2021 APA-IL State Conference

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Oct. 6, 2021 - Session 1 (9:00 am - 10:30 am)

Public, Pedestrian, and Places: Reclaiming our Streets

Jenna Jones | site design group, ltd.
Cassandra Rice | site design group, ltd.
RaMona Westbrook | Brook Architecture
Nedra Sims Fears | Greater Chatham Initiative
Katherine Darnstadt | Latent Design
Mary O'Connor | City of Chicago

In nearly each and every community, streets comprise the largest percentage of publicly-owned land area, and are the single largest land use. Yet, when we think of public spaces we enjoy, streets don't typically make that list. They're designed to get us to and from places, but not necessarily to linger, socialize, and create memories like parks, plazas, and other traditional public spaces are.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone around the world had to think differently about what public space meant so our communities, businesses, and neighbors could get through the economic downturn, stay-at-home orders, and new social distancing norms. Cold-weather climates like Illinois further complicated these efforts. As we know, the pandemic has not impacted all communities equally. The South and West side communities of Chicago, which have suffered years of disinvestment, were among those hit the hardest. In the early summer of 2020, like-minded landscape architects, planners, architects, and design professionals wanted to do something about that. This group embarked on a mission to help businesses and restaurants re-open safely amid the pandemic.

The initiative to reclaim streets in communities in need, is now known as Design Trust Chicago. This session will provide an in-depth look at the design and implementation process of one of the initiative's most successful projects - the 75th Street Boardwalk. This 300-foot-long tactical urbanism and placemaking project replaces on-street parking spaces with safe outdoor dining and gathering opportunities for Black-owned businesses and the community. Residents, business owners, and community leaders were deeply involved in all stages - from the initial meet-and-greet to the Boardwalk's construction, which included a youth education and empowerment component.

The session will also describe how Design Trust Chicago hopes to continue providing planning, design, and implementation resources to underserved Chicago neighborhoods for years to come. Speakers will represent the different organizations and players in this initiative - the City of Chicago, the 75th Street Boardwalk design team, the Greater Chatham Initiative (program manager), and leaders from Design Trust Chicago. After the session, attendees will leave with the information needed to begin projects like this and be inspired to create change in their own communities.

Go:Safe- Vision Zero for McLean County

Jennifer Sicks
Raymond Lai | McLean County Regional Planning Commission
Jonathan Seiden | Hile Group
Jennifer Sicks | McLean County Regional Planning Commission

In a bid to follow Chicago and be the second Vision Zero city in Illinois, the McLean County Regional Planning Commission conducted a Vision Zero transportation safety study (Go:Safe McLean County Action Plan), with a primary focus on the urbanized area of Bloomington-Normal. This session will review the planning process and recommendations, particularly regarding public involvement under COVID constraints and participation by multiple agencies and community members. We will then turn to the commencement of implementation strategies, the application of the Action Plan recommendations across the community in the near future, and the involvement of a branching set of community stakeholders from various sectors to embed the Go:Safe program as crucial to achieve traffic safety and the zero deaths goal.

Drone by Design

Lesley Roth
Anezka Gocova | Lamar Johnson Collaborative
Frank Hu | Lamar Johnson Collaborative
Rory Thibault | Lamar Johnson Collaborative
Josh Arneson | Clayco

Drones, or better known as unmanned or uncrewed aerial vehicles, are an emerging technology and design tool for urban planners. This accessible technology allows planners, municipalities, and everyday citizens to better understand their physical environment and develop more informed design solutions. For both private and public sector planning organizations drones are changing the way we see, design and experience space in all types of geographies. Drones can capture spatial information that would otherwise be difficult, expensive, or unavailable. From general surveying, to real-time data collection, to project inspection, to understanding views from buildings, to impacting public engagement, drone technology is important to many sub-disciplines and an essential component of successful projects. This session will explore:

  • Utilization of drones during the planning process
  • Creation of 3d environments that supplement traditional 2d GIS and survey data
  • Navigating the regulatory environment
  • Impact on public and community engagement
  • Integrated, multi-disciplinary design and project approach

This high flying session will share tips, tools and skills for both public and private sector planners to better understand how drones can support their project goals throughout the design and construction process. The session will include several project examles of varying scale and complexity to illustrate the diverse range of project typologies that are applicable to use drone technology.

Oct. 6, 2021 - Session 2 (10:45 am - 12:15 pm)

Is This The End of Single-Family Zoning Districts? A Facilitated Discussion

Jake Seid, AICP | Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
Kurtis Pozsgay, AICP | Village of Bensenville
Sue Loellbach | Connections for the Homeless

This session will discuss the complexities that planners must navigate to reimagine and remove single-family zoning districts in their communities. Staff from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) in partnership with staff from municipalities in the Chicago region will discuss recent zoning updates to break down single-family zoning districts and create more equitable communities. Topics will include land use policy, allowed housing types, minimum parking requirements, and zoning application approval standards.

