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Conferences and Speaking Engagements

Reimagining Our Streets

Agencies and advocates from across the country will participate in a design charrette to reimagine their streets to promote active living, healthy communities and much more at the National Walking Summit in Washington, D.C., October 28-30, 2015. As part of the educational session, re:Streets: Rethinking Streets to Promote Walking, MIG’s Mukul Malhotra and Phil Myrick will explore how streets can be designed to support multimodal mobility, social gathering, commerce, events and programs, play and recreation, urban agriculture, wayfinding, green infrastructure and community identity.

The session explores the future of America’s streets based on the results of re:Streets — a three-year research effort funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. re:Streets is a fundamental rethinking of America’s streets based on the most recent research on street design. re:Streets has exceeded expectations, mobilizing hundreds of professionals to redesign streets as public spaces that meet human needs and contribute to public health and economic revitalization of our communities — resulting in implemented street projects nationwide.

“MIG's leadership in developing places that put people first and support active living has been critical in working towards walkable and livable communities,” said Scott Bricker, Director of America Walks. “The work of projects such as re:Streets that incorporates the human, social and economic aspects of a community into design is leading towards our mutual goal of making communities in America a great place to walk.”

For complete information about this session, click here.

The 2015 National Walking Summit will mark a watershed moment, coming on the heels of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Call to Action on Walking & Walkability. Hundreds of organizations, companies, agencies and local partners will convene to share best practices on how to increase walking, improve walking environments, build support for walking initiatives among federal agencies and create momentum for transforming our communities. MIG is proud to continue our sponsorship of this event.

Safe, walkable and livable environments do not just happen. They take hard work and coordinated commitment. Learn more about the National Walking Summit here or go to search for #WalkingSummit on Twitter.

Oakland Hosts APA California Conference

MIG staff will be joining more than 1000 planners across the state at the annual APA California Conference at the Oakland City Center Marriott, October 3-6, 2015. The conference theme, Rooted in AuthentiCity, symbolizes the positive aspects of the host city — Oakland’s solid roots, sense of pride and potential for positive growth. With sessions ranging from leadership to housing, MIG staff will be featured in four educational sessions:

Laura Stetson, MIG; Mike Moore, MIG, Steven Preston, City of San Gabriel; Janet Ruggiero, De La Salle Institute – Management Institute 2015 – Saturday, 10/3, 8:45 - 2:45 pm, Preconference Institute, Room 210

Laura Stetson, MIG; Dan Amsden, MIG; Piu Ghosh, City of Cupertino; Veronica Tam, Veronica Tam & Associates, You Want to Put What Where? Siting Housing in Difficult Circumstances – Sunday, 10/4, 3:15-4:45 pm, Room 205

Steve Kokotas, MIG; Kayla Gordon, PlaceWorks; Chris Steins, Urban Insight; William Riggs, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; Jake Levitas, Market Street Prototyping Festival, Establishing Your Roots in Planning Technology – Monday, 10/5, 3:15-4:45 pm, Junior Ballroom 3-4

Scott Davidson, MIG; Christina Ratcliffe, City of Orinda; Margaret Kavanaugh-Lynch, City of El Cerrito; Jennifer Carman, City of Goleta; Michelle Rodrigues, City of San Pablo, Time Management for Harried Planners – Tuesday, 10/6, 8:00-9:30 am, Room 207

MIG is proud to continue to serve as an event sponsor as well as provide leadership for this important event for California’s planning community. Laura Stetson contributes to the Management Institute as well as the California Planning Roundtable. Dan Amsden serves on the APA California Diversity Committee and Scott Davidson was part of the Conference’s Local Host Committee this year.

Inclusion and Inspiration at IDA!

From inclusive cities to the arts, MIG Principal Christopher Beynon, AICP, an international leader in transforming and revitalizing urban environments, will be sharing his expertise at the International Downtown Association’s (IDA) conference, September 30 – October 2, 2015 at San Francisco’s Marriott Marquis. An accomplished speaker and keynoter, Chris uses his knowledge of cutting edge trends, quantitative analysis, dynamic imagery and energetic storytelling to help communities discover their own distinct paths toward future success.

On September 30 at 4:00 P.M., Chris will present a Master Talk at IDA’s opening plenary session endorsing the concept of inclusivity as the fundamental basis for creating truly great cities. Audience members will learn how to leverage the continued success of their downtowns to promote positive outcomes for all in the areas of economic development, housing and neighborhoods, education, access and mobility, habitat protection, community facilities and providing cultural meaning.

