American Planning AssociationAuthor: American Planning Association
22 Oct 2018

American Planning Association

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Welcome to the American Planning Association's Podcast directory. This is your source for discussions, lectures, and symposia on a multitude of planning topics.

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    People Behind the Plans: Mark de la Vergne

    What is mobility? It’s simply the ability to get somewhere, says Mark de la Vergne, chief of mobility innovation for the Mayor’s Office in Detroit. But when it manifests in the real world, this essential facet inevitably presents challenges for all types of cities, from New York to Austin to Seattle. In Detroit’s case, those challenges have been built up over years of policy decisions, but Mark’s job is to alleviate pain points by bringing in new technologies and services. In the last year, the city has embarked on a series of innovative pilot projects revolving around transportation solutions, such as bringing more car-share vehicles to Detroit's neighborhoods so residents living beyond the city's core have alternatives to car ownership. His big-vision goals include improving existing and adding new connected technologies to the city's infrastructure — not to drum up hype but to actually address safety and operational issues. Mark names empathy as a crucial aspect of his work, because knowing what kinds of frictions exist for different people around the city is key to serving all Detroiters.

  • Posted on 12 Oct 2018

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    People Behind the Plans: Taryn Sabia

    Resilience, civic infrastructure, participatory design — these topics and more play important roles in the work of Taryn Sabia. Taryn is the director of the Florida Center for Community Design and Research at the University of South Florida's School of Architecture and Community Design, where she's also a research associate professor. In a wide-ranging conversation with host Courtney Kashima, AICP, she talks about why planners must encourage the development of a civic infrastructure in their communities — and how they can do that. Taryn discusses the Mayors' Institute on City Design, which she hosted in 2014 and 2017 and gives city officials the opportunity to work with planners, architects, and designers on tough development challenges in their cities. In reflecting on the interdisciplinary nature of her work, she underscores the need for allied professions to come together on resiliency issues — such as building erosion due to saltwater inundation — as many Florida communities grapple with these realities on a daily basis.

  • Posted on 18 Sep 2018

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    People Behind the Plans: Bob Becker, FAICP

    New Orleans’s City Park claims some impressive titles: At 1,300 acres, it’s the largest regional park in Louisiana, and it ranks as the most visited park in the state at nearly 15 million visits per year. But that wasn’t the case 13 years ago, when Hurricane Katrina hit on August 29, 2005, and devastated the city — including that well-loved civic space.

    For this special episode of People Behind the Plans, recorded in New Orleans at the National Planning Conference earlier this year, Courtney hears from Bob Becker, FAICP, CEO of City Park and an adjunct professor at the University of New Orleans. During the first half of the episode, Courtney and Bob look back on the effect of Hurricane Katrina on the park — every building damaged, 2,000 trees destroyed, and 90 percent of its funding gone overnight. Just five months before the storm hit, the organization finished devising a new master plan for the space, and Bob stresses how important that document was for charting a course forward during the recovery effort. (In fact, their work was recognized with a 2010 National Planning Excellence Award for a Hard-Won Victory.) During the second half of the episode, Bob talks about his career trajectory, including how he ended up doing planning work in Kuala Kencana, a company town in Papua, Indonesia, and how he finished a PhD program at a later-than-typical point in his career.


  • Posted on 29 Aug 2018

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    Planning the Autonomous Future: Episode 5 featuring Lisa Nisenson

    In this episode, Jennifer and Kelley pick Lisa Nisenson’s brain to find out why the founder of the startup Greater Places and advisor to Alta Planning + Design thinks scenario planning is crucial to designing the autonomous future. Nisenson explains what scenario planning actually is, how it became an essential part of a planner’s toolbox, and how it really works in the context of automation. She mentions notable people working in the field and the tools they’re developing (but she also argues for putting the tools away so as to not limit our thinking). Throughout the conversation, Nisenson makes the case for integrating this framework into planning for the autonomous future.

  • Posted on 21 Aug 2018

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    People Behind the Plans: Kate Hartley

    Kate Hartley laughs when talking about what could have been if she had chased a career in legal history, the academic path she started out on while at the University of California, Berkeley. But after taking a couple urban planning classes on a whim, she never looked back. Nowadays, Kate focuses on all things housing as the director of the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) in San Francisco. She and Courtney discuss how the Affordable Housing Bonus Program leverages incentives to create affordable housing and why it's so difficult to deliver units for middle-income households in the city. Kate praises the Mission Action Plan 2020, which focuses on decelerating the rate of eviction and displacement in the famed neighborhood. She talks about the challenges inherent in her work but also projects from other cities that inspire her, such as Vancouver's investment in modular housing for homeless households.

  • Posted on 17 Jul 2018

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