American Rescue Plan Technical Assistance Workshop

Dan Bolin | Ancel Glink

The American Rescue Plan Act provides $350 billion in emergency funding for state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency, or its negative economic impacts. The proposed uses for the funds are broad and may include: - providing assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries, such as tourism, travel, and hospitality;

  • respond to workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing premium pay to eligible workers performing essential work, or by providing grants to eligible employers that have eligible worker;
  • provide government services, to the extent COVID-19 caused a reduction of revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year of the State, territorial, or Tribal government; or
  • make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.

This session will review the latest federal guidance and state implementing legislation to equip planners with the knowledge they will need to assist their communities through pandemic recovery.

Panel Presentation: Transportation

Connect2Work: Lessons-Learned from Bedford Park’s First/Last Mile Pilot Program

Curtis Witek

Industrial and distribution facilities are a major source of employment in Illinois, but the low density of jobs within such employment districts and the long hours of operations at these facilities limit the viability of traditional public transit to serve these workers. Together, the Village of Bedford, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and the Cook County of Department of Transportation and Highways (CC DoTH) are funding a one-year pilot program which provides different transportation services for Bedford Park workers to connect to nearby transit or to their homes late at night. This includes subsidized rides on Uber as well as a free on-demand shuttle service during peak travel times in the weekday and a customized white label smart phone app has been developed for users to request these services. The planner and implementer of this project (Antero Group) will provide a background to the planning and implementation of the pilot as well as data on the use of the service to date. This will be followed with a Q and A session with Antero Group and the project partners, with a focus on lessons-learned and future locations for other first/last mile pilots.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Jeremy Glover | Metropolitan Planning Council

Regardless of what mode of transportation you use, every trip you take begins and ends with walking or rolling. Whether it’s going just a few feet to get in a car or trekking a half-mile to the nearest transit station, the pedestrian element is the most fundamental component of the transportation system. However, pedestrian infrastructure often feels like an afterthought in much of Illinois – the availability and conditions of our sidewalk network do not promote walkability in many locations. This is even truer when considering the needs of people with disabilities.

Last year, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is a landmark civil rights law which guarantees equal access for people with disabilities in many areas of society. One such area is access to the public right-of-way. The ADA required all units of government with more than 50 employees to create an ADA transition plan. This is essentially a planning document that inventories the barriers to access in the public right-of-way and creates a detailed plan for how those barriers will be removed. Both this planning process and the barrier removal was to be completed within the first few years after the ADA was passed. Unfortunately, we know that many local governments failed to complete this requirement.

We were curious to know, 30 years later, just how many municipalities in the Chicago region had an ADA transition plan. And are they any good? The Metropolitan Planning Council’s (MPC) new report, Where the Sidewalk Ends, written in partnership with the ADA Great Lakes Center, answers these questions. This presentation will outline what ADA transition plans are and make an argument for why they’re important; both in terms of the benefits this process bring to a community and the legal risks inherent in noncompliance with the ADA. It will also share best practices in ADA transition planning that go above and beyond the federal requirements, and provide resources that can help local governments begin the process. Finally, we will share the results of our inventory of the Chicago region, which found that only 11% of the municipalities legally required to have a transition plan were able to demonstrate that they had one. Additionally, the quality of plans was generally low in a number of important areas.

Lake Calumet Trail Feasibility Study

Tim Gustafson | Epstein

Epstein and the Active Transportation Alliance prepared a feasibility study for development of a trail along the shores of Lake Calumet for the Illinois International Port District (IIPD). The study explored the environmental impacts of a potential trail and analyzed the potential benefits for improving trail connections on the south side of Chicago between 111th Street and the Bishop Ford Expressway and Big Marsh Park on South Stony Island Avenue. This session will cover the existing conditions analysis, proposed trail alignment analysis, and development of the preferred alternative, cost estimate, and conceptual design.

Mobile Workshop: A Tale of Two Neighborhoods – Community Driven Recalibration of Urban Renewal Era Policy

Jackie Wells | Houseal Lavigne Associates
Katie Simpson | City of Bloomington
John Houseal | Houseal Lavigne Associates

At the height of post-World War II urban renewal, the City of Bloomington, IL adopted policy and zoning regulations that supported the demolition and intensive redevelopment of historic, mixed residential neighborhoods surrounding the Downtown. Despite not being utilized, these policies and regulations stuck around until a passionate group of residents advocated for a recalibration of the City’s approach to planning and zoning for their neighborhood. Understanding the need to preserve Bloomington’s unique and historic character and combat gentrification, while at the same time encouraging reinvestment, the City Council directed City staff to find the right balance by engaging the residents, studying the neighborhood, and developing appropriate new policy and regulations. The process of developing this new policy direction and aligning the land development regulations are the focus of this mobile workshop. Participants will be guided on a walking tour of the subject neighborhood where the concerns and opportunities will be framed by City staff, project consultants, and neighborhood residents. Redevelopment opportunities and scenarios will be highlighted, showcasing how the recalibrated policy and regulations encourage context sensitive infill development that respects the historic integrity of the neighborhood and preserves the City’s stock of missing middle housing.

