2020 National Planning Conference

Tracks

A Conference Within a Conference

Each NPC19 track is a carefully curated selection of sessions and activities focused on an important current or emerging issue.

Follow one track for an in-depth, wide-ranging view of an aspect of planning that interests you most or occupies your professional day. Or choose sessions from a variety of tracks. Use the descriptions below to guide you through selection.

Academic and Professional Research
Dive Into Research On Planning Practice
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How can research aimed at understanding and improving planning practice bring planning researchers and planning practitioners closer together? Whether conducted by scholars or practitioners, presentations will include researchers and the planners who served as subjects of the research or who experimented with implementing the results of research.

Sessions in this track will contain research seeking to better understand cities, imagine improved planning systems, re-interpret planning's past, develop new planning approaches, or assess the impact of plans.

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Design, Development, and Preservation
Create or Preserve a Beloved Community
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People embrace communities of lasting value that reflect historic preservation, cultural resources, community 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. These sessions will address urban design, public art, historic preservation, and new urbanism.

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Disaster Resilience and Climate Change
Get Ready for Climate Change
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Climate change and natural hazards affect all areas of the country. Currently, major coastal cities are planning for sea-level rise, landlocked states are experiencing extreme weather and changing weather cycles, while droughts, floods, and seismic activity are occurring in new locations. Even communities that regularly focus on other planning issues should be aware of potential impacts from natural hazards and a changing climate and be ready to address them.

Find out what planners have learned about reducing vulnerability and increasing ability to withstand natural hazards, adapting local economies and land-use policies, retrofitting buildings, maintaining water delivery and other public infrastructure, and enhancing emergency communication systems.

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Housing, Community, and Economic Development
Tackle Housing Issues
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America is confronting a housing crisis. Although the scope and specifics vary from city to city and market to market, the national reality remains that current policies are undermining the broad goal of ensuring housing choice and affordability for all. Addressing this crisis must be a priority for policy makers.

The shortage of worthy affordable housing reinforces inequality and limits access to opportunity, while meager housing options hurt the economy and constrain social and economic mobility. Good planning is essential for increasing housing options, boosting affordability, and unlocking opportunity.

Sessions in this track will address housing issues and offer pragmatic solutions that planners can adapt now in their communities.

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International, Comparative, and Global Planning
Take a Deeper Look at the Bigger Picture
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Rapid urbanization, cross-border movement of people and goods, and global environmental challenges have made the planning world smaller. How can our communities respond to global pressures? How can planners respond to global problems?

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. Sessions will 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.

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Managing Change in Communities
Meet Today's Challenges in Long-Range Plans
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A wide range of sessions covers the fundamentals of long-range planning and touches on planning issues that concern all communities.

These include reurbanizing suburban communities; compatible redevelopment in older communities; revitalization; and state and federal laws that affect regional and local planning.

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Planning, Health, and the Natural Environment
Plan for Improved Public Health
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Across the country, local governments are beginning to incorporate goals and objectives that integrate public health into all types of plans, policies, and processes. These efforts will impact how people make choices about 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.

Presenters will address these topics as well as environmental justice, parks, open space, and greenways. Topics highlighted include local, regional, and national efforts to balance the human needs with long-term environmental viability. Attendees will explore how plans and regulations impact the equitable distribution of benefits associated with ecosystem services.

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Politics, Policy, and Government
Discover Where Innovative Planning Works, and Why
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Many federal, state, and local policy issues are of central concern to planners. In our currently contentious era, it's more important than ever for planners to be up-to-date on new issues and trends of thought, especially on issues likely to impact their work during the next decade.

These sessions will offer new ideas about policy topics every planner should understand, insight 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.

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Planning for Inclusiveness and Social Justice
Expand Diversity and Social Equity in Planning and Communities
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Learn about efforts to foster diversity and equity within communities and the institutions of planning.

Sessions emphasize issues of particular concern to minority communities (e.g. gentrification and environmental justice); examine various aspects of planning through the lens of equity, diversity, and justice; and focus on the distinctive circumstances and concerns of planners with disabilities and in certain demographic populations.

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Planning Practice and Careers
Advance Your Career With a Little Help From Your Friends
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Many planners explore new career paths or pursue specialized interests.

Sessions in this track bring planners together to share experiences and knowledge essential to their professional development. Learn more about the remarkable diversity of planning careers, get help making important career decisions, and acquire sound advice about finding the right answers to ethical dilemmas.

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Small Town and Rural Planning
Explore Small Town Growth and Change
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Explore diverse rural and small-town planning topics. Topics 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.

Presenters will discuss innovative and tried-and-true strategies to address the unique issues and opportunities facing these communities.

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Technology and Planning
Make New Tech For You
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It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the abundance of data sets and analysis tools that are now available to planners. With so many choices, how can you determine what data and which tools best advance your community's goals?

Explore new planning concepts and technologies and get the knowledge and essential skills you need to use complex data and sophisticated applications.

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Transportation
Enhance Your 21st Century Transportation Planning Skills
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Acquire the new skills you need to keep up with rapid changes in transportation planning spurred by new technologies and changing personal preferences.

For example, public transit, biking, and pedestrian travel and safety have become prime considerations in street design; planners must adapt. Sessions in this track also cover how large transportation planning projects — including rail and airport planning — are planned and executed.

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Thank You
Educational Content is the Core of the Conference
Educational Content is the Core of the Conference

Thank you to those who dedicated their time and effort to the peer review process — track chairs, vice-chairs, and proposal reviewers. With their commitment to the educational content we ensure the NPC19 program is relevant, diverse, timely, and reflects what conference attendees seek to learn.