Thursday Sessions

8:30 A.M. TO 9:45 A.M.

A1: It Takes a Village to Revitalize a Historic Downtown Block (Room 1)

It takes a “Village” of state, regional, local, public, and private partners to move a complex historic revitalization effort forward.  Downtowns throughout New England are rich with opportunities to live, work, and play.  However, many downtown buildings and sites need significant rehabilitation.  There are brownfield issues and a variety of funding sources are needed to implement the necessary environmental remediation to get a site ready for redevelopment.  This session will discuss the various funding sources used for remediation, the challenges associated with the project, and the “lessons learned” for complex, downtown rehabilitation projects.  These lessons are applicable to communities throughout New England.  We will discuss the importance of such funding in making larger redevelopment projects financially viable.  CM: 1.25

Susan Westa, AICP, Windham Regional Commission
William Colvin, Bennington County Regional Commission & Industrial Corporation
Gabrielle Ciuffreda, M&S Development
Brett Long, Vermont Department of Economic Development

A2: So you have a Housing Trust! What do you do with it? (Room 2)

Housing Trusts are becoming more common in southern New England as part of proactive local housing policies. However, most local governments do not have a lot of experience in how to effectively use the resources from a Trust efficiently. This session will explain how to manage a Housing Trust; how to use the funds to maximize the benefits they provide; and how to engage the Housing Trust effort into other initiatives to develop affordable housing. Panelists will explore tools for finding development partners to build the housing the Trust is ready to fund. A quick overview of the affordable housing development process will provide background and perspective. A few case studies will explain best practices for managing funds; how to prevent mission creep; and ways that negative public perception can be turned into positive views. Speakers represent well-established trusts as well as new ones. CM: 1.25

Jennifer Goldson, AICP, JM Goldson Community Planning
Roger Blood, Town of Brookline Housing Advisory Board
Jeff Levine, AICP, MIT Department of Urban Studies & Planning

A3: Planning Plan B: Rethinking Assumptions (Room 3)

Economics, demographics, politics, even planning philosophies see waves of change. Sometimes the foundations of a well-intentioned plan shift, requiring new approaches. This session examines two places, Fairfield, Ct and Newton, MA where transit-oriented development did not occur as envisioned. Planning paradigms needed rethinking to meet contemporary opportunities and challenges.  Community conversation and technical solutions needed to move past old assumptions.  CM: 1.25

Ben Carlson, AIA, Goody Clancy
Susan Silberberg, Civic Moxie LLC
Jim Wendt, AICP, Town of Fairfield, CT
Kathleen Onufer, AICP, Goody Clancy

A4: Pot Shops and Grow Spots: Planning and Zoning for the Weed Economy (Room 4)

Adult Use Marijuana facilities represent a new use for all Massachusetts communities that voted to legalize marijuana on the 2016 state referendum. With thoughtful regulation and permitting processes, these facilities can be a boost to local economies. This panel represents the front line of this New Economy and will share lessons learned with regard to regulating and permitting adult use marijuana establishments. Planners from two Pioneer Valley towns and a representative from the first retail shop to open on the east coast will relay their lessons learned from the process of zoning, permitting, and opening adult use marijuana establishments in their communities. Panelists will discuss questions of equity and ownership, host agreements, energy usage, the boost to local economies, the question of police detail during operating hours, and the importance of businesses working and host communities working together to ensure smooth and safe operations.  CM: 1.25

Moderator: Ken Comia, AICP, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission
Jeffrey Bagg, City of Easthampton
Carolyn Misch, AICP, City of Northampton
Leslie Tarr Laurie, MS, New England Treatment Access (NETA)

A5: The Art of Placemaking (Room 5)

This session explores creative ways that communities are planning for and implementing placemaking activities and programs. New England towns and cities are using their public realm and urban landscapes in a variety of new ways. This session will highlight, through a series of case studies, projects, and programs that have helped a range of communities rethink, reinvest, and renew their public places. CM: 1.25

Geoffrey Morrison-Logan, NCICS, NCICMF, VHB
Bonnie Nickerson, AICP, City of Providence
Laura Barrett, MassDevelopment
Ward Joyce, Ward Joyce Design