Session 3 (Oct. 6, 2021 - 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm)

Evaluating Development in 3D

Devin Lavigne | Houseal Lavigne Associates
Nik Davis | Houseal Lavigne Associates
Keith Cooke | Esri

This session will review an exciting use of emerging 3D GIS and gaming engines in the field of planning. Downtown is the heart of Glen Ellyn and this Chicago suburb’s central business district and source of community pride. The area is home to dozens of businesses and numerous residents that reside in mixed-use and multi-family buildings scattered throughout the area. Maintaining the established and desirable character has been paramount in the community and has created a challenge for new development and investment that has been considered necessary to strengthen downtown’s vibrancy. With concerns and opposition to proposed height, architecture, parking location, and building materials, local developers often faced challenging approvals. Village planners believed GIS and a 3D planning tool would allow them to better evaluate proposals, and that an immersive game-like experience could allow elected officials and decision makers better evaluate the appropriateness of a development within this important place in their community. Using ArcGIS Pro, CityEngine, and Unreal Engine, Houseal Lavigne Associates transformed the community’s GIS information into a rich and immersive 3D environment. Developers are now required to submit 3D models with their application, and Glen Ellyn’s Immersive 3D Development Viewer is used to examine building setbacks and heights, architectural character, and views from adjacent properties and the public realm.

Code Recipes for Better Building Design in Champaign

Rob Kowalski | City of Champaign

This session features the City of Champaign’s efforts to influence building design by regulation within their In-Town Neighborhood and also in the Campus area of the University of Illinois. As an alternative to using a Design Review Board, City staff worked to satisfy resident concern of poor building design with various code techniques that better regulate building size, form and aesthetics. The design requirements have been tested with the construction of many new projects in the past few years. This session will provide lessons learned of where the regulations have worked and where they need further consideration. The session will also touch on the impact the design requirements may be having on rents for new construction and provide an overall picture of the rental market for these neighborhoods in Champaign. Attendees of this session will benefit from hearing the experiences of Champaign in taking a “code approach” to fostering better building design.

Build a Better Burb within the 15-Minute City (CNU)

Drew Awsumb | City of Highland Park

The APA and Congress for the New Urbanism have partnered in past years through the state conference to provide “conference within a conference” on CNU ideas and proposals. Suburban Chicagoland includes more than 10,000 sq. miles of land and a population of nearly 7 million residents - both roughly the equivalent of Massachusetts. A sustainable, equitable Illinois must include significant work in the state's suburbs to achieve these goals. CNU is hopeful to continue this partnership in 2021 by offering a facilitated roundtable workshop where attendees will focus on “Build a Better Burb” design principles and public policymaking. www.buildabetterburb.org Many of the principles of better suburban communities also aligns with the 2020-popularized “15 minute city” https://www.cnu.org/publicsquare/2021/02/08/defining-15-minute-city and will be incorporated into the material shared during a 10-15 minute initial orientation presentation. Then everyone will break into a collaborative tabletop exercise, facilitated by a CNU member, to address real-life places within their communities, working with other attendees at their table. This will exercise can also make use of tablets and laptops. Although the outcomes will be high-level and generalized, CNU feels allowing the attendees to ‘learn by doing’ and diving into real circumstances with their peers will contribute to greater knowledge sharing and discussion of planning practices.

Session 4 (Oct. 6, 2021 - 2:45 pm - 4:15 pm)

Ethics Cases of the Year

Lee M Brown | Chair, Ethics Update Task Force
James E. Peters | Ethics Officer, American Institute of Certified Planners

The Ethics Committee of the AICP Commission annually prepares the "Ethics Cases of the Year" as a 1-1/2 hour CM/Ethics credit program. In addition to presenting the Cases of the year as an interactive discussion with the attendees, the presenters will also explain the recommended changes to the Ethics Code that will be considered for adoption this Fall.

Putting Sustainability Planning into Practice: From the Comprehensive Plan to the Land Use Map and Beyond

Thomas Skuzinski | NIU Department of Public Administration
Mim Evans | NIU Center for Governmental Studies
Todd Vanadilok | Egret and Ox Planning, LLC

Urgent sustainability problems (e.g., flood mitigation, food/water access, housing affordability) are often addressed as freestanding plans or minor components of comprehensive plans, which can lead to these issues being poorly addressed in the land use map and local regulations. We draw on innovative examples from Illinois and other states to explore:

  • How do comprehensive plans typically address these issues, both in Illinois and nationally?
  • How effective is the status quo in addressing these issues?
  • How can planning goals around these issues be better translated into the land use map?
  • How can these goals be pursued through land use regulations and other policies?

