2020 National Planning Conference

Tracks

A Conference Within a Conference

Each NPC20 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.

Climate Adaptation and Hazard Mitigation
GET READY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate Adaptation and Hazard Mitigation Description

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 new weather cycles, while droughts, floods, and seismic activity are occurring in unfamiliar locations. 

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. 

View Climate Adaptation and Hazard Mitigation Sessions
Design, Development, and Preservation
CREATE OR PRESERVE A BELOVED COMMUNITY
Design, Development, and Preservation Description

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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Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
EXPAND DIVERSITY AND SOCIAL EQUITY IN PLANNING AND COMMUNITIES
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Description

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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Healthy Living with Natural Environments
PLAN FOR IMPROVED PUBLIC HEALTH
Healthy Living with Natural Environments Description

Across the country, local governments are adopting goals that integrate public health into processes. Planners will promote decisions that protect the natural environment, conserve resources, and build sustainable communities in both rural and urban areas.

Topics will include 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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Housing and Community Development
TACKLE HOUSING ISSUES
Housing and Community Development Description

Solving the issues of insufficient affordable housing, homelessness, and social inequity is essential for improving quality of life and expanding economic and social mobility. Providing local communities with a pathway toward inclusive prosperity requires the collaboration of many — from legislators to residents. 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 LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE
International, Comparative, and Global Planning Description

Rapid urbanization and cross-border movement of people, goods, and global environmental challenges have made the planning world smaller. How can our communities and planners respond to global pressures?

Explore international challenges of development, urbanization, environmental pollution, and climate change. Sessions will discuss innovative responses to informality, land tenure, migration, disaster resilience, artificial intelligence, varying legal frameworks, and emerging concepts.

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Managing Communities in Transition
MEET TODAY'S CHALLENGES IN LONG-RANGE PLANS
Managing Communities in Transition Description

While local economies are greatly influenced by national and state policies, communities are challenged to find the best local economic development choices.

Dive into a wide range of sessions that cover economic transformation of neighborhoods or communities; compatible redevelopment; approaches to maximizing economic opportunities; real estate market analysis; comprehensive planning; and building political support for transformational economic development.

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Planning Practice and  Careers
ADVANCE YOUR CAREER
Planning Practice and  Careers Description

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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Politics, Policy, and Government
DISCOVER INNOVATIVE PLANNING
Politics, Policy, and Government Description

Many federal, state, and local policy issues are of central concern to planners. In this contentious era, it's more important than ever for planners to stay current on new issues and trends — especially ones likely to impact their work during the next decade.

These sessions will offer new ideas about policy topics, insight into the workings of government, and a platform to support planning advocates' actions on policy issues.

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Research to Improve Planning
DIVE INTO RESEARCH
Research to Improve Planning Description

How can research aimed at improving planning practice bring researchers and practitioners closer together? Whether conducted by scholars or practitioners, presentations will include researchers and subjects, or those who experimented with implementing research results.

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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Small Town and Rural Planning
SMALL TOWN GROWTH AND CHANGE
Small Town and Rural Planning Description

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 Innovation
MAKE NEW TECH FOR YOU
Technology and Innovation Description

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.

Explore the potential and impact of new 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 PLANNING SKILLS
Transportation Description

Acquire the new skills you need to keep up with rapid changes in transportation planning spurred by new technologies and changing personal preferences. Public transit, biking, and pedestrian travel and safety have become prime considerations in street design.

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 NPC20 program is relevant, diverse, timely, and reflects what conference attendees seek to learn.