Join Smart Growth America at the 2015 New Partners for Smart Growth conference


The annual New Partners for Smart Growth conference brings together public officials, development professionals, advocates, and civic organizations to connect with experts from across the country and catch up on the evolving best practices in smart growth. Hundreds of speakers cross disciplines to share insights, tools and strategies for making smart growth a success in communities across the country.

This year’s conference will take place January 29-31, 2015 in Baltimore, MD, and Smart Growth America is excited to be one of the many organizations participating. If you plan to attend the conference, be sure to catch the following sessions featuring Smart Growth America’s members and staff.

Wednesday, January 28
1:30 PM Policymakers Workshop on Revitalization: Attracting investors and financing great projects
The market has been consistently saying yes to vibrant, walkable communities, and this development approach offer big returns in revitalization, sustainability and fiscal stability. In this session hear insights and advice from the investment community and city leadership about how to make your community attractive to investors and creative ways to fund infill, mixed-use and transit-oriented development

Moderator: Neha Bhatt, Smart Growth America
Speakers: Tom Murphy, Former Mayor of Pittsburgh, PA; Peg Moertl, Senior Vice President for Community Development Banking, PNC Bank; Jeremy Nelson, Revitalization and Redevelopment Advisor, OppSites

Thursday, January 29
2:00 PM The Dollars and $ense of Smart Growth
Smart growth has been engaged as an apologetic or alternative form of development, to the perceived “market driven” sprawl that most communities face. Innovations in financial and policy analysis are demonstrating that smart-growth development is not only more beneficial from an environmental standpoint, but it is also more fiscally responsible form of growth at a municipal level. This session explores analytic tools, property policy exploration and leadership strategies that are applicable in any size municipality, from a public, private and advocacy perspective. These methods will be explained as case studies, as well as a walk through of the communication tools that will help planners and policymakers explain the municipal effect of smart-growth decisions. Panelists will present ideas and examples for creating great places with durable local economies. To steal the line from Jerry McGuire, we’re going to “Show you the money!” as well as how to show others the money.

Moderator: Lee Sobel, Director of Public Strategies, RCLCO.
Speakers: Dena Belzer, President, Strategic Economics, Inc.; Joseph Minicozzi, Principal, Urban3 LLC; Christopher Zimmerman, Vice President of Economic Development, Smart Growth America

2:00 PM Building Blocks Training Academy Road Show: Focus on Transportation Tools
After several successful years of providing technical assistance through the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program, the EPA is now focusing on training practitioners to use tools developed through this program. The Building Blocks Program stimulates discussion about growth and development and strengthens local capacity to implement sustainable approaches. This training will focus on transportation-related tools developed under the Building Blocks Program that are geared toward local implementation. Participants will learn about the Building Blocks Program technical assistance delivery process and the core content of these tools featuring walkability audits, parking audits, green streets strategies and a visioning exercise called “Preferred Growth Areas.” Training resources for participants will include materials about each tool and how practitioners can put this information into place in their local jurisdictions. This overview will empower attendees to determine what tools best fit their needs and thus to chart a course of action for developing solutions based on the Building Blocks model.

Moderator: Kevin Nelson, Senior Policy Analyst, US EPA, Office of Sustainable Communities.
Speakers: Elizabeth Schilling, Senior Policy Manager, Smart Growth America, Roger Millar, Vice President, Smart Growth America

4:00 PM The Good, Bad and the Undiscovered: An Insider’s Look into Successful Public-Private Partnerships Across the Country
Across the country, communities want more mixed-use, infill developments, but generally lack the capital to finance them. A successful public-private partnership (P3) allows the public sector to leverage funds from the private sector to fund these types of projects to advance smart growth on the ground. This “off-the-record” session will explore examples of where P3s have succeeded and failed in a nothing-is-off-limits style conversation between panelists and participants that will result innovative and actionable solutions for structuring successful P3s in the future.

Moderator: Zachary Smith, Associate, LOCUS.
Speakers: Emeka Moneme, Deputy Executive Director, Federal City Council; Jay Corbalis, Development Associate, Federal Realty Investment Trust; Calvin Gladney, LEED AP, Managing Director, Mosaic Urban Partners, LLC.

