March 25, 2013

The APA National Planning Conference Puts the Spotlight on Chicago

Thousands of planners from around the world expected to attend

CHICAGO — The American Planning Association's (APA) National Planning Conference returns to Chicago, April 13-17, 2013, after more than a decade. The world's largest planning event will convene at the Hyatt Regency, located on the Magnificent Mile, attracting planners and leaders from around the world.

The five-day conference features nearly 300 conference sessions and 70 mobile workshops that focus on subjects such as aging in place, fiscal challenges, resilient communities and food systems. Designed for planners, elected officials, business leaders and citizens, the conference offers valuable information for everyone, whether from a small community or a large metropolitan area. Conference highlights include:

  • Mobile workshops taking conference attendees into the city and surrounding neighborhoods to experience planning in Chicago firsthand. Guided by local practitioners and experts, the mobile workshops offer conference participants an opportunity to learn, see, and experience for themselves a variety of planning initiatives such as historic preservation, community-managed gardens, and lakeshore reinvestments.
  • The inaugural Public Space Biennial of the Americas, which will address the importance of creating and preserving public spaces. Sessions will explore how public spaces can promote civic engagement and the role of planners and allied professionals in creating and maintaining public spaces.
  • New day-long forums are designed to promote dialogue between planners and other professionals on mutual areas of interest. Forum subjects include research, legal issues, transportation, and neighborhoods.
  • Keynote speakers encouraging attendees to think broadly about the reach and impact of planning in daily life. The opening keynote speaker, Xavier de Souza Briggs, Associate Professor of Sociology and Urban Planning at MIT, will discuss the connection between planning and the economy. The policy keynote speaker, Hon. Mick Cornett, Mayor of Oklahoma City, will share his perspective on how planning plays a central role in community vitality. And the closing keynote speaker, children's author Blue Balliett, discusses the impact a lack of affordable housing has on an often overlooked group — kids.
  • University students encouraging others to reconsider parking spaces by showing how two parking spaces can be put to use, other than for parking cars, in a demonstration inside the convention center. The "parklet" will be staffed by University of Illinois Chicago and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign students and offer recreational opportunities such as mini golf, yoga, and bean bag toss.
  • The AICP Community Planning Workshop on Saturday, April 13, focusing on the East Garfield Park and West Town neighborhoods. Conference attendees volunteer their time to work with community leaders and residents to create a strategy to balance the demands of industry and the emerging arts and culture district.

The 2013 APA National Planning Conference is made possible by the generous support from the following sponsors: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Esri, Parsons Brinckerhoff, CDM Smith, AECOM, International Sign Association, Tetra Tech, Northwestern University School of Continuing Education, and Sequence Staffing.  

On-site registration will be available at the Hyatt Regency.


Roberta Rewers, APA Public Affairs; 312-786-6395;