Join Smart Growth America at the 2016 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 February 11-13, 2016 in Portland, OR, 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.

Thursday, February 11
3:30 PM Planning WITH People: Using Creative Placemaking to Engage, Celebrate, Design
Our community-based organizations are employing creative placemaking strategies – integrating arts and culture for deeper public participation in community revitalization – into transportation planning. Nashville, San Diego and Portland are planning or have recently started transformative rapid-bus and complete-streets projects in our cities’ most racially and ethnically diverse areas. In the Detroit region, organizers are creatively engaging community members to help map frequent destinations and cultural assets as part of a project to increase access to essential destinations for underserved populations. To provide information and specific instruction on creative placemaking, this session will provide information on and lessons learned from our four regions working in this emerging field. We will also draw from Transportation for America’s new guide on creative placemaking to apply concepts to specific efforts and challenges underway by members of the audience.

Moderator: James Corless, Director, Transportation for America
Speakers: Anastasia Brewster, Active Transportation Coordinator, City Heights Community Development Corporation; Michelle Snitgen, Active Communities Coordinator, Michigan Fitness Foundation; Mayra Alejandra Cervantes, Marketing and Community Engagement Coordinator, Conexión Américas; Horatio Hun-Yan Law, Assistant Professor in Intermedia, Photography, Pacific Northwest College of Art; Linda Wysong, Associate Professor in Liberal Arts, Pacific Northwest College of Art

Friday, February 12
10:15 AM Detroit Revisited: How Are We Doing?
At the 2015 New Partners conference, the audience heard about “Rethinking Detroit,” a strategy for Detroit’s revitalization. It’s a year later, and the landscape has changed significantly. Come and learn about how the most aggressive blight-removal program in the country has evolved into rebuilding neighborhoods; how the city is working with community leaders at the neighborhood level; how a new regional transportation plan will transform the way we move around the city, and how we relate to neighboring communities; and how technology is changing the way we stay in touch, the way we talk to and learn from each other. So how are we doing? Is Detroit growing after 60 years of population loss? Are neighborhoods rebuilding? Are sections of the city gentrifying? Join the conversation about how persistent commitment is turning a worst-case scenario into a melting pot of cutting-edge ideas for building resilient communities.

Moderator: Tom Woiwode, Director, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
Speakers: Conan Smith, Executive Director, Metro Matters; Commissioner, Washtenaw County Commissioner, MI, Member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council; Diana Flora, Kresge Mayor’s Fellow, Director of Strategy Development, Detroit Police Department

1:30 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 to any size municipality; from a public, private and advocacy perspective. These methods will be explained as case studies, and the communication tools that will help planners and policy makers 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: Chris Zimmerman, Vice President for Economic Development, Smart Growth America; Joe Minicozzi, Principal, Urban3

1:30 PM Streets, Art, Money: Building Wealth Without Displacement in Portland’s Last Frontier 
Outer Southeast Portland defies many of the contemporary stereotypes associated with a latte-sipping city that is one of the nation’s smart-growth leaders. Downtown Portland began its revival in the 1970’s, and by the 1990’s, the city’s once-moribund inner neighborhoods were experiencing a turnaround that most cities envied – and emulated. Outer Southeast Portland was largely ignored, and evolved as the place to where low-income citizens and ethnic minorities flocked. With Portland experiencing another building boom, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is being planned along Powell and Division streets in Southeast Portland to Gresham, and financial pressures are finally edging into this forgotten quadrant of the city. This tour will focus on strategies aimed at shaping the inevitable gentrification in ways that give long-term residents and diverse racial and ethnic populations a voice in the future of their neighborhoods, and allow them to stay and build and sustain successful businesses and wealth. Participants will learn about Jade District and the Division-Midway Alliance’s use of creative place-making as a community-organizing tool to highlight inequities in the community, build support and buy-in for the proposed BRT, and shape policies to ensure that its construction does not displace businesses and residents. Participants will also learn about collaborative efforts on transit-oriented development opportunities, a rebranding campaign to highlight the cultural richness of these neighborhoods, and local economic-investment strategies. Transportation will be by TriMet bus.