Mobile Workshop: Better Suburban Design: Field Tour (CNU)

Drew Awsumb | City of Highland Park

The APA and Congress for the New Urbanism have partnered in past years through the state conference to provide “conference within a conference” on CNU ideas and proposals. In past years, the format included, on Friday, a hotel session that was followed-up by a walking tour/mobile workshop; and CNU proposes that same approach again, if we are physically in Normal. The mobile workshop allows the opportunity for leaders from the local community to demonstrate the principles and tools just discussed in concept at the hotel, now in real-life, in the field, walking and talking about specific sites. While “downstate” Bloomington Normal and other Central Illinois communities, as well as the Metro East, certainly feature neighborhoods, districts, and corridors that are “suburban” in nature. CNU proposes leaving from the conference hotel in Uptown Normal and discussing the infill and urban retrofit development in that neighborhood to start, where successful new urbanist principles can be found. And then transitioning (via shuttle) a mile-and-a-half east down College Avenue to both the Shoppes at College Hill commercial development on Historic Route 66, as well as the adjacent Northpoint residential subdivision. The fieldwork will facilitate an examination of conditions as well as collaboratively identifying potential solutions to the existing suburban form. A sustainable, equitable Illinois must include significant work in the state's suburbs to achieve these goals.

Session 5 (Oct. 7, 2021 - 8:30 am - 9:30 am)

Speed Planning

Suburban Rebirth: Creating Place and Density Outside the City

Chris Freda | Design Workshop
Sara Egan | Design Workshop

With skyrocketing housing prices in American cities and newly flexible work options resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals and families are suddenly open to housing and lifestyle options outside major cities. These trends, along with a new focus on more inclusive and responsible planning for the future in communities offers new opportunities to create places with purpose in former “bedroom” communities. This session will highlight some exciting recent project work in these contexts and extract lessons that can be employed in suburban communities throughout the country.

What Used Car Lots Can Teach Communities About Placemaking

Rachael Smith | All Together

What do used car lots and many suburbs have in common? A whole lot of concrete. What are used car lots doing better than most communities? Making them look appealing. While a full-fledged streetscape redesign is lovely, most communities need improvements a lot quicker and a lot cheaper than that type of long-term investment. Short-term, low-cost solutions that embrace color, playfulness, and joy can breathe life into places that need it most. 

Innovating Mobility with Microtransit

Kathryn Shackelford | Lochmueller Group

Millions of people lack adequate access to affordable transportation, and the economic and social consequences are dire. Learn how microtransit, not to be mistaken with micromobility (scooters, e-bikes), is revolutionizing mobility in transit deserts and improving outcomes for vulnerable populations.

Secrets of Illinois Zoning Authority

Hart Passman | Elrod Friedman LLP

Illinois law is full of hidden tricks and little-known areas of local zoning and land use authority. Join us for a review of some of these “secret” statutes and cases, and learn how governments and developers alike may have powers and options that they did not even know they had!

Housing Affordability - A Factory Built Alternative?

Frank Bowman | Illinois Manufactured Housing Association

The image v. the reality. Barriers to construction and affordability. A healthy housing market is critical to attracting both new businesses and new workers to communities.

Should We Plan Comprehensively, Strategically, or Geographically? And What’s the Big Diff?

Michael Blue | Teska
Francesca Sallinger | Teska

Sometimes deciding how to approach your planning needs is the first and biggest challenge. Thinking through how to plan for your community starts with selecting the right tool for the job, which makes for better use of resources and more effective implementation. In this speed session, we will discuss three types of plans and why your community might want to choose one over the other.

Connecting People to Power: A Community Energy Plan for South Shore

Samantha Lenoch | UIC Liz Kersjes

Session 6 (Oct. 7, 2021 - 9:45 am - 11:15 am)

APA-IL Planning Law Holiday Special

Dan Bolin | Ancel Glink
Todd Vanadilok, AICP | Egret & Ox Planning, LLC
Greg Jones | Ancel Glink
Trevor Dick | City of Aurora
Carissa Townsend | Ancel Glink

APA-IL Planning Law Holiday Special It's the 2021 APA-IL State Conference and, for planners, that means there are only 445 shopping days left in the 2022 winter holiday season! Get your shopping done early during the APA-IL Planning Law Holiday Special! For this festive variety show, planner? Todd Vanadilok will dash to visit his "in-laws" from Ancel Glink (Greg Jones, Dan Bolin, Carissa Townsend) and a surprise guest (Trevor Dick) to learn the true meaning of important planning law topics: - Down to the Village: How will legal challenges and changes to the Open Meetings Act change remote participation in public meetings? - City Sidewalks, Busy Sidewalks: How will the public right-of-way, outdoor dining, liquor delivery, and cocktails togo change post-pandemic? - One in the Park as Well: How are parks and municipalities reevaluating public art and public monuments to reflect community values? Attend this session and be prepared to share the gift of planning law with your community for the holidays and all year long!

Panel Presentation: Design

Intro to InDesign

Katy Shackelford | Lochmueller Group

I will provide attendees is a step by step guide on how to use InDesign to create a planning document. This will include basic instruction on the tools and thier uses as well as how to set up design standards within you file to make work easier. I will share how to incorporate elements from other programs (like word, excel, powerpoint, etc) into InDesign. I will finish by providing some helpful tips for creating and managing files. Having used Indesign for over 15 years, I can speak to how the program has evolved and where improvements still need to be made.

