Jayhawk Planners Take On the National Planning Conference 2024

#JayhawkPlanners were everywhere at this year’s National Planning Conference amongst the over 4,000 attendees and 200 sessions and mobile workshops. The in-person conference was April 13-16 in Minneapolis. Twelve current students attended, and we spotted alumni and KU Urban Planning Advisory Board members out and about, but especially at the Sunflower Reception. KU along with the Kansas Chapter of the American Planning Association hosted a reception at The Prohibition Bar and the place was packed with Jayhawks, Wildcats, Roos, Kansas planners and friends. At the reception, we were pleased that so many people got to meet our new Director Maja Husar Holmes and Student Program Manager Cari Ann Kreienhop. Later on at the conference, Maja and Cari Ann represented the Urban Planning Program in front of the Planning Accreditation Board for our 7 year check-up. We’ll will share news in the future with how well that went but we were in good hands with Maja and Cari Ann.

There are probably more but Jayhawks presented at the following sessions -

Session: Metrics and Measuring Success in Comprehensive Planning with Gerald (Bo) Williams, AICP, Long Range Planning Division Manager, City of Kansas City MO Plng & Dev Dept. (KU MUP ’96)

Session: Building Empathy and Compassion in Planning Practice with KU Urban Planning/Indigenous Studies Associate Professor Ward Lyles, AICP

Sessions: Leading with Empathy and The Hunger Games - Comp Plan Amendments Gone Wild with Silvia E. Vargas, FAICP, Principal Planner, Calvin, Giordano & Associates, South Miami, FL (KU MUP ’93)

Session: Designing Public Facilities for the Neuro-Diverse Community with Dr. Galyna Korniyenko, Director of Research, Lecturer, National Youth Advocate Program, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio (KU MUP ’16)

For the upcoming online portion of the conference, May 8-10, look for Jayhawk Planners Bonnie Johnson, FAICP (KU MUP ’94) moderating and Triveece Penelton, AICP, NOMA (KU MUP ’02) presenting the session “Defining Impact: The Art of Communicating Planning’s Value.”

Students took full advantage of the conference. Two teams competed in the Student Planning and Design Competition – Zoe Brown, Andrea Lynch, and Lexi Berra made up one team and Payton Smith, Lauren Young and Raquel Ordoñez in the other. Paul Turner and Will Sharp ran in the Sunrise 5K Fun Run which was a journey through Minneapolis's hidden treasures. Students went to back-to-back sessions, but they also visited the HUB for career advice, hands-on tech, and therapy animals (dogs, cats, and alpacas)! We even made the cover of the “Connecting at NPC24” webpage – current students Payton Smith, Prof. Bonnie Johnson, students Lauren Young, Raquel Ordoñez, and Reagan Thompson.

Connecting at NPC24 (planning.org)

Some student reflections -

Will Sharp, Spring 2024 MUP graduate said, “I think my favorite part of the conference was getting to return to my hometown but looking at it from a planner's perspective. Lots of personal reflection about what goes into a happy childhood and a good quality of life. Another highlight was in an active transportation session when the speaker asked "Who owns a bike?" and nearly every hand in the packed room was up! It felt good to be among so many like-minded people. Lastly, the Sunrise 5k Fun Run made good on all of the promises its name suggests. I would do it again in a heartbeat! Thank you for giving us the time and organizing the funding that enabled us to go to NPC24!”

Josh Woody, Spring 2024 MUP graduate verified that there were alpacas, “I had a great time exploring Minneapolis, connecting with classmates and getting to know planners from all over the country. Playing pickleball and petting the therapy Alpacas was a nice bonus!”

Some more wackier tidbits from the conference –

  • Assoc. Prof. Ward Lyles ran into a planner who he knew when he taught a second grade class way back when.
  • Paul Turner (current student) got to try out pickle-ball for the first time.
  • Alumni (MUPs 2022) Alison Shaner and Jerome Rouser competed against each other in “The Planners Feud”.
  • Lexi Berra (Spring 2024 MUP graduate) was kissed by a large therapy dog.