Call For Session Proposals

Home Call For Session Proposals

The 2016 Call For Session Proposals
is now closed.

Thank you for your submissions! The submittal review process will take place from mid-July through the end of August 2015. The Local Government Commission will notify all those who have submitted sessions by mid-September as to whether their proposal was accepted for inclusion in the conference program.

General Instructions
Key Points
Form Instructions

General Instructions

Download detailed instructions on how to complete the online form. The online submission form MUST be used to submit your proposal to the Local Government Commission (we will not be accepting proposals via fax or email). Incomplete and late submissions will not be accepted.

NEW THIS YEAR! This year’s online submittal process includes some new features. Proposers will be asked to create a login that will allow for saving content prior to submitting. Additionally, session proposers will have the opportunity to collaborate with others (if they so choose) to create a complete sessions proposal. For detailed instructions on these new submittal system features see the Proposal Form Instruction tab.

We encourage potential proposers who do not have a fully formed proposal to submit their idea and view ideas for proposals that others have shared online — then plan to work with others or continue on their own — to finish and submit a final proposal.

Every year we receive more proposals than we are able to accept. As such, please note that proposals will have a higher chance of being accepted if you follow the instructions carefully and consider interactive formats and interesting ways to engage participants in your session.

Key Points

Other Key Points to Consider

  • We are looking for dynamic session proposals under all thematic categories.
  • We are looking for sessions that feature practical tools and innovative strategies, as well as new technologies — to create great communities. We want each session to provide tangible/meaningful “take-aways” for participants that will impact the work they are doing NOW in their communities.
  • We are looking to include more Advanced or 401 level sessions with cutting-edge, complex and new content for participants who have extensive experience in the field and a sophisticated comprehension of smart growth.
  • We are looking for good examples of community/neighborhood-driven revitalization that include creative visioning, design and financing driven by the local community and or impacted neighborhoods, from around the country.
  • We are interested in ensuring that “the role of the arts in place-making” is covered in the program this year. This could fall under several different thematic categories and is specifically listed as a subcategory under Implementing Smart Growth.
  • A strong interactive or engagement component. Some successful interactive components from past years include a debate format, the use of interactive tools during a session, small group discussions or exercises, beginning the session with a short series of audience questions, etc..


Hints and Tips for Creating a Good Proposal

Below are some examples of key components of successful session proposals. These include: catchy titles, engaging session descriptions, interactive session formats, multi-disciplinary panels, learning objectives and how proposals address equity.

Good Examples of Key Components of a Session Proposals

(from previous approved conference sessions)

TITLES — Catchy session titles that convey the topic and sync with the description (no more than 10 words total)

  • Equity (k)NOW! – Collaborating on Equity in the Context of Transit-oriented Communities
  • Singing, Dancing, Eating on Main Street: Creative Placemaking in the Deep South
  • A Debate- Who will lead the Suburban Transformation? The Millennials or the Boomers?
  • The Teacher is In: School Siting Tools You Can Use!
  • Delivering Infrastructure: Who said there was NO Money?
  • Talk-Story: How to Complete Streets and Build Community, We Cannot Work Alone
  • Gettin’ Real in Rifle, Colorado
  • A River Runs Through It: The Boardman River Reborn Creates Prosperity
  • Y-PLAN: Tools for Engaging Youth in Smart Growth Planning, Implementation and Change!
  • Zombie Subdivisions: Can You Restore, Reincarnate, Kill or Prevent Them?
  • The Changing Face of America: Where They Want to Live and How to Plan for It

DESCRIPTIONS — Catchy session descriptions that convey what will be covered/learned without listing all the speakers / and conveys the both session level accurately and interactive component (no more than 250 words total)