How to Configure a Crowdsource Interactive Map for Public Engagement

Peter Williams | Lochmueller Group

This session will demonstrate how to configure a crowdsource web application. This web app can be used to solicit feedback, discussion, and voting on features seen on a map. It can be a great tool to engage the public and allow citizens to influence project priorities.

Don't Fear The (R)eaper

Glen Cole | Village of Lake Bluff

(Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Big Spreadsheets.) Urban planners have more access than ever before to both data and the tools to make sense of it, but just being "good at Excel" seems like a big accomplishment. We'll talk about some tools with a scary reputation --- R, RStudio, and ggplot2 -- paired with real world examples of how they're used in big and small planning departments. Together with good maps (Peter) and good design (Katy), these tools will help you be more effective in telling the stories of your projects and your communities.

Mobile Workshop: Uptown South - A Living Community Challenge Pilot Community

Douglas Farr | Farr Associates Architecture & Urban Design, P.C.
Mercy Davison | Town of Normal

Normal, Illinois has been a leader in making sustainable development happen for the last decade. They were the first LEED ND project, and continue their history of innovation with Uptown 2.0, the 2nd registered project under the Living Community Challenge. The Uptown 2.0 plan looked at the redevelopment of 7.5 municipally owned acres into a mixed-use neighborhood that will be anchored by a new library and significant public open space. This mobile walking tour will guide participants through the neighborhood, highlighting the plan and its LCC elements. The Living Community Challenge is a philosophy of design, advocacy tool, and performance based standard that is concerned with creating a future that is socially just, culturally rich, and ecologically restorative.

Session 7 (Oct. 7, 2021 - 11:30 am - 12:30 pm)

Achieving Carbon-Free Cities Ahead of Schedule

Sydney VanKuren
Douglas Farr | Farr Associates Architecture & Urban Design P.C.

We are currently at a pivotal point in the fight against climate change. The general public is finally in consensus that human-caused emissions are having a profoundly negative impact on our planet. More and more municipalities are declaring climate emergencies. But after the declaration that “we have a problem”, what is a municipality to do? What are the strategic steps to achieving decarbonization not eventually, but as soon as possible? How are Illinois cities moving towards a carbon-free future?

This session introduces an initiative called Carbon-Free Chicago - a campaign to equitably decarbonize Chicago by 2050 – as a template for a broader program called Carbon-Free Cities. The goal of Carbon-Free Cities is to help municipalities across Illinois, and the U.S., pursue decarbonization. This session will offer some early lessons from Carbon-Free Chicago about leadership, municipal aggregation, and building codes.

A S[PARK] - In Time

Alan Barker | Lamar Johnson Collaborative
Anezka Gocova | Lamar Johnson Collaborative
Vanessa Stokes | Westside Health Authority
Mary O'Connor | City of Chicago
Missy Perkins | Paint The City

Now, more than ever, there is a need for public open space. The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the inequitable distribution of quality open space in our communities. This session will focus on a project in a historically underinvested community on Chicago’s Westside and how resident stakeholders and key community leaders came together to build a public park in record time, a long a major corridor, with a generously donated but limited budget, implemented in less than a year.

The project began in the late summer of 2020 as part of the “All Reimagining Chicago” initiative which leverages design professionals to improve the city’s response to COVID. PopCourts! is a pop-up park in the Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s Westside. Imagined as a respite from the struggles brought on by the pandemic, PopCourts! provides much-needed outdoor amenity space in the heart of Austin. Situated in the middle of the “Soul City Corridor” along Chicago Avenue identified by the City’s Invest SouthWest initiative, PopCourts! is part of a larger vision to bring development to Chicago’s underinvested, and primarily black and brown communities.

The project’s location along a major commercial corridor provided a unique opportunity to capture the attention of passersby with Pop-themed art installations that show off the robust arts and culture present Austin. The design creates a flexible framework that will allow local artists and businesses to make it a living part of the community in the future. Bright colors and angular geometry on the ground plane divide the site into three distinct zones; Food Court, Basketball Courts, and a Public Lawn. The site’s three areas are designed to be responsive to the needs of the community, allowing local businesses (like the ice cream shop to the west or new soul food restaurant to the north) to expand their footprint for markets and safe outdoor dining.

The angular geometry extends vertically up the walls of adjacent buildings, across Lockwood Ave, and into the intersection with Chicago Ave, creating canvases for individual expression that ties into the project comprehensively. A large mural on the wall of the building to the east and an illuminated beacon on the corner will grab the attention of commuters on Chicago Ave and invite them to stop and see what Austin has to offer.

The park is a destination in the community and provides momentum for additional investment. PopCourts built capacity in Austin through collaboration with public and private organizations and agencies including the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development, nonprofit organizations, and local ward leadership. Youth engagement was integrated into the project which helped shape responsive space for teens as well as elevated this important demographic that is traditionally underrepresented in planning processes.

Learn Self Awareness and be a Better Planner

Michael Blue | Teska Associates, Inc.

People are hardwired with emotions that direct how they live, but know little of how that happens. Increased self awareness helps people understand themselves and be effective planners. It helps them interact more appropriately with with colleagues, residents and others.