On October 2, 10:45 A.M, Chris will present Leveraging the Arts to Re-energize Your Downtown. With contracting budgets and dwindling audiences, many performing arts venues are struggling to survive and to pass on the legacy of the arts as an important element of life to new generations. Chris and top notch panelists — including Cheryl Myers, Charlotte City Partners; Ginger White-Brunetti, Denver Arts and Venues and Tom DeCaigny, San Francisco Arts Commission — will provide tools and inspiration for reimagining the arts and downtowns. With a topic that is of concern to all downtowns — from large, world-class communities to smaller, unique destinations — this will be a not-to-miss session at the IDA conference.

This year’s IDA conference theme – Bridge the Gap – looks at how innovation, inclusion and inspiration bridge common issues facing downtowns and urban districts from coast to coast. For more information about this event, click here.

Expanding Outreach!

Need help expanding outreach and involving diverse community members in your planning projects? MIG’s Ryan Mottau and Cindy Mendoza — leaders in park and recreation planning — provide tips and tools during their session, Out’Reach: Beyond the Usual Limits of Engagement, at the NRPA Annual Conference 2015, Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, on Thursday, September 17.

Using interactive polling, case studies and modeling of innovative outreach tools, this session will keep participants actively engaged — and provide valuable take-home tools and strategies. In addition to exploring the latest high tech and high touch methods for engaging stakeholders, participants will learn how to customize engagement strategies for diverse audiences, select the right tool for the right audience and integrate community involvement results into plans and designs. “There are many great tools out there, but you need to know how to choose the right tool to get the best information from your stakeholder group,” says Cindy Mendoza. For complete information about this session, click here.

After the conference, go to for engagement resources or to contact the MIG presenters.

Every year, the NRPA Annual Conference is where more than 7,000 park and recreation professionals come for energetic networking and inspirational educational sessions. But this year is extra special because NRPA is celebrating its 50th Anniversary. For more information about this event, click here.

Breaking Down Barriers to Trail Use

Today’s cities are becoming increasingly more diverse and urban, while also growing more segmented and separated from within. What role do trails play in breaking down these barriers? How do advocates, planners and designers create healthier, more unified and connected communities, especially in areas that lack access to outdoor recreation?

MIG’s Lauren Schmitt, Jon Pheanis and Madeline Carroll will be teaming up to present ideas and solutions at their educational session, Trails for Diverse Communities: Planning, Design and Advocacy for All, on Wednesday, May 20, from 8:30-9:45 A.M. at the International Trails Symposium. The session will address the challenges facing people of diverse cultures, ages and abilities in getting outdoors, and will explore creative solutions to make trails more accessible and interconnected.

Case studies will feature diverse types of trail systems serving users at varied scales — from North Portland’s Columbia Bike Skills Park — serving over 2500 residents representing 11 different language groups — to the regional San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Accessibility Plan — developed to improve access and use of the water trail by non-motorized small boat users who have disabilities throughout the Bay Area.

The International Trails Symposium is a project of American Trails, a national, nonprofit organization working on behalf of all trail interests to create and protect America's network of interconnected trails. The organization supports local, regional, and long-distance trails and greenways in backcountry, rural or urban areas. It envisions a network of trails within 15 minutes of every home, school, and workplace.

The 2015 International Trails Symposium will be held at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon, May 17-20. The Symposium will address every aspect of trails, greenways and blueways during dozens of educational sessions and mobile workshops. To learn more about the conference, click here.

Connecting to Advance the Children & Nature Movement

MIG’s Carolyn Verheyen will be leading an interactive exercise at the opening plenary session of the Children & Nature Network (C&NN) Conference, April 7 through 9, in Austin, Texas. Participants will discover the power of network weaving as a tool to advance the children and nature movement.

Social networks and their human connections are the lifeblood of social movements — influencing their ability to innovate and have an impact on society. Social networks usually develop without a plan. A network weaver works to make networks stronger through quality connections — helping people to identify interests and challenges and connecting people strategically for mutual benefit.

Carolyn leads MIG’s social policy service area, bringing more than two decades of experience in strategic planning and organizational development focused on children, youth and families and on social, health and community services. She has assisted a number of agencies in social network analysis. Carolyn is currently working with the Children and Nature Network and National League of Cities on Cities Promoting Access to Nature Initiative — a three-year project that will help city leaders develop or expand strategies for getting more young people outdoors.

The C&NN was created to support the people and organizations working to reconnect children with nature. The 2015 C&NN Conference is a sold-out event, connecting over 400 leaders from around the world to hear what others are doing to create nature-rich communities that are so critical to the health and well-being of children and families. Attendees will learn about the latest research and policies, hear from leading health and urban planning experts and discover innovations in technology that bring new audiences to nature. For learn more about the conference, click here .

