Rank #1: People Behind the Plans: Sadhu Johnston
The City of Vancouver, British Columbia, has a lot to brag about. City manager Sadhu Johnston knows that many of its successes are due to smart, collaborative planning, such as the work the city did to get car trips to the current rate of 45 percent of all trips, down from 90 percent in the 1970s. There’s the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, which Sadhu helped implement when he started in Vancouver; the plan seeks to set Vancouver apart as a global leader in sustainability efforts. It aims to reduce carbon emissions, add green jobs, and reverse urban tree canopy loss, among many other items.
But the city is also grappling with serious issues, such as the housing and opioid crises. Sadhu tells host Courtney Kashima, AICP, that the current average home price in Vancouver stands at $1.5 million. But the city council is taking action. Among the ground-breaking solutions they've implemented to stem the tide of rising housing costs are building modular housing — which take only three months to erect — and implementing an empty homes tax.
Courtney and Sadhu also discuss his time in Chicago, where he worked on the Chicago Climate Action Plan and helmed the Department of Environment, and before that, his time in Cleveland, where he worked with the Cleveland Green Building Coalition.
Rank #2: Tuesdays at APA: Strengthening Local Capacity for Data-Driven Decision Making
February 24, 2015
This talk drew upon lessons from the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP), a collaboration of the Urban Institute and organizations in 35 cities. NNIP partners help local actors use neighborhood data to improve communities through policy, planning, and advocacy.
From her experience in NNIP, Kathryn Pettit of the Urban Institute discussed the types of information infrastructure needed to make good decisions in a local community — including open government data, integrated data systems, community indicators, and neighborhood data systems.
Examples from local partners demonstrated how stakeholders are using local data on health, housing, and education to set priorities and make better decisions, including examples from the Washington and Baltimore areas. For more information about NNIP, visit www.neighborhoodindicators.org.
Rank #3: Tuesdays at APA: Finding Economic Value in Parks
Rank #4: Planning for Parks in Washington D.C.'s NoMa
Rank #5: Tuesdays at APA: Principles to Guide the Future of Planning Practice
September 23, 2014
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) projects a population increase of 1.96 million people and 1.24 million jobs in the Northeastern Illinois region by the year 2030. And the cumulative impact of planning decisions throughout the region will determine the degree to which the built environment will satisfy the broad objectives of (1) meeting human needs efficiently; (2) creating economically viable and sustainable communities; (3) shaping the built environment in harmony with the landscape and the natural and cultural environments that frame the context of a specific project or area; and (4) nourishing the human spirit by creating beauty, diversity, order, justice, and opportunity.
In this program, Pete Pointner, FAICP, presented seven key principles to guide the future of planning practice. Drawing on his book Planning Connections, Pointner emphasized the cumulative effects of principle-based planning decisions, focusing on the important role that planners play in supporting people, the environment, and our economic well-being.
Rank #6: Reconsidering Jane Jacobs: A Discussion with Max Page, Rudayna Abdo, and Jamin Creed Rowan
Rank #7: Tuesdays at APA: Parking Management Strategies to Support Livable Communities
April 22, 2014
As one of the largest single land uses in our municipal "footprints," parking deserves more attention than is typically bestowed upon it. Besides encouraging auto use, having an excessive supply of parking influences the character, form, function and flow of our communities. It makes walking and bicycling unpleasant and unsafe, it adds to flooding and pollution problems, and it makes housing more expensive. At the same time, parking is necessary to support a community's local businesses; finding the right balance between supply and demand — as an economist would — is the next step.
In the Chicago area, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) has been working with several communities through its Local Technical Assistance program to understand the unique parking challenges and identify potential solutions.
In this program Lindsay Bayley, from CMAP, discussed parking management strategies and presented the findings from two very different projects: downtown suburban Hinsdale, Illinois, and the Chicago neighborhood of Wicker Park/Bucktown.
Rank #8: Planner Profiles: Miguel Vazquez, AICP
Rank #9: People Behind the Plans: Mark de la Vergne
Rank #10: Planning the Autonomous Future: Episode 3 featuring Jeff Tumlin
Rank #11: A Journey From Planning to Public Service: Interview with Jack Molenaar, AICP
Rank #12: Tuesdays at APA: Beyond Burnham
February 23, 2010
Since the publication of Burnham and Bennett's Plan of Chicago in 1909, powerful institutions such as the Chicago Plan Commission and Regional Transportation Authority, among others, have emerged to promote metropolitan goals in the Chicago region. In their new illustrated book on the topic, Joseph Schwieterman and Alan Mammoser show how the human face of planning appears in the interplay between public officials and citizen advocates.
