OCS Conference Funding Submission

Event Photo:

Charlotte is in the process of creating a displacement dashboard to use in planning decisions. Seems like the first type of dashboard of its kind - outside of a school setting - and will hopefully improve our field in the future.

Everyone introducing themselves at the start of the day. I joined in! It was a great feeling to be in the same space as folks from all over the world!

Name: Sarah Saltz


Specialization: MUP-City and Community Planning

Conference Host Organization/Institution: American Planning Association

Conference/Competition Name: National Planning Conference

Conference Term: Spring Conference Start Date: 2021-05-05 Conference End Date: 2021-05-07

What were your takeaways from this conference/case competition?
The sessions did not shy away from facing the challenging issues of racism and inequality and the role of planners in perpetuating and solving them. I learned how important it is for planners to face these issues head on and really listen to others when making decisions. I also learned about how planners are using data in new ways to visualize problems and make decisions. All of the keynote speakers were also incredibly inspiring and informative.
I also have access to the session recordings, so will be able to refer back and continue self educating.

How will your participation in this conference/case competition support your professional development?
My participation in this conference will further my professional development in two ways. First, I will satisfy the majority of the "certification maintenance" credits I need to earn before I can begin the AICP Candidate Pilot Program, which is the renowned certification for planners in the US. Becoming certified will allow me to advance my career through more advancement opportunities and a higher salary. Second, I was able to learn about a host of the most recent happenings in the planning field directly from the cities and planners that are implementing them.

What are some next steps or action items this conference/case competition inspired?
One of the best quotes that stuck with me from a community engagement session was (paraphrasing): "You have to listen - it doesn't matter the decibel level of what's being said." Planners have generally been in agreement that existing public engagement tactics do not work, and the sessions provided important context on municipalities that are trying to change the status quo by elevating minority voices and rely on communities as the experts, rather than the "professionals" or "experts". I am eager to follow up on this topic area and continue learning about participatory budgeting and design.

What are some tips or best practices that you would like to share with other Wagner students who attend a conference/case competition?
I have only attended virtual conferences, so I can only provide best practices on that form. I found that, with this conference, it was a great idea to look at the full schedule beforehand and find the sessions that I was excited to attend and put them on my calendar. Otherwise, work, school, and other commitments would have taken over and I would have forgotten or chosen not to attend. I was relieved on the day of the conference (they are usually really crazy busy days). I wrote down anyone I wanted to connect with, to remember later.

Wagner Areas of Impact: Cities, Government, Housing, Inequality, Race, and Poverty, Social Innovation, Transportation