A6: Planning for Equity in New England (Room 6/Ballroom C)

It is important for planners to recognize the past and present role that the planning profession has played in creating and perpetuating discriminatory practices against communities of color, the LGBTQ communities, women, and persons with disabilities. The American Planning Association is committed to being more mindful of avoiding these impacts and how we create and support diverse, equitable and inclusive communities. The Planning for Equity Policy Guide reaffirms that commitment to promote equity and explicitly remove barriers in policies and regulations that perpetuate inequity in the United States. This session will provide a deep dive into the Planning for Equity Policy Guide, explore Planners’ roles and responsibilities in advancing the Policy Guide recommendations, and provide robust examples of where planners are already implementing these recommendations in communities around New England. CM: 1.25

Angela Cleveland, AICP, APA MA President
Sarah Marchant, AICP, City of Nashua, NH, NNECAPA President
Kim Lundgren, ENV SP, Kim Lundgren Associates



11:15 A.M. TO 12:45 P.M.

B1: Functional Obsolescence and the Repositioning of Properties to Compete for Investment (Room 1)

Functional obsolescence of buildings is one of the greatest challenges that communities and planners face in their efforts to create and maintain vibrant and prosperous communities. Buildings, be they industrial, retail, office, or residential, are built at specific locations, at specific moments in time, and are designed to meet the specific consumer demands of that moment. This program will explain the spatial, temporal, and technological challenges that result in functional obsolescence and tools and strategies that communities can use to address functionally obsolescent properties. CM: 1.5

Donald Poland, PhD, AICP, Goman + York
Jason Vincent, AICP, Town of Stonington, CT

B2: Springfield's Strategic Renaissance and Renewal (Room 2)

This session seeks to present the successful multi-faceted strategic approach that has led to the current renaissance in downtown Springfield today to serve as a model for other cities. The session will focus on the City’s calculated efforts to reverse the decline common to post industrial cities through key redevelopment projects, public private partnerships, as well rebound from natural disasters of the 2011 tornado, turning adversity into opportunity. One key to this success is the City’s unique approach to soliciting, securing and facilitating one of its biggest transformative projects in its history, the $950M investment, MGM Springfield.  CM: 1.5

Philip Dromey, AICP, City of Springfield
Brian Connors, City of Springfield
Scott Hanson, City of Springfield
Tim Brangle, The Chicago Consultants Studio, Inc.

B3: Leveraging Opportunity Zone Status in Southern New England (Room 3)

The first federal Opportunity Zones were designated in April 2018. With the program in its second year of existence, our panel will focus on how the program has pressed us to rethink economic development, and the lessons we have learned in the process. Featuring economic development professionals from the public and private sectors, this session will examine local real estate projects that have taken advantage of Opportunity Zone funding.  CM: 1.5

Luke Mitchell, VHB
Rob May, City of Brockton
Derek Santos, New Bedford Economic Development Council
Victoria Storrs, Camoin Associates
Edward Lavernoich, Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation

B4: A Renewed Commitment to Fair Housing (Room 4)

Fifty years after the federal Fair Housing Act, barriers to fair housing persist and have evolved into new forms. This interactive panel will include a short history on planning and fair housing, and then update planners on recent fair housing decisions from federal and state courts. CM: 1.5 LAW

Marijoan Bull, AICP, Brown University
Meris Bergquist, Esq., Massachusetts Fair Housing Center
Kristina da Fonseca, Esq., SouthCoast Fair Housing

B5: Getting Great Multifamily Housing in Your Community: Why Housing Matters and What Planners Can do to Make it Happen (Room 5)

This session will focus on tools and strategies for planners and permitting authorities to work with multifamily developers and their design teams to get great projects and address opposition to higher-density housing growth.  It will also provide insight into the importance of housing, looking at regional market trends in the real estate industry, and bridging those trends with planning and economic development themes that include adaptive re-use and revitalization, talent attraction and retention, and quality of place.  CM: 1.5