4:00 PM Transforming Suburbs into Economically Vibrant Communities with Opportunity for All
America’s suburbs are experiencing rapid demographic shifts as racial and income diversity increase. Suburban jurisdictions are facing increasing pressure to provide economic, educational, and social opportunities to a broader mix of residents. Creative thinking is needed to help suburbs adapt to their new role within metropolitan regions, and new investments in suburban transportation options are required as 21st-century demands are placed on 20th-century infrastructure. This session will provide attendees with innovative strategies for retrofitting and redesigning suburban communities. Local leaders and practitioners will provide real-life examples of successful new approaches to addressing suburban challenges through coordinated planning and targeted investments. Using case studies from around the country, the session will address planning for inclusive development around suburban transit, achieving regional consensus, partnering with anchor institutions, redeveloping underserved suburban neighborhoods, and creating transportation solutions for suburban areas.

Moderator: James Corless, Director, Transportation for America.
Speakers: Robert Dallari, Commissioner, Seminole County, FL; Conan Smith, Commissioner, Washtenaw County, MI; Executive Director, Michigan Suburbs Alliance; Allison Lasser, Executive Director, Congregations Organizing for Renewal.

Friday, January 30
10:15 AM A Debate: Who Will Drive Suburban Transformation – The Millennials or the Boomers?
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.

Moderator: June Williamson, RA, LEED AP, Associate Professor of Architecture, The City College of New York
Speakers: Jennifer Wallace-Brodeur, Strategic Advisor, Livable Communities, Education & Outreach, AARP; Christopher Leinberger, President, LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors; Arthur Nelson, Ph.D., FAICP, Professor of Planning and Real Estate Development, University of Arizona; Kathryn Lawler, Manager, Aging and Health Resources, Atlanta Regional Commission

10:15 AM Creative Placemaking and Transit: Community Engagement, Lasting Neighborhoods and Cultural Celebration
Community groups in Nashville, San Diego and Portland are designing placemaking projects around upcoming bus rapid transit corridors that connect many communities of color to job centers, health care centers, higher education and other essential destinations. This session will feature an expert panel and discussion of specific creative placemaking projects in the three cities. Topics will include the definition and examples of creative placemaking, community engagement, lasting neighborhoods, cultural celebration, ownership and long-term community involvement in the transit corridor and transportation planning.

Moderator: Rochelle Carpenter, Deputy Outreach Director, Transportation for America
Speakers: Renata Soto, Executive Director, Conexión Américas; Heidi Guenin, Policy Manager, Transportation and Land Use, Upstream Public Health; Kathleen Ferrier, AICP, Director of Advocacy, Circulate San Diego

1:30 PM Saving the World through Zoning: Small-Town Success Stories
Small cities and rural areas often have very different growth and development issues from their big city cousins – but their zoning codes are often drawn from the same templates. Smart Growth America offers a workshop for local governments to help them tailor their zoning codes to promote smart growth at the small city and rural scale. The workshops have focused on a number of topics, including economic development, resilience, housing and transportation choice, energy conservation, stormwater management and green infrastructure. Workshops in small communities like Derry Township, PA, Park Forest, IL, and Campbell, NY, have resulted in substantive change in those communities in a relatively short period of time. This session will explore recommended strategies through presentations by the instructors and leaders from the three communities. The panelists will then engage one another and the audience in a discussion of lessons learned and their applicability to other communities.

Moderator: Roger Millar, Vice President, Smart Growth America
Speakers: Sandy Ballard, Township Board Member, Derry Township, PA; Hildy Kingma, Director of Economic Development and Planning, Village of Park Forest, IL; David Tennent, Town Supervisor, Town of Campbell, NY

1:30 PM Safer Streets, Stronger Economies: Complete Streets Performance in the DMV and Beyond
Leaders and advocates across America tout the benefits of Complete Streets policies, but what do communities implementing Complete Streets actually achieve with these investments? Are more people really riding bikes, walking or taking public transportation? How do the costs of these projects compare to conventional roadway projects? What role can Complete Streets play in catalyzing economic revitalization and meeting changing demographic needs and preferences? How are localities, regions and states measuring and analyzing their impact? Through a dynamic dialogue, this session begins to explore these questions and shares data-driven analysis of more than 30 built Complete Streets projects and concrete lessons from implementing and measuring Complete Streets projects in the Washington, DC, region. Practitioners and national experts will discuss strategies for improving performance-based decision making, particularly to advance equity.

