blog and come hang out at the exhibit throughout the conference. Peter also will take part in several panels during the conference:

Sunday, April 14
1 to 2:15 p.m.
Panel: GO TO 2040: Two Years Later
Peter and other members of the panel will discuss the status of GO TO 2040 implementation and the need for broad community partnerships to put the plan in action.

Tuesday, April 16
4 to 5:30 p.m.
Panel: Big Data, Open Data, and Planning
Peter will take part in a moderated conversation among several planning directors and other leaders on how to harness data for local planning.


On Wednesday, April 17, you’ll have another tough decision to make. Both MPC President MarySue Barrett and Tim Grzesiakowski are presenting on transportation-related panels:

Wednesday, April 17
7:30 to 8:45 a.m.
Panel: Moving Commuters to Ride-Sharing
MarySue and others will discuss alternatives to single-occupancy travel, such as Commute Options in Chicago and Real-time Ridesharing in D.C.

Wednesday, April 17
7:30 to 8:45 a.m.
Panel: Travel Demand Management Programs
Tim will sit on a panel discussing the bigger picture of how and when to strategically use travel demand management strategies and measure performance.

Water: Too Much, Too Little, Too Polluted Symposium

Water is increasingly recognized as an important theme for planners, and as such, the APA has put together a track specifically highlighting planning in water, Water: Too Much, Too Little, Too Polluted Symposium. Josh Ellis and I helped organize a number of sessions for the symposium:

Monday, April 15
2:30 to 3:45 p.m.
Panel: The Stormwater Infrastructure Spectrum
Josh is organizing and moderating the panel The Stormwater Infrastructure Spectrum, discussing the range of stormwater management tools from green to grey infrastructure and how to strategically integrate the two for the best results.

Monday, April 15
4 to 5:15 p.m.
Panel: Planning and Implementing Integrated Water Management
Josh is speaking on this panel, which discusses holistic management of water systems by thinking strategically about infrastructure, stormwater, water supplies, land management and more.

Tuesday, April 16
10:30 to 11:45 a.m.
Panel: Making Assets out of a Liability
Abby Crisostomo will moderate a panel of experts who will discuss how to turn community liabilities like wastewater treatment, vacant land upkeep and stormwater diversion into assets through reuse and repurposing, including discussion of local and national examples and regulatory issues.

Mobile Workshops

If you’re tired of sitting in talks all day and want to get out and explore Chicago, MPCers are taking part in a number of mobile workshops, as well:

Monday, April 15
9:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Tour: Paddle Calumet Waterways
Josh Ellis will assist with the tour as partners from Blue Island and the Cook County Forest Preserve lead people on canoe and kayak tours of the Calumet-Saganashkee Channel and Little Calumet River.

Tuesday, April 16
8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Tour: Developing Vibrant Retail in Historic Bronzeville
Marisa Novara will assist with this tour. Tour leaders will talk about the work of the Bronzeville Alliance and MPC in revitalizing the historic Bronzeville neighborhood.

Wednesday, April 17
8:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Tour: Behind the Scenes at Union Station
Peter Skosey will assist with the tour, where he’ll talk about MPC’s work with partner organizations to reimagine Union Station to accommodate current and future passenger needs and incorporate placemaking.

The mobile app
And if you’d rather strike out on your own, MPC is helping Parsons Brinckerhoff and the American Planning Association promote a Chicago Planning Tour app to debut at APA’s 2013 National Planning Conference. The app highlights planning-related events and projects in metropolitan Chicago, serving as a mobile guide for conference goers. Users will be able to get walking and transit directions to specific locations, view exhibits and recently completed planning and development projects, and share their experiences on Facebook and Twitter. Version 1 for iPhone is now available on iTunes.


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