Judi Barrett, Barrett Planning Group, LLC
Jeremy Lake, AIA, LEED AP, CNU, Union Studio
Rachel Selsky, AICP, Camion Associates
Jonathan Reiner, AICP, Town of Groton, CT
Greg Reibman, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber

B6: Wicked Ethical Problems in Transportation Planning (Room 6/Ballroom C)

This session will discuss a number of scenarios in which ethics play a key role through the lens of transportation planning. We also aim to engage attendees in a number of different methods, whether it be through responses via mobile phones, listening to an expert panel presentation, or in a small group discussion format. The outcomes from this session will not only focus on ethical concerns, but to provide a deep dive for transportation planning professionals so that attendees can go back to work with the tools they need to manage these concerns in their specialty.  CM: 1.5 ETHICS

Daphne Politis, AICP, Community Circle
William Lyons, AICP, CTP, PE, PTOE, PTP, ENV SP, Fort Hill Companies
Travis Pollack, AICP, Metropolitan Area Planning Council
Alison Felix, AICP, Metropolitan Area Planning Council
Jamie Simchik, AICP, Simchik Planning & Development

1:00 P.M. TO 2:15 P.M. - NETWORKING LUNCH (BallRooms A+B) AND STUDENT MENTOR LUNCH (Room 6/Ballroom C)

Special Welcome from Springfield's Mayor Domenic Sarno!

2:30 P.M. TO 3:45 P.M.

C1: Beyond Playgrounds: Rethinking Play in our Cities (Room 1)

Planners have proven themselves to be generally supportive of creating and maintaining play opportunities for children. This session will provide an overview of children’s play, why it’s important, the factors currently interfering with children’s play, and how as planners we might be able to start to address these problems. CM: 1.25

Jillian Finkle, City of Central Falls
Wendy Nilsson, City of Providence, RI
Robin Meisner, Boston Children’s Museum

C2:  When Planners Become Politicians (Room 2)

Planners and community development professionals quickly become experts at policy, local government, and regulation in the communities they work in, but decision-making ultimately falls to elected officials. Through an actively-facilitated panel discussion and audience question and answer, this session will explore what happens when planners become the decision-makers by running for elected office in their home communities and in many cases, winning. CM: 1.25

Kathleen Onufer, AICP, LEED AP ND, Goody Clancy
Christine Madore, AICP, City of Salem, MA
Jen Berardi-Constable, Town of Hull, MA
Manisha Bewtra, AICP, Melrose City Council

C3: District Improvement Financing and Tax Increment Financing: Lessons from Community Successes & Strategies for Integrating Economic Development into Your Planning (Room 3)

Funding the implementation of a communities long range plans, zoning, and economic development is a continuing challenge for communities, whether it is for infrastructure or resources to undertake a long-term planning effort. In MA, CT, and RI, District Improvement Financing and Tax Increment Financing can fund a range of hard and soft costs and be paired with grants, debt issuance, and direct financial assistance to businesses. The session will facilitate two sections where participants are led to discover for themselves how DIF/TIF plans benefit from early engagement with planning. CM: 1.25

Victoria Storrs, Camoin 310 
Jonathan Reiner, AICP, Town of Groton, CT
Rob Dolan, MassDevelopment

C4: Evidence-based Design Using Biometrics (Room 4)

Today we live in a new Age of Biology where findings in cognitive science coupled with new biometric tools can help us better understand human behavior and how the design of our built environment can influence human behavior. These technologies can be used to understand why some neighborhoods and building layouts feel safer than others, and invite walkability, while others do not. Attendees will learn about a pilot-study in Devens, Massachusetts, where these technologies were used to assess new residential development built to promote sustainability and healthy living. CM: 1.25

Neil Angus, AICP CEP, LEED AP, Devens Enterprise Commission
Ann Sussman, AIA, 
Peter Lowitt, FAICP, Devens Enterprise Commission

C5:  More than Moving People Faster: BostonBRT (Room 5)

The BostonBRT initiative aimed to demonstrate the potential of bus rapid transit (BRT) in metro Boston, most recently through pilot projects in Arlington, Everett, and Cambridge/Watertown which tested elements of BRT on high-ridership, high traffic corridors. This session explores the three pilots and their impacts, including dedicated bus lanes, shared bus-bike lanes, queue jumps, transit signal priority, and level boarding. CM: 1.25

