Academic journal article The Town Planning Review

The 52nd Annual Conference of the ACSP: Salt Lake City, Utah, 13-16 October 2011

Academic journal article The Town Planning Review

The 52nd Annual Conference of the ACSP: Salt Lake City, Utah, 13-16 October 2011

Article excerpt

The 52nd Annual Conference of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) took place from 13 to 16 October 2011 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The conference was hosted by the University of Utah, whose graduate programme in urban and regional planning was launched in 2003. Salt Lake City is an intermountain city, whose 2010 metropolitan population is slightly over one million persons. The city is well-known for being the world headquarters of the Mormon religion. The conference was attended by approximately 900 individuals, primarily including planning school faculty and graduate students as well as planning practitioners. It is the primary conference for planning academics in the US. Conference attendees were welcomed by Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, who also led a bicycle tour of the city. Mayor Becker is a practicing planner and avid enthusiast for making cities safe and manageable for bicycles.

The structure of the 2011 conference1

The conference consisted of 16 tracks, covering the full range of urban planning research and practice. Within each track were panels consisting of three or four papers. Overall, there were 185 panels at the conference for a total of approximately 650 papers or presentations. The tracks with the largest number of panels were: 'Transportation and Infrastructure' (22); 'Housing and Community Development' (20); 'Environmental Planning and Resource Management' (19); 'International Development Planning' (19); 'Economic Development' (13); and 'Urban Design' (13). The smallest tracks were 'Analytical Methods and Computer Applications' (8); 'Gender and Diversity in Planning' (7); 'Land Use Policy and Governance' (9); 'Planning and Human Health and Safety' (8); 'Planning History' (7); 'Planning Process, Law, and Dispute Resolution' (7); and 'Planning Theory' (8).

For 2011 there was also a new track - Track 16 (6) - which had as its theme 'Envision'. This was also the theme for the conference as a whole and was built around the pioneering visioning work of 'Envision Utah', whose founding chair, Robert Grow, delivered the plenary session talk attended by many of the conference delegates. Mr Grow described the process by which the Envision Utah organisation developed as a public/private partnership. Envision Utah is recognised as a successful effort to engage the public in developing a growth strategy for the Salt Lake City area that will enable its growth to continue while protecting quality of life and affordable housing.

Taking offfrom the success and inspiration of Envision Utah, the conference planners used the Envision theme to remind planners and the public of planning's fundamental role in enabling society to imagine and plan for better futures. Papers that featured this theme were highlighted in the conference brochure.

In addition, the Envision theme was used to define the Conference's newest track - Track 16. Track 16 was created to feature papers that exhibited cross-cutting themes and issues. It was launched in response to concern that the existing tracks tended to become 'silos'. In contrast, Track 16 welcomed cross-cutting approaches to planning, with attention to a variety of issues and specialisations. In its first year, Track 16 was capped at six panel sessions. The individual sessions in the track included two round table discussions: (1) 'Envisioning Planning Education in the Context of the University' and (2) 'The National Academy of Environmental Design: Traces and Trajectories'. …

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