2020 National Planning Conference

Politics and Power: Planners Influencing Change

Saturday, April 13, 2019 from 10:45 a.m. - noon PDT

CM | 1.25

Activity Type: Educational Sessions

Activity ID: NPC198143

Location: 2002

Add to My Log


  • Hear about the importance of professional planners increasing their advocacy within their communities and learning about how to become an elected or appointed official on the local, state, or national level.
  • Discover how political, strategic, and organizational skills are as important as urban planning skills to create effective change.
  • Learn about best practices, tools, tips, and resources to become more fully engaged in the political process as a planner and community advocate.


Planners have a long history of being advocates for communities, but what happens when a professional planner takes that passion to the next political level? Hear about influential planning leaders who are running for office, councils, commissions, and organizations. They have a planning background, bring a planner’s perspective, and are making a huge impact in the political arena. Hear discussion and debate among distinguished panel members, featuring a cross-section of local, state, and national elected and appointed leaders. Hear from a coalition advocate, planning commissioner, city council member, mayor, and former policy advisor to Vice President Biden. Planners are transitioning from policy advocates to having a vote at the table, transferring those planning skills to political skills, and are seeing things from the other side of the table. Hear elected and appointed officials share the experiences that shaped their decision to get involved in politics, how they work to uplift the voices of their communities to create transformative social and political change from a planning lens, and how planners have the incredible opportunity of influencing decisionmaking through political platforms.

Looking for sessions relating to inclusiveness and social justice? You've found one!
This session has been identified and peer-reviewed as significantly pertaining to inclusiveness and social justice. View all inclusiveness/social justice-related activities.

Session Speakers

Lilly M. Shoup, AICP
Los Angeles, CA

Lisa J. Fisher
San Francisco Planning Department
San Francisco, CA

Jenny A. Brekhus, AICP
City of Reno Cmty Development
Reno, NV

Debra March
City of Henderson
Henderson, NV

Corrin Hoegen Wendell, AICP
Metropolitan Council/Women & Planning Division/YEP!
Saint Paul, MN