2018 National Planning Conference

Back to Basics: Walkable Suburbanism

Saturday, April 21, 2018 from 10:45 a.m. - noon CDT

CM | 1.25

Activity Type: Educational Sessions

Activity ID: NPC188019

Location: R09

Now Available from APA Learn

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  • How and why communities are moving beyond the traditional model of the “bedroom suburb” in favor of more walkable, connected, and mixed-use communities
  • Successful strategies for walkable, connected, and mixed-use suburbanism
  • Tools that can empower citizens, investors, and leaders to design, plan, and create walkable suburban places


Shifting demographics, cultural changes, evolving shopping trends, and a growing preference toward walkability are driving suburban towns and cities to redefine and remake themselves. While there is no “one-size-fits-all” strategy, communities nationwide are returning to the basics of urbanism. Some are converting aging strip malls and areas of excessive parking into walkable nodes; others are building new amenity-rich activity centers; still others are reinvesting in existing downtowns (and some are even doing all three). This session will feature a panel of experts working on a portfolio of bold new suburban projects. Featured case studies will include Legacy Town Center in Plano, Texas; multiple approaches underway in Alpharetta, Georgia; and specific design techniques that are completely transforming conventional understandings of suburbs across the board. Following a series of rapid-fire and highly visual presentations, attendees are invited to participate in a moderated discussion with the panelists and strategize around the bold approaches that are transforming suburbs into walkable mixed-use places.

Session Speakers

Kathryn Cook
City of Alpharetta
Alpharetta, GA

Judith K. De Jong
University of Illinois at Chicago
Chicago, IL

Eric S. Bosman, AICP
Atlanta, GA