Speakers: Chris Rall, Pacific Northwest Field Organizer, Transportation for America; Michelle Traver, Public Art Project Manager, TriMet; Dana Lucero, Senior public involvement specialist, Metro; Duncan Hwang, Director of Development and Communications, Asian Pacific Network of Oregon; Luann Algoso, Community Engagement Manager, Asian Pacific Network of Oregon; Lori Boisen, Manager, DMA; John Haines, Executive Director, Mercy Corps NW; Pamela Chipman, Partner / Filmmaker, Red Flower Productions; Alain Bally, Craftsman

1:30 PM Tackling Poverty and Environmental Sustainability through Public Interest Design
Poverty and sustainability are two of the most vexing problems confronting people and the planet. The Center for Public Interest Design (CPID) tackles these two issues head-on in community projects in the most challenging places throughout the world. In 2014, they brought their unique model to two lower-income neighborhoods in Sacramento that are designated for priority attention by the state’s global-warming cap-and-trade program. Using techniques that have yielded strong results in communities throughout the United States (New Orleans, Houston, Detroit and several Native American reservations) and the world (Mexico City, Haiti, Africa, Mongolia, China and Buenos Aires), CPID has worked for the past year with the Sacramento Council of Governments, the City and County of Sacramento, and key community organizations in each neighborhood to develop creative ideas to improve the quality of life for residents and improve the environment. Both projects are at the beginning stages of implementation.

Moderator: Monica Hernandez, Public Information Director, Sacramento Area Council of Governments
Speakers: Mike McKeever, Chief Executive Officer, Sacramento Area Council of Governments, Member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council; Rachel Rios, Director, La Familia Counseling Center; Sergio Palleroni, AIA, Professor, Director, Center for Public Interest Design, School of Architecture, Portland State University; BD Wortham-Galvin, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Portland State University

3:30 PM Target the Right Places and Policies to Make Your Community More Livable: AARP Livability Index
The AARP Livability Index is a first-of-its kind tool that measures livability at the neighborhood level across the entire U.S. The tool captures housing, neighborhood quality, transportation, the environment, health, engagement, and opportunity, and can be used to assess how livability varies for residents of different incomes, ages, and races/ethnicities. This session will train participants in using the Livability Index, as well as describe the process of creating the Index so that participants can better understand how to measure what matters most to their own communities. The speakers will share their experiences on how they have used the Index in their communities, and participants will have the chance to explore the tool in small group breakout sessions so that they can discuss the opportunities and challenges facing their communities.

Moderator: Bandana Shrestha, Director, Community Engagement, AARP Oregon
Speakers: Ruth Randleman, Mayor, City of Carlisle, IA, Member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council; Eliot Rose, Manager, ICF International; Aaron Ray, AICP, Planner, City of Hillsboro, OR

Saturday, February 13
8:30 AM Private Sector Solutions for Public Benefit Projects
Local governments are taking on greater responsibility – from addressing climate change to accommodating increasing demands from a growing population – at a time when they are facing a multitude of fiscal constraints. Funding from state and federal aid and sales tax is declining and infrastructure improvements and maintenance (often already long deferred) are lagging. As the old proverb goes, “necessity is the mother of invention”— the public sector will be pushed to whole new levels of ingenuity to sustainably accommodate growth and meet escalating infrastructure needs.

Speakers: Steve Hansen, Councilmember, City of Sacramento, Member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council; Kate Meis, Executive Director, Local Government Commission; Peter Luchetti, Founder, Table Rock Capital; Vice Chair, California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank; Rick Cole, City Manager, City of Santa Monica, CA

1:45 PM The FAST and the CURIOUS! What the New Transportation Bill Means for Smart Growth
Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. 10 years in the making, FAST was anything but fast in its creation! So there are many questions and more than a few are curious about what it all means – not only for infrastructure but for Smart Growth. The Act is a five-year, fully funded bill to provide certainty for states and local governments to undertake long-term projects. Some things are old. Some things are new. How do you sort it all out? Come hear a seasoned group of transportation professionals who were involved in influencing key provisions so important to the Smart Growth community.

Moderator: David Taylor, President, Taylor | Future Solutions
Speakers: Christopher Coes, Managing Director, LOCUS; Jeff Boothe, President, Boothe Transit Consulting, LLC; Rich Weaver, Director, Planning, Policy and Sustainability, American Public Transportation Association

These are just some of the many sessions that will happen during the 2016 NPSG conference. We hope to see you in Portland!