Planners work with people: plan commissions residents, clients etc. This involves emotion (obvious or not) that sometimes become heated. Planners need to understand the source of these emotions in others and in themselves to effectively manage situations and best serve their community. The session will describe key emotions and how they impact us (focus on fear, shame, and anger). A ""self awareness quiz"" will get the group thinking about their own self awareness. The sciences of emotions is briefly considered. The session includes techniques to increase one's self awareness and apply those lessons to work and daily life.

Session 8 (Oct. 7, 2021 - 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm)

Keynote: What's On the Horizon for Planning in Illinois?

Emmanuel “Chris” Welch, Illinois Speaker of the House

Session 9 (Oct. 7, 2021 - 3:15 pm - 4:15 pm)

Putting the Nurture in Nature: Guiding Communities on Ecological Restoration Timeframes

Mike Glester | Cardno
Heather Schwar | Cardno

A professional ecologist and a stormwater engineer will walk the attendees through several environmental restoration projects on what to expect through various phases of development. Projects are always sold on the results at the end of the work, but oftentimes in ecological restoration, the abstract concepts and misinformation come during the middle establishment phases. This disconnect of the total process can often lead to unnecessary changes of scope that eat up budgets or even lead to project failure all together. The objective of this presentation is to use real examples to give professional insight on realistic timeframes and expectations in ecological restoration. Information gathered from this presentation will give planners more tools in their collective arsenals to better relay details from a complex restoration processes to the communities they serve.

Innovative Zoning Codes for Rapidly Changing Times

Wayne Childs | General Code
Tim Schwecke | Civic Webware

Historically, zoning regulations have been complex and difficult for their users to understand and interpret. This complexity makes it difficult for citizens to understand how these regulations relate to their community’s plan for the future, and how they affect their property and neighborhoods. Both planners and the communities they serve benefit immensely when these dated zoning content and service models are modernized. In this session, we will explore rapidly changing public expectations and how user-centered service and technology developments can narrow the gap between dated, complex zoning regulations and how they are communicated to the public.

Advocacy and Moratoriums: Building Equity through Land Use Planning

Nicholas Zettel | City of Chicago, 1st Ward (Alderman Daniel La Spata)
Jose Acosta | LVEJO / University of Illinois

Residents and advocacy groups across Chicago have recently used land use moratorium proposals to achieve aims of housing justice and environmental justice. As long-term residents of gentrifying neighborhoods feared displacement, an Ordinance placing a moratorium on demolitions surrounding the 606 Trail neighborhoods (Logan Square and Humboldt Park) passed City Council while the City’s Department of Housing, local Aldermen, and residents analyzed a demolition impact fee proposal. This effort was bolstered by several years of organizing by Logan Square Neighborhood Association, and produced a number of housing policies related to density and the preservation of existing housing in an effort to keep 2-and-4 flat housing affordable.

Throughout Chicago’s southwest side neighborhoods, advocates have opposed the expansion of Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics (TDL) uses, due to the overconcentration of these facilities without considerations for negative impacts to air quality, traffic congestion, or local infrastructure. This is a policy issue that has especially heightened as the City released a plan for more Equitable Transit Oriented Development, to ensure that housing development is maximized surrounding rapid transit throughout the City (rather than in specific, already developed neighborhoods). Residents are also opposing the expansion of these uses while building on a legacy of opposing environmental racism. While TDL companies continue to purchase prime sites adjacent to rapid transit stations, advocates from Little Village Environmental Justice Organization proposed a moratorium on logistics citing while the City conducts a study of transportation and logistics uses in the area.

This panel proposes to discuss the technical aspects and justification of temporary moratorium on development or land uses, and how these technical analyses can intersect with social equity goals.

In these cases, planners can learn from advocates about how housing and environmental justice issues are becoming aligned through the application of mundane land use law tools such as moratoriums.

This panel will provide overviews of the Logan Square and Little Village cases, discuss the technical importance of moratoriums, in an effort to demonstrate how sub-fields such as equity planning and advocacy planning can also use specific technical tools to help residents and municipalities achieve just cities.

Planning and Legislative Advocacy Session

Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch (D-7th District)
David Silverman, AICP

Planners are subject to a litany of statutes that affect what they do and how they do it. Too often, however, planners do not realize how much their work is shaped by the General Assembly or are otherwise unconcerned, because there are lawyers and other officials who can deal with those issues. In fact, planners have a major stake in how legislation is formed and processed. In the last legislative cycle, several bills were introduced that would have dramatically affected planning and zoning practice in Illinois. APA-IL Legislative Chair, David Silverman, AICP, and members of the APA Illinois Legislative Committee with Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch (D-7th District), will demystify the legislative process and demonstrate why planners need to engage in that process to make their voices the only voices that matter on land use and zoning policy in Illinois.

Session 10 (Oct. 7, 2021 - 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm)

Revolution of the Small: Rethinking how Small Towns Survive and Thrive

Jonathan Weyer | Community and Economic Planner, City of Hillsboro, Illinois

Revolution of the Small will be a discussion of how small towns can stop playing the "large game" when it comes to economic development. It will explore how social capital can be used to develop an entirely different economy that's connect to the global economy without giving in to large corporations and box stores. The panel will include people from Hillsboro, Illinois from a variety walks of life, city government and maverick thinkers and doers who have changed the course of the town's direction.