Moderator: Laura Searfoss, Associate, National Complete Streets Coalition
Speakers: Beth Osborne, Senior Policy Advisor, Transportation for America; David Patton, Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner, Arlington County Department of Environment Services and Transportation; Stefanie Seskin, Deputy Director, National Complete Streets Coalition; Sam Zimbabwe, Associate Director of Policy, Planning and Sustainability Administration, District of Columbia Department of Transportation

3:30 PM Man Bites Dog: NIMBYs Become YIMBY’s in White Flint, MD
A leading example of smart growth in Maryland has been demonstrated on the ground in White Flint, one of the prototypical Edge Cities of the late 20th Century. Over the last few years, community groups and the development community have come together to rezone and determine an infrastructure plan, including BRT, sidewalks, bike lanes, and road improvements, that is transforming this classic strip commercial into a regionally significant walkable urban place (WalkUP). Major projects are already being built following the new code. Learn about one of the first examples in the country about how NIMBYs became YIMBYs (Yes in my backyard).

Moderator: Christopher Leinberger, President, LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors
Speakers: Rod Lawrence, Partner, Real Estate Development, JBG, Inc.; Dan Hoffman, Director of Innovation, Montgomery County, MD; Former President, White Flint Community Coalition; Evan Goldman, Vice President, Development, Federal Realty

Saturday, January 31
1:45 PM Measuring Access to Opportunity: 21st-Century Transportation Performance Measurement
Transportation investments play a critical role in promoting the long-term economic prosperity of states and regions and a high quality of life for all residents. Federal agencies, state DOTs and regional metropolitan planning organizations are developing new performance metrics that assess the extent to which investments advance economic competitiveness, environmental stewardship, social equity, public health and livability goals – the things Americans value. These new metrics will help ensure that transportation investment promotes an efficient use of resources for a sustainable future. After presentations on federal and state initiatives, the panelists will discuss the state-of-the-practice in measuring transportation performance, moving beyond recent federal requirements to informed decision-making.

Moderator: Beth Osborne, President, TDS
Speakers: Roger Millar, Vice President, Smart Growth America; Barbara McCann, Director, Office of Safety, Energy & Environment, U.S. DOT, Office of the Secretary; Toks Omishakin, Assistant Commissioner, Chief of Environment and Planning, Tennessee Department of Transportation; Matt Carpenter, Director of Transportation Services, Sacramento Area Council of Governments; Patrick Pontius, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Secretary, U.S. HUD

1:45 PM The Fiscal Connection: Land Use and Municipal Budgets
Sprawling suburban development isn’t just bad for the environment, physical health and quality of life; it’s also bad for the budget. Significant portions of municipal budgets are affected by the geographic pattern of development, including street construction and maintenance, water and sewer infrastructure, fire protection and police services, and school transportation. Local governments spend more, both for upfront capital costs and ongoing operations, to provide services to their citizens when residences, civic functions, and places of commerce are dispersed far and wide by car-only development patterns. This session will present results of new research, including new analytic tools developed by Smart Growth America, and discussion with local government experts about how land-use factors drive costs and impact revenues. It will help participants better understand the connection between land use policy and local budgets and taxes, and provide insights to help them make the fiscal case for smart growth.

Moderator: Christopher Zimmerman, Vice President for Economic Development, Smart Growth America
Speakers: Patrick Lynch, Research and Development Manager, George Washington University, Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis; Erin Talkington, Vice President, RCLCo Real Estate Advisors; Katherine Cornwell, LEED-AP, Director, Planning Division, Madison Planning, Community & Economic Development Department; Adam Thiel, Deputy Secretary of Public Safety & Homeland Security, Commonwealth of Virginia

These are just some of the many sessions that will happen during the 2015 NPSG conference. We hope to see you in Baltimore!