Stepping Outside Your Discipline
Today, more than ever, we are faced with environmental and economic challenges that will define our generation, shape our future, and test our resilience as cities, regions, states and as a nation. At the top of the list are the economy, climate change, jobs, housing, equitable development, public health and water shortages.
No single professional group, discipline, organization, or governmental department can solve these problems because they are complex, interdisciplinary, difficult to define, and sometimes lack clear solutions.
The New Partners for Smart Growth Conference has made it a primary goal to bring you together with multiple disciplines to explore how partnerships can provide the political will, technical expertise, and the most effective action plans necessary to overcome inertia and change business as usual. These partnerships also help eliminate single-sector “silo-thinking” and the language barriers that make it difficult for various professions and interests to communicate with each other.
By promoting multidisciplinary, non-traditional partnerships, we believe it is possible for you to achieve even greater success in creating more livable communities.
We are proud that each year, the sponsors, cosponsors, speakers and participants of this conference are increasingly diverse and represent an ever-growing variety of interests and perspectives. This reflects the expanding circle of people who see smart growth as key to addressing the tough environmental, economic, and social problems communities everywhere are facing.
To promote this goal and get the most out of all that this years’ conference has to offer, we challenge you to do the following:
Assemble a multidisciplinary group of people from your community and attend the conference together.
We encourage you to start thinking and working in an interdisciplinary manner before you even show up at the conference! Consider putting together a “contingency” or a group of five or more participants from your community who make up a diverse group of disciplines (i.e. planner, architect, community member, councilmember, engineer.)
Step out of your area of expertise (or your primary issue-area) and attend sessions outside of your discipline.
We have made a commitment to make the conference sessions as multidisciplinary in nature as possible in hopes of drawing a diverse audience to every session. Because of this, you are likely to learn something that will help you in your work at any session you attend (even those that are listed outside of your defined issue-area)!
Network with participants representing other disciplines to explore how, working together, we can have an even greater impact.
The multidisciplinary nature of this conference makes it a phenomenal networking opportunity. Take advantage of this and meet people that work outside your discipline who are working to achieve the same goals. Involving new knowledge and expertise, a new perspective, and new allies—can be extremely valuable to help plan or implement a successful project or make important policy changes in your community.
The program is filled with opportunities to explore new ideas, strategies and partnerships—don’t miss out on them by sticking with just one “track” of sessions. The problems we are facing at the local, state and national levels are ones that cannot be overcome by the efforts of any one group. In order to achieve the long-term goal of creating vibrant and sustainable communities, we have to harness innovation and the collective efforts of all those who have a stake in the outcome. After the conference, let’s all go home and together work toward our common goal of creating safer, healthier, equitable and more livable communities everywhere!