This annual premier smart growth event organized and hosted by the Local Government Commission focuses on providing practical tools and innovative strategies for creating great communities. The 2015 conference featured over 80 sessions and workshops, as well as several tours and interactive conference features, that provided insight about some of the newest, most forward thinking smart growth topics.
Click Here for some interesting highlights pulled from the post-conference general participant evaluation survey report.
Nearly all of the 2015 presentations given at the New Partners Conference are available for FREE!
Watch all four of the 2015 New Partners Conference plenaries for free on YouTube!
The Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems through funding from the Kellogg Foundation, and the Local Government Commission presented the second year of a pre-conference working on healthy, equitable food systems. This year’s workshop, titled “Opportunities to Grow Resilient, Equitable Communities 2.0” built on last year’s workshop and further inspired participants to advance local and regional food systems aligned with smart growth objectives and strategies.
Efforts are underway around the country to remove food access barriers for vulnerable populations, and many communities are discovering the smart-growth benefits of addressing the demand and supply of healthy, fresh, local food.
– Laura Goddeeris, Specialist, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems
I learned a great deal and appreciated the break out sessions. I also learned from Table discussion and made new contacts.
– 2015 Conference participant
Over 30 local policymakers joined the conference for “Light after the Storm: Strategies for Revitalization after the Recession,” a new workshop specifically for local elected officials. This exciting new conference addition was designed to give local elected officials from across the country a chance to hear from their colleagues who are making sustainable, mixed-use, transit-oriented development happen. Some of the speakers included the Former Governor of the State of Maryland and the President of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute, Parris Glendening, Former Mayor of Pittsburgh, Tom Murphy, and Co-Founder and CEO of Oppsites, Ian Wolfe Ross.
The always-popular Equitable Development Workshop, “Equitable Development: Tools and Strategies for Making a Visible Difference in Communities” looked to increase collective understanding about the implementation and accomplishments of equitable development. Through meaningful dialogue and instruction, the workshop repositioned the conversation of how to make our communities more sustainable and viable now and for generations to come through active promotion of equitable development. The half-day workshop featured Mustafa Ali, Senior Advisor to the Administration of Environmental Justice at the EPA; Ted Howard, Executive Director and Co-Founder of The Democracy Collaborative; Chanchanit Martorell, Founder and Executive Director of the Thai Community Development Center; Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, U.S. EPA and many more exciting speakers. Over 200 participants attended the workshop, and left reinvigorated to promote equitable development in their own communities.
It’s exciting that Baltimore is the site of this year’s New Partners conference because in many ways it is the embodiment of the long evolution of equitable development and the inclusion of environmental justice in these important disciplines – a fitting setting to continue that work by focusing on real-world implementation of equity and justice in the development of our communities.
– Matthew Tejada, Director, Office of Environmental Justice, Environmental Protection Agency
This workshop is diverse and includes topics that would be beneficial to all Smart Growth conference attendees. The focus on implementation added to depth to the workshop topics. The workshop was executed very well, and the format provided for interaction among participant.
– 2015 Conference Participant
More than 325 participants attended at least one of the conference’s 15 option tours of local model projects. These tours were held on Thursday and Saturday and had conference participants seeing Baltimore via walking, biking and bus.
I would highly suggest signing on for a tour. The tours give real life examples of existing challenges and what communities are doing to address these changes.
– 2015 Conference Participant
A new addition to this year’s conference was “Understanding the Challenge – A Poverty Simulation Experience,” a three hour simulation where conference participants were asked to step into the shoes of low-income families, and try to provide food, shelter and other basic necessities while interacting with “community resources.”
Heartbreaking, but important. The facilitators were incredibly professional, prepared and engaging. This is possibly the best thing that I have ever done at a conference.
– 2015 conference participant
The role-playing exercise, choreographed by the Missouri Association for Community Action and supported by Kaiser Permanente, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Local Government Commission, turned out to be a vivid experience, focused on how stressful it is to be poor in U.S. Cities.
– Anthony Flint, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
The kick-off plenary featured Scot Spencer from the Annie E. Casey Foundation; Program Co-Director of Causa Justa :: Just Cause, Dawn Phillips; VP and Market Leader of Enterprise Community Partners, David Bowers; Co-Founder of Seawall Development Company, Thibault Manekin; Executive Director of the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance, Andre Leroux; and President of Baltimore Development Corp. William Cole. They discussed their diverse perspectives on the housing affordability crisis and how to create public dialogue to develop promising solutions.
To make smart-growth development work for everybody, it must be equitable, accessible and affordable, not just economically and environmentally viable.
– Scot Spencer, Associate Director of Advocacy and Influence, The Annie E. Casey Foundation
I thought this plenary was terrific. Very well spoken speakers that brought a number of different perspectives to the conversation. Truthful and real about how these conversations must happen.
– 2015 Conference Participant
For the third year in a row, Parklets were a big hit at the conference. Conference participants were seen networking, working relaxing and even exercising at the parklets created within the Hilton Baltimore Hotel. The American Society of Landscape Architects coordinated this effort, with several local, regional and national organizations, agencies and firms participating as sponsors.
It’s exciting to see a growing number of communities rethinking how to use public space. One of the great benefits of parklets is how easily they can be installed or modified with little capital expense to meet community needs.
– Deborah Steinberg, Professional Practice Manager, American Society of Landscape Architects
This plenary featured Joel Beauvais, Associate Administrator for the Office of Policy, US EPA; Pam O’Connor, Councilmember, City of Santa Monica, CA; Harriet Tregoning, Director of the Office of Economic Resilience, US Office of Housing and Urban Development; and Kate Dineen, Director, NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program, New York Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, who talked about innovative public-private solutions to climate change and discussed how businesses, governments and communities can work together to become more resilient.
[We] need to empower our most impacted and vulnerable communities to really have a seat at the table and to be able to influence their immediate recovery [as well as] to craft a vision for a longer-term resilient future.
– Kate Dineen, Director, NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program, New York Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery
Conference participants loved trying out cutting edge tools for scenario planning and public engagement during the Technology Fair, sponsored by PlaceMatters, U.S. EPA, Open Planning Tools Group and Oppsites. Tools included mapping and alternative analysis tools to aid planning, interactive and data rich 3-D visualization, and online tools and mobile apps to engage stakeholders typically not reached through public meetings.
I was able to walk away from the tech fair with ideas that I would have never thought about.
– Lisa Nisenson, Co-Founder, GreaterPlaces
People can get hands on exposure to some of the great tools and techniques that are being used.
– Ken Snyder, CEO, PlaceMatters
This Saturday morning plenary featured Luke Norris from Code for America, Steve Hansen a councilmember from the City of Sacramento, CA, Thom Guertin from the State of Rhode Island and Denise Taylor from the City of Somerville, MA. They shared information on how cities across the nation are making city data available in an effort to catalyze innovative solutions to local challenges.
Local governments are employing modern tools and approaches to solving problems and building, or buying technology to improve the lives of community residents, visitors and businesses.
– Luke Norris, Government Relations Director, Code for America
The conference ended with an exciting talk from the Mayor of Hoboken, NJ, Dawn Zimmer who shared Hoboken’s experience before and after Superstorm Sandy, the progress that they have made and the barriers that remain.
We focus a lot on bringing the community together [through] community engagement, reaching out to the community [and] working with community leaders … Your partnership with the local government makes a huge difference, so do as much as you can.
– Dawn Zimmer, Mayor, City of Hoboken, NJ