Safer Biking and Walking through Alternatives to Enforcement

Ben LeRoy | City of Champaign
Courtney Cobbs
Gabriel Guevara
Kathy Shannon

"For years, the League of American Bicyclist's 5 E's Framework has informed thinking on the elements planners must engage when creating safe communities for biking and walking. In recent years, criticism against the continued inclusion against one of the E's--Enforcement--has mounted, resulting in the 2020 removal of that element from the Framework and its replacement with with Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI). While many planners and activists lauded this move, this session is submitted on the notion that a much larger number of planners are either unaware of this change or opposed to it. This session will educate planners about the League's decision and the role of rules, enforcement, and policing in the world of bike and pedestrian safety. To what extent do those concepts decrease or increase the risk of harm, and to whom? What is the role of public sector planners in fostering bike and pedestrian safety, especially when decisions around enforcement are structurally difficult for us to influence? What does true walking and biking safety look like? These questions and more will be discussed during this session.

Virtual Session 1 (Oct. 8, 2021 - 8:30 am - 9:30 am)

Public Displays of Objection

Emily A. Egan | City of Elmhurst
Nina Idemudia | City of Chicago
Phillip Green | Village of Woodridge

Your friends Emily, Nina and Phil want to talk with you about your experiences in public hearings/meetings and discuss ways you can make them safer and more inclusive.

Typically we can expect people to be respectful and professional even when emotions are running wild. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Emotions can take over zoning and planning meetings. The next time someone makes a comment in a public meeting that makes you uncomfortable, be ready to “call-in” that person or at least make it clear that their words do not represent, and are contrary to the community’s beliefs and values.

In this session, we will get really honest about the work it takes to move the needle on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). We want to talk openly and honestly with you about your (and our) experiences with bigoted statements in public settings, and how we can all be better prepared to make it clear that they won't be tolerated.

In this session we seek to provide the tools to address public comments that may be: racist, classist, xenophobic, abilist, and/or sexist. We will also speak frankly about ways to tackle these issues even when supervisors or elected officials may not be supportive. We want to talk about ways to support Planners who may fear retaliation for progressive views and practices.

We also want to hear from you! During the session, you’ll have the opportunity to work in small breakout groups with your friends and peers on some scenarios that we will provide. You’ll get the opportunity to discuss how you would respond in those scenarios, and explore the possible ramifications of letting bad actors go unchecked. You’ll also get the opportunity to (anonymously) submit examples of times you wished you had a better response or more effective ways to engage with misconduct in a public meeting.

Recent academic work like "Neighborhood Defenders" (Einstein, Glick and Palmer, 2019) shows that if left unchecked, coded language used within public meetings can distort planning objectives and result in unjust outcomes for communities.

The conversation will be appropriate for not only municipal planners, but private sector planners and anyone else working with the public on planning topics. This will not be a 101 level session and some understanding of why DEI issues are important is expected.

“We aim to push the community planning profession toward authentic and non performative diversity, equity, and inclusion principles.” - Planners for Equity Accountability and Justice (PEAJ)

Opening Today in Illinois: Controversial, But Essential Sober Homes and Recovery Communities

Daniel Lauber | Law Office of Daniel Lauber
Terrill Pyburn | City of Coconut Creek, FL

They're no long just in warm climates. Sober home and recovery communities for people in recovery from substance abuse disorder are springing up all over Illinois and all too many cities don't have a clue how to legally zone for them. The U.S. Department of Justice has already filed a housing discrimination lawsuit against one wealthy Chicago suburb and others are under scrutiny. Far too many Illinois towns and counties violate the Fair Housing Act with zoning that either completely exludes sober homes and recovery communties from residential districts or places illegal barriers to establishing them.

These are controversial uses and far too many are run by scam artists. But proper legal zoning can legally elinminate the scam artists and allow the legitimate ones in accord with the nation's Fair Housing Act.

Illinois localities rank among the most exclusionary in the nation when it comes to zoning for sober homes and recovery communities. This didn't come about by accident. The 1989 "Illinois Community Residence Locational Planning Act sought to bring the zoning of home rule communities into just partial compliance with the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 which made people with disabilities a protected class. The Ilinois law required the state's then 110 home rule communities to prepare a plan for how each would comply with the Fair Housing Act regarding community residences for people with disabilities. But the Illinois statute excluded community residences for people in recovery (as well as people with a communicable disease) even though they are covered by the Fair Housing Act just like people with developmental disabilities, mental illness, physical disabiltiies, and the frail elderly. All too many Illinois localities then wrote zoning that completely excluded sober homes and recovery communities.

Implementing the act was so difficult that the consultant the state retained (one of our speakers) received the1991 Illinois APA Chapter Award of Merit for Program or Project of Unusually High Merit Performed Under Serious Budgetary, Staff, or Political Constraints.