Places for People at APA 2015!

MIG’s Phil Myrick and Mukul Malhotra will show planners how to create engaging places that work for people during their session — Deep Dive: Advanced Techniques for Placemaking on April 20 — at American Planning Association’s National Conference. This session is part of APA’s new conference master series geared toward experienced planners. For more information about this session, click here.

The APA National Conference will be bringing together over 5,000 planners and elected officials committed to making great communities happen at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, April 18-21. Planners can choose from hundreds of sessions while they explore the state of planning in one of America's most sustainable cities. To learn about the APA Conference, click here .

Yakama Nation Project Featured in New APA Publication

MIG’s work with the Yakama Nation is featured in the American Planning Association’s (APA) new publication, Planning the Pacific Northwest. The new book continues the APA Planners Press series on how planning shapes major American cities. It explores how planning in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver balances growth and environmental sustainability. The book will be celebrated at an upcoming Meet the Authors event at the APA National Conference 2015 in Seattle on Sunday, April 19.

The chapter, The Columbia River: Community Participation and Science-based Planning, was authored by MIG’s Nicole Lewis. This chapter describes trends in river management and restoration as well as how restoration projects can respond to multiple objectives — including science-based practices and community needs. It presents as a case study a project that involved outreach to hundreds of boaters in the Upper Columbia River basin to understand how boaters use the rivers and to help inform river restoration and management — including the placement of large wood to help create salmon habitat. Nicole and MIG Principal John Baas continue to work with the Yakama Nation on recreation studies in North Central Washington.

“Our partnership with Yakama Nation Fisheries biologists has been a great adventure and a tremendous learning opportunity! “ said Nicole Lewis. “We are excited to continue to grow this niche practice of river recreation assessments in Washington and elsewhere.”

For more information about Planning in the Pacific Northwest, click here.

Honing Your Superpowers at CPRS 2015!

“I believe there’s a hero in all of us...” Spiderman 2

Aside from their incredibly busy schedule of saving lives, enduring numerous costume changes and keeping their identity secret, park and recreation superheroes across California are building a stronger state -- one community at a time -- by promoting health and wellness, conservation and social equity.

MIG staff from San Diego, Fullerton, Berkeley and Portland will join the California Parks and Recreation Society in saluting Superheroes of the Community at the CPRS Conference and Expo, March 10-13, 2015, at the Sacramento Convention Center. MIG will present three educational sessions that address key community challenges –- from building parks from the ground up to creating destination parks and strengthening community.

For more information about these sessions, click here. To learn about the CPRS Conference, click here

The New Majority

With changing demographics in communities across the U.S., groups traditionally considered "minority" are becoming the majority. MIG’s Esmeralda Garcia will be part of a panel that explores the differences and similarities between diverse cultures and the implications of changing demographics for public transportation agencies at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Esmeralda currently serves on TRB’s Environmental Justice Committee.

It is More Than Skin Deep: What We Need to Know About Each Other’s Culture will be presented on January 12 at 8:00 A.M., Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Room 140B. The session will explore the perspectives of African American, Hispanic, Native American and Asian American cultures impacting community involvement and environmental justice issues.

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) promotes innovation and progress in transportation through research. TRB is one of six divisions of the National Research Council. More than 12,000 transportation professionals from around the world will be attending TRB’s Annual Meeting. For more information about this event, visit the Transportation Research Board website.

The Fairest of Fairs!

How can county fairs better serve customers with disabilities? MIG staff members Tim Gilbert and Ashley Tomerlin will present an educational session at the 2015 Western Fairs Association Convention and Trade Show that addresses both legal requirements and best practices for improving fair accessibility. Everyone’s Welcome: Accessible Fairs will be presented on January 14 at 2:00 p.m. at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada. Workshop topics will include how to develop an accessibility plan, communications and customer service as well as new requirements for service animals and power-driven mobility devices.

The Western Fairs Association represents fairs and fair-related businesses throughout the western United States and Canada. Over 1200 attendees are anticipated at the Convention and Trade Show this year. For more information about this event, visit the Western Fairs Association website.

National Endowment for the Arts Grant Awarded A Collaborative Nationwide Project to Develop New Strategies for the Design of Inclusive Healthy Streets

October 5, 2010—The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded a grant to PLAE, Inc., to rethink the design of streets. The award is a follow-up to a visionary book The Inclusive City, which presents a policy framework for the development of public spaces that promote social and economic equity and accessible community development. The project is being implemented in partnership with the urban planning and design firm of MIG, Inc., the National Complete Streets Coalition, America Walks, and Smart Growth America.