Schwieterman and Mammoser shared how a century of visionary planning for metropolitan Chicago has shaped the region's identity and character. From Daniel H. Burnham and Edward H. Bennett's famed 1909 Plan of Chicago to the push for superhighways and airports to battles over urban sprawl, they described the big personalities and the "big plans" they espoused.
Rank #13: Tuesdays at APA: "Wetrofitting" Urban Neighborhoods
August 26, 2014
Until recently, climate change has correlated to polar bears and melting ice caps — heart rending, but safely distant. Yet climate-related extreme weather, combined with urban development, is starting to show its force, as realized by the severe droughts in California and the misery caused to millions of home owners and businesses as a result of urban flooding. With these impacts comes the potential for public mobilization and a renewed focus on the way we plan our towns and cities. But can we channel individual concerns over wet basements and leaky pipes into a broader public participation and advocacy movement?
This July, the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) launched Rain Ready (rainready.org), aimed at building an alliance of individuals and communities working together to find solutions to the problems of too much or too little water. Rain Ready is inspired by the growing number of resident actions groups in the Chicago region mobilizing as a result of the impacts of flooding in their area. It seeks to offer a response to their question: "What should we do?" In 2013, CNT launched Wetrofit — the nation's first service for property owners affected by urban flooding, and in 2014, CNT designed and promoted the Urban Flooding Awareness Act, which was passed unanimously by the Illinois General Assembly and requires the State of Illinois to carry out a study on the solutions to urban flooding.
In this program, Harriet Festing of CNT presented an overview of her organization's water-related work and discussed opportunities and challenges for planners as they engage their communities around the topic of urban water management.
Rank #14: Disruptive Transportation Technologies: An Interview with Zagster's Jon Terbush
Rank #15: Tuesdays at APA: Urban Morphology
August 24, 2010
Urban morphology seeks to understand the spatial structure and character of an urban area by examining its patterns and the process of its development. While urban morphology has been a disciplinary specialization amongst American geographers for years, only in southern Europe, where there was no historical separation of planning and architecture, has the work of urban morphologists been brought to bear in the training of architects.
In the ongoing work of the International Seminar on Urban Form, Christopher Miller, from Judson University, is exploring with his students a more research-oriented approach to the American architectural value in contextual design. Miller shared recent student work that examines questions like: Can typology be used to solve the problem of the big box in a 19th-century fabric? How is morphology a condition for pedestrian connectivity? Can the connectivity inherent in a historic fabric be the prescriptive standard for infill.
Rank #16: Planning the Autonomous Future: Episode 1
Rank #17: Tuesdays at APA: The Evolution of Our Suburbs
The Evolution of Our Suburbs
March 16, 2010
For the last few decades the Chicago region has been suburbanizing with little regard to energy use, climate change, and urban form. The relentless pursuit of property tax revenue and a focus on single uses and single-site developments distracts many suburban communities from the task of planning for a sustainable and livable built environment.
As planners, what should be our approach to the future of our suburbs? Can we afford to continue the growth and development patterns of the past few decades? Are there new growth patterns and new development tools that we can get ready now to be prepared for a different future?
Mahender Vasandani from M Square Urban Design shared thoughts on these and other questions in an effort to start a dialogue among planners about where we go from here and how.
Rank #18: People Behind the Plans: Trevor Dick, AICP
Trevor Dick, AICP, hates dry planning events. That means whenever he's involved in a National Planning Conference session — like the always popular Fast, Funny, and Passionate series — or an APA Illinois Chapter conference event, he makes things fun by using some ... unexpected tactics. Trevor and host Courtney Kashima, AICP, bring the same kind of lively spirit to this episode of People Behind the Plans. Not only does Trevor divulge some of his off-the-wall presentation antics, he also reveals his favorite planning references in pop culture and regales Courtney with stories of public meetings gone awry.
The two switch gears to discuss the exciting developments underway in Aurora, Illinois, where Trevor is Director of Development Strategy and Facilitation. Currently one of the city's big projects is revitalizing the Fox Valley Mall, which sits squarely within the Route 59 commercial corridor, the second biggest retail hub in the state after Chicago's Michigan Avenue. Trevor also talks about the city's plan to create a downtown International Marketplace District and how it will serve as an inclusive space for all residents. He goes on to praise the diversity of the city's workforce, as well as his staff's efforts to ensure that every resident's voice is heard as they work to make positive change in the city.