  • Learn what those constraints were.
  • Learn the lasting effects of those constraints and how vulnerable most Illinois towns and counties are to costly housing discrimination lawsuits from very aggressive advocates for sober homes and recovery communities.
  • Learn how to win over elected officials to revamp their zoning from those who have done it across the nation.
  • Learn from top national experts how to amend your zoning code to legally provide for sober homes and the very different recovery communities in compliance with the nation's Fair Housing Act.

Business Incubators


The panel will demonstrate the establishment and function of business incubators. The session will show how the coordination of business incubators can enhance economic development and planning.


  • Philip Dick, AICP Session Coordinator, Director of Building & Zoning for McLean County, Bloomington, BS in Economics, Illinois State University (ISU)
  • Ranadip Bose, AICP Session Coordinator, Senior VP at SB Friedman Development Advisors, Chicago, Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
  • Craig McLauchlan, PhD, Session Presenter, Associate VP for Research and Graduate Studies, Office of the Provost, Professor in Chemistry Department at ISU, and Coordinator of the ISU, Bloomington-Normal Hub, PhD in Chemistry from Northwestern University
  • Laura Frerichs, Session Presenter, Executive Director of the University of Illinois Research Park and EnterpriseWorks Incubator, and Director of Economic Development at UIUC, BS in Advertising at UIUC
  • Shannon McGhee, Session Presenter, Director of Community Impact & Engagement at mHUB, Chicago, BS in Journalism, Butler University

Housing as a Social Determinant of Health

Alia Poulos | University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center, Office of Community Engagement & Cancer Health Equity

The objectives of this session are to:

  • Define the social determinants of health
  • Identify housing issues in the U.S. and Chicagoland (can be adapted for IL state)
  • Explain the relationship between housing and personal and public health
  • Examine the links between substandard housing and poor health and the overlapping disparities
  • Discuss the ways in which healthcare practitioners and community advocates can address housing issues to effect better health outcomes for patients

Where Has All The Affordable Housing Gone? Long Time Ago to Condo Conversions

Daniel Lauber | Planning/Communications and Law Office of Daniel Lauber
David Orr | Harold Washington's favorite alderman, former Cook County Clerk

The roots of today's growing affordable housing crisis rest in the decade of condo-mania that started in the mid-1970s where the flick of a BIC that converted a rental to condominium ownership typically increased the monthly cost of a unit by 60 to 100%. And while all these apartments were being converted, nobody could build replacement housing affordable to displaed tenants (especially seniors) without a government subsidy -- which were few and hard to come by. Condo-mania -- which, for example, led to the percentage of rentals in Oak Park plummeting from 56% to 40% of the housing stock -- was fueled by extraordinarily low rental vacancy rates below 3% in conversion hotbeds like Evanston, Oak Park, and Chicago's near north side and Hyde Park, and unethical and often illegal actions by converters and lenders. When these techniques were eventually extended to the full housing market, they led to the collapse of the housing market in 2007 and the Great Recession of 2008.

The result: The affordable housing crisis that has been intensifying ever since. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the peak of condo-mania in Chicagoland and the U.S. House of Representatives' 3 days of public hearings on the issue.

It didn't have to be this way. As HUD's comprehensive study reported, less than a third of the market for converted condos consisted of people seeking to own a condo. More than two-thirds of the market consisted of reluctant tenant purchasers who had been displaced by condo conversions time and again, and specualtors who turned some converted condos in Chicago in Sheridan Road high rises into brothels.

This session will offer first hand accounts from those who were there of:

  • The condo-mania of the late 70s and early 80s - the insanity of American Invesco, the artificial and very manipulated market, the conditions that made condo conversion possible, the complicity of local governments, the impact on seniors and minorities;
  • Efforts in Chicagoland to get conversions under control and how the real estate industry fought back;
  • The radical changes to the housing stock that conversions brought to Rogers Park, Evanston, Oak Park, the near North Side, and Hyde Park
  • How conversions typically increased the cost of living in a unit by 60 to 100%,
  • The practices converters and the lending industry used that 20 years later were embraced by the entire housing industry and helped lead to collapse of the housing market and the Great Recession
  • The 40th anniversary of the U.S. House hearings on condo conversions and how Congress was interested more in consumer protections than how conversions were wiping out affordable housing
  • The low-equity cooperative alternative that preserves affordable housing and, if widely used in gentrifying neighborhoods, can lead to an economically and racially integrated neighborhood for the long term
  • Lessons for planners and governments seeking to preserve housing affordable to the middle class and households of modest means.

AICP Exam Prep Workshop


The APA-IL is proud to once again provide the widely successful AICP Exam Prep Workshop. The session will be led by the same trainers who have conducted AICP training throughout the country for over a decade and the past 8 National APA Conferences including the 2018 National APA Conference in New Orleans: John Houseal, FAICP, Devin Lavigne, AICP, LEED AP, founders of Houseal Lavigne Associates, and Trevor Dick, AICP, LEED AP, City of Aurora. Each registrant will be provided a course booklet .pdf