  • What happens when you bring together the country’s top walkability and placemaking experts, design engineers and leaders from one of the most economically disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area? This session will present inspiring stories of transforming the crime-stricken “Iron Triangle” neighborhood of Richmond, Ca. into an inviting, safe and flourishing place for youth and families. Speakers will share tools and strategies for direct community participation in design and implementation of pedestrian and placemaking projects, including tactical urbanist techniques to demonstrate, people-test and experience change in the built environment. Participants will learn about robust community-driven and creative partnerships and funding to produce shared visions and implement immediately transformative changes, from street furniture and traffic calming improvements to conversion of streets, parks and trails into active play areas. Translation of community-identified solutions into local government policies and capital improvement projects will also be addressed. At least 30 minutes will be allocated to the Q&A discussion portion of the session to ensure that participants have a chance to discuss their issues and get advice on projects they are working on.
  • Regeneration without gentrification – is it possible, desirable, or even an apt description? Many of America’s struggling post-industrial Legacy Cities are in the midst of an encouraging renaissance. Pittsburgh, Baltimore, St. Louis and others are making advances, whether attracting technological innovation or small-scale urban manufacturing. Yet the revival is uneven: downtowns may be thriving, but adjacent neighborhoods remain blighted; or the new jobs are going to commuters, while the city’s workforce diminishes. The session will examine the contours of how such regeneration has increased, rather than diminished, spatial, economic, and in particular, racial inequities – and how multiple stakeholders might better align to achieve greater equity.
  • In communities all over the country, the danger of violence and crime discourages children from walking and biking in their neighborhood and keeps people off the street, limiting physical activity and restricting errands and trips. Preventing violence goes hand in hand with community betterment, public engagement, street-scale enhancements and improved economic opportunities. Protecting our youth is an issue that cannot be ignored. If we believe that every child should be able to freely live, walk, work and play in their neighborhood, then community safety advocates must become fluent in the language of healthy community design, and built environment advocates can no longer be afraid to hold hands with community safety advocates. This session, organized by Safe Routes to School National Partnership, will bring together experts to unwrap tactics, resources, and funding, learn how to engage priority populations and understand how addressing violence and crime enables more equitable smart growth.
  • Have you ever been on a date with a grantmaker? Then you won’t want to miss this intimate session with federal grantmakers, private funders as well as leaders from the networks of Grantmakers in Aging, and Grantmakers in Health. To get us warmed up there will be an ice breaker survey that will delve into your previous dating experiences with funders. If you have never been on a date that is ok too. Based on your experiences our eligible funders will perform skits role-playing the good, bad and ugly grantseekers. You will learn about foundation types and the “ten commandments” of grantmaking. Do you want to know what funders are looking for? Grantmakers will share their intimate secrets about getting that first date and the words to open doors. You will learn to find successful courtship topics for that first date. You will have the chance to “speed-date” our funders.
  • The two largest demographic groups in the country are the Millennial and Baby Boom generations. Both have demonstrated an increasing preference for walkable urban living and have the potential to drive the market for the transformation of our suburban communities into walkable urban places. If you’re a suburban community trying to change a neighborhood, which demographic do you target? You decide! Two experts representing each position will present demographic analysis, business financial assessments, regional fiscal analysis, and case studies to persuade you that the group they represent will most influence suburban transformation. You will vote before and after the debate. The side that gets more votes in the second round than in the first round will win the debate! Communities looking attract either demographic to their suburban redevelopment will also win by learning the positive and negatives of attracting each demographic group to their community.

INTERACTIVE FORMAT – Innovative interactive formats that will engage participants in various ways.

  • Mini-Charrette’s with set up, audience exercise, Q &A and wrap-up.
  • Debate format with audience members voting on the winner of the debate.
  • Moderated panel with 30 minute Q&A (ideally not left until the end of the session)
  • Small groups to test how to use tools
  • Facilitated discussion (talk-show style)
  • Session associated with a tour
  • Session associated with a parklet
  • Short presentations with catalytic questions to facilitate audience participation.
  • Initial survey to assess familiarity with topic.
  • Small group discussions with tasks to complete using tools and local examples.

SPEAKER DIVERSITY – Description of proposed panel of speakers that represent diversity in: (1) ethnicity, (2) gender, and (3) perspective and discipline.

  • The panel of speakers are gender and racially diverse advocates from the Metropolitan Boston Region each coming from different planning sectors. Ms. Almeida is African American and manages the “Alliance – Advancing Community Development by Confronting Racism” & “The Mel King Institute for Community Building”. Ms. Levy, board member of “Action for Regional Equity”, works daily with a diverse population. Ms. Chan is Chinese-American and comes from a Real Estate Development background. Mr. Castelo is Ecuadorian bringing a commitment to empowering immigrants. And lastly, the moderator is Colombian-American with a background in Communications.
  • Our discussion leaders represent diversity with respect to ethnicity, geography, and perspective, which is critical to achieve equity. Linda Jo Doctor from W.K. Kellogg represents a national foundation providing leadership on healthy food and equitable development; Tynesha McHarris is a person of color from Brooklyn Community Foundation who represents a community foundation in Brooklyn working locally to make change; TeleangeÌ Thomas is a person of color who represents a community foundation in Ohio working to shape state policy while investing locally; and Judith Bell represents PolicyLink, program director of the Convergence Partnership, advancing equity within the Partnership’s philanthropic network.

EQUITY – Succinct description of the equity and/or environmental justice issues that will be discussed as part of the session.

