Northern News

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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

Director’s note — May 2019

By James A. Castañeda, AICP

A very successful NPC19

After four stimulating days in the halls of Moscone West, I’m still processing everything from the hugely successful National Planning Conference held in San Francisco. NPC19 went off without a hitch and with a record-breaking attendance (6,400+) for an APA national planning conference. Our Local Host Committee leadership heard directly that the mobile workshops were amazing and the sessions insightful. I couldn’t be more pleased for our Northern Section to be praised for the achievements of NPC19, and I am honored to be your Section Director during this exciting time.

Special thanks to Immediate Past Section Director Sharon Grewal, AICP, who coordinated the incredible and well attended APA California Chapter reception.

A shout-out to our NPC19 Welcome Table volunteers

In the center of the Moscone West entrance hall and practically under the down-escalators, coordinators Juan Borrelli, AICP, Hing Wong, AICP, and I worked alongside the following volunteers to greet every passing planner, answer their questions about Northern Section, or engage them in conversation: Aireen Batungbakal, Michael Casas, Jeanine Cavalli, Melissa Chan, Nikki Chan, Jill Feyk-Miney, Jennifer Fierman, AICP, Kristine Gaspar, Naphtali Knox, FAICP, Eli Krispi, Andrea Mardesich, Melanie Medina, Keiko Murayama, AICP, Kayla Nelson, Shagufa Qureshi, Mike Rivera, Vicente Romero, Hannah Sada, Lois Scott, AICP, Maggie Smith, Syd Sotoodeh, Steven Spickard, AICP, Reanna Tong, AICP Candidate, Kimberly Wever, and Mary Woods. Thank you all, and a big thanks to lead coordinator Juan Borrelli, AICP, for supervising Saturday and Sunday, and to Vicente Romero for supervising Monday and Tuesday. (Apologies to those who staffed the table but whose names we may have missed — or vice versa.)

I’m also delighted to announce that we raised more than $500 for the California Planning Foundation scholarship program at the welcome table and the Chapter reception. (Students, CPF is currently accepting applications for its 2019 scholarship program, but be aware that the deadline for this year’s awards is April 30.)

Beyond NPC19

I suspect that most of us who attended the conference will for weeks continue to reflect on and share what inspired them. I will too.

Joel Albizo. Photo: James Castañeda, AICP.

Before the opening keynote, we were introduced to APA’s new CEO, Joel Albizo, who observed that great communities are diverse, inclusive, and equitable, and noted that planners — as change agents in our communities — are “leaning in,” committing to support these characteristics. His remarks set the tone, not only for the conference, but also for the future of our profession.

The vast undertaking of the conference is behind us, but I hope our section can continue the themes, energy, and momentum locally. Specifically, I want to share some of what we saw and learned with those of you who weren’t able to make it to NPC19 or to any of the excellent mobile workshops that highlighted the planning we do here. So I’ll be working with your local Regional Activities Coordinators (RACs) to see if we can replicate some workshops elsewhere in our region. I also want to keep in mind the themes from NPC19 that resonated with many and ensure we’re mindful of them in our program.

To the APA national staff, our Local Host Committee leaders and volunteers, the mobile workshop coordinators and guides, our welcome table volunteers, and to every Northern Section member who attended the conference and served as an ambassador to the Bay Area, thank you sincerely, and congratulations on a superb NPC19! I look forward to working with you over the next two years to making our planning professionals the very best agents of desirable change within our communities.