Picture of me, Charlotte King, and Reyna Vazquez-Miller on the elevator of the Philadelphia Convention Center after checking in to the APA 2023 National Planning Conference.
Picture of my official APA Conference badge.
Name: Ceinna Little
Degree Program: MASTER OF URBAN PLANNING
Specialization: MUP-City and Community Planning
Conference Host Organization/Institution: American Planning Association (APA)
Conference/Competition Name: 2023 National Planning Conference
Conference Term: Spring Conference Start Date: 2023-04-01 Conference End Date: 2023-04-04
What were your takeaways from this conference/case competition?
My main takeaway was that planning is a continuous process that is taking place all across the United States (and globally) at different stages. I heard from the National Director of APA and the Mayor of Tacoma in a conversation about accelerating zoning reform on Saturday (4/1), and getting to be in a space with other planners currently working to change their communities was inspiring. Overall, the people I was able to interact with and gain knowledge from were among the best parts of the conference.
How will your participation in this conference/case competition support your professional development?
On Sunday (4/2), I attended the session "Missing Middle Models: Challenges and Innovations." This was an exciting session since the Furman Center is currently working on a project regarding middle housing. So, by attending the session, I could take notes and bring some of the examples given back to Furman to not only further their work but contribute to mine, as well. I was also able to add other graduate students to my network who, in the next year or so, will be transitioning into full-time work. Hopefully, I'll be able to lean on them once I graduate, as well.
What are some next steps or action items this conference/case competition inspired?
I definitely want to keep the relationships established at the conference going by reaching out to connections on LinkedIn and exchanging information. I am also inspired to look more into the topics explored in the conference, such as equity and infrastructure, middle housing, nationwide zoning reforms, et cetera. Maybe I can use the knowledge gained to propose a project at Furman or conduct independent research on my own.
What are some tips or best practices that you would like to share with other Wagner students who attend a conference/case competition?
(1) Bring your Wagner business cards. You never know who you may meet and you may not have enough time to manually exchange information. (2) Take advantage of the free things offered to students. I was able to go on a free orientation bus tour because I checked my email and followed the instructions given. (3) Connect with fellow Wagner peers before the conference begins. There will be a lot of free time in the evenings to grab dinner and make connections with people you may not have met before. With conferences, it's more about the people, not the presentations.
Wagner Areas of Impact: Cities, Education, Government, Housing, Inequality, Race, and Poverty, Leadership, Transportation