  • Violence and crime are the step-children in the family of obstacles to smart growth. For many it is a daunting topic to touch, as it has many nuances; however, it is those very issues that are primary for low income communities and communities of color. How can we advocate for physical activity, walking to school and utilizing parks if there are real life threats against children and parents? If equity is an essential aspect of smart growth, combating violence and crime is crucial in building the bridge between community safety and the rebuilding of community.
  • Equity is a core objective of the healthy food access projects addressed in our session. We will walk participants through how to take equity from a concept to tangible application in communities, to ensure all residents can participate and prosper and benefit from new healthy food investment. Discussion leaders are part of the Convergence Network, 80 local and regional foundations supported by the Convergence Partnership, a collaboration of eight national foundations and health care institutions that embraces a shared vision of healthy people, healthy places and advances equity as a central tenet and goal.
  • Often the communities that are in the greatest need are the ones least able to enact change. By linking service with key stakeholders in these communities, new resources are created, and capacity is built. It is the objective of each of our programs to ensure that we are serving communities most plagued by inequality and environmental injustice. Each speaker will address the way they are linking service to impact change in disadvantaged communities.
  • This all-female panel includes one person each from black, Latino and mixed-race heritage. Conexion Americas provides services for immigrants in the Nashville, TN region and engages on advocacy in the interest of its clients, including recently transportation issues. Coalition for a Livable Future unites a diverse array of organizations and individuals to promote healthy, equitable and sustainable communities in the Portland-Vancouver region, with affordable housing and transportation access as central concerns.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES – Objectives that accurately describe what participants will “take-away” from the session.

  • Objectives from session 1
    • Participants will be able to develop and implement new strategies for public outreach and engagement.
    • Participants will be able to identify best practices in temporary installations for viability, feedback and appeal.
    • Participants will be able to better facilitate communication between community asks and overseeing agencies.
    • Participants will be able to expand their toolbox of safety and traffic calming treatments to include temporary and innovative measures.
  • Objectives from session 2
    • Have a better sense of tactics, resources, and funding to combat violence and crime in pursuing smart growth objectives.
    • Learn how to engage priority populations by building the bridge between community safety priorities and built environment improvement priorities.
    • Understand how addressing violence/crime enables more equitable smart growth and opportunities for healthy, safe and accessible neighborhoods for everyone.
    • See perspectives on combating violence and crime through the lens of an elected official, national/local organization and research group.
  • Objectives from session 3
    • To encourage conference participants to evaluate their area’s infill, redevelopment & revitalization strategies.
    • To demonstrate how an online tool can be a one-stop shop for people seeking state and federal resources.
    • To show how to implement infill, redevelopment and revitalization in aging, inner-ring suburbs.
    • To show how to achieve infill in distressed city neighborhoods in part by leveraging state resources.

Form Instructions

Registering for a New Partners User Account

Note: You must register for an account before you can submit a proposal or proposal idea. When you visit the Call For Session Proposals page:, you will be prompted to create a username and password. Follow the instructions to enter your first and last name along with a valid email address.

  • An email with your username and password will be automatically generated and sent to that address. You will need your username and password to sign in to the site at a later date. Please contact Kelsey Wolf-Cloud if you do not receive an email within 24 hours of registering for an account.

Once you submit your name and email, you will be automatically logged in to the New Partners website and redirected to the following page:

You will be presented with two options to choose from:

Option 1: I would like to go directly to the Session Proposal Form.

This option will take you directly to the full proposal form.

  • Saving Your Proposal: You may fill out the form and save your progress by clicking the “Save Draft” link at the bottom of the page. You may only save one draft at a time. Once you submit that draft you can start and save another.
  • Page Sections: Each of the 4 sections of the proposal form is contained on it’s own page. You will not be able to skip ahead to the next section until all of the required fields for that section are filled in. You will, however, be able to go back and edit any entries once you have submitted the form. Please DO NOT use your browser’s “back” button when navigating the form pages.
  • Editing A Submitted Proposal: Once you submit a proposal, it will show up as a link in the sidebar. The link will show the date the proposal was submitted. By clicking on these links you will be able to access and edit any of your submitted proposals.
  • Deleting A Submitted Proposal: If you would like to delete a submitted proposal, please use the “Permanently Delete This Entry” link at the bottom of the form page. Note: This action cannot be undone.

Option 2: I have an idea but I would like to collaborate with someone else on a proposal.

This option will allow you to submit a proposal idea that others can see. Other users, who wish to collaborate, will be able to contact you through the website.

  • Submit An Idea: To submit an idea fill out the idea submission form. Please create a Session Idea Title, Session Idea Description and briefly describe what elements you would like to collaborate on. Once you submit your idea it will be displayed on the website. You can view the details of other user’s ideas by visiting the “View Proposal Idea Details”.
  • Collaborate With Another User: To collaborate with another user on their proposal idea, choose an idea that you would like to work on from the ideas page. In the contact form below, please describe how you would like to collaborate on the proposal idea. An email will be sent to the proposer’s email address. You may then collaborate over email or share a user login work jointly on the full proposal form.
  • Edit An Idea: Once you submit an idea, it will show up as a link below the idea form. The link will show the date the idea was submitted. By clicking on these links you will be able to access and edit any of your submitted ideas.
  • Deleting An Idea: If you would like to delete a submitted idea, please use the “Permanently Delete This Entry” link at the bottom of the idea form. Note: This action cannot be undone. Once you are done collaborating on an idea, please delete the idea.