Julia Wallerce, Institute for Transportation & Development Policy
Andrew Reker, City of Cambridge
Erin Zwirko, AICP, LEED AP, Town of Arlington
Jay Monty, City of Everett

C6:  Building Resilient Communities: How to implement climate resilient solutions in municipalities working with a range of stakeholders? (Room 6/Ballroom C)


Climate Resilience can be understood as a methodology and means to adapt to and mitigate the impacts from climate change while increasing social cohesion. Building on the current scientific understanding of climate change, this session will explore inter-disciplinary tools and techniques to use in engaging with diverse groups of stakeholders and in implementing resilient climate measures in their municipalities. This session will enable participants to tap into a variety of strategies and tools to start to address specific climate risks and respective climate resilience solutions in their work or communities. CM: 1.25

Isabel Kaubisch, Nitsch Engineering
Jim Newman, LEED AP O+M, EcoDistrict AP, LFA, Linnean Solutions
Stephanie Ciccarello, Town of Amherst, MA


4:00 P.M. TO 5:15 P.M.

D1:  Form-Based Codes for Small Towns: Breaking the Barriers to Smart Growth (Room 1)

The form-based code has been a popular alternative for new development or urbanized areas, particularly for larger communities. The panel will describe the benefits and challenges of form-based codes as they may apply to smaller communities. It will also describe the steps that such communities can take to successfully implement a form-based code system. CM: 1.25

Christopher Ryan, AICP, Ph.D., Town of Harvard, MA
George Proakis, AICP, City of Somerville, MA
Neil Pade, AICP, Town of Canton, CT
Maren Toohill, AICP, Town of Littleton, MA
Alan Manoian, AICP, Town of Ayer, MA

D2:  21st Century Waterfront Planning in the Northeast (Room 2)

Waterfronts have traditionally been perceived as possessing special qualities from real estate, urbanity, and tourism perspectives. This session features planning processes and outcomes in Massachusetts, upstate New York and New Hampshire and highlights the power of greenway planning, ecological design and restoration, and environmental management as they relate to the quality of waterfront sites and their future potential.  CM: 1.25

Carlos Balsas, Ph.D., AICP, University at Albany
Jaclyn Hakes, AICP, M.J. Engineering and Land Surveying, P.C.
Steven Whitman, AICP, Resilience Planning & Design

D3: Climate Change Without Borders (Room 3)

Together, the cities of Chelsea and Everett are pursuing climate resiliency planning and adaptation measures to address coastal and inland flooding and urban heat island effect associated with climate change. This panel of planning and engineering experts will discuss upcoming collaborative resilience projects, benefits/challenges of collaboration, lessons learned, and take questions from the audience. CM: 1.25

Alex Train, City of Chelsea, MA
John DePriest, City of Chelsea, MA
Tony Sousa, City of Everett, MA
Greg St. Louis, PE, City of Everett, MA
Katie Moniz, PE, AICP, BSC Group
Dalia Munenzon, One Architecture

D4: Psychology and the City: Springfield MA Case Study (Room 4)

Residents, visitors and those that rarely or never have been to a specific city often have widely varying perceptions about the quality, character, and safety of that city. Using urban design principals paired with ideas from human psychology, such as Maslows Hierarchy of Needs, this session will look at how people perceive the City of Springfield and why those perceptions often are significantly in opposition to each other. CM: 1.25

Mark Westa, RLA, Stevens & Associates

D5: The High Cost of Free Roads: How pricing valuable road space can make our transportation system work better for everybody (Room 5)

One obstacle to rethinking how we design cities and move people is the idea of “free” roads. Data show that we cannot build our way out of congestion and parking takes up valuable land and increases housing costs because, for the most part, drivers aren’t charged for using roads. This session will explore successful models from around the U.S. and around the world where dynamic parking and road pricing is effectively managing demand. We will look at how these systems are set-up, what technology is necessary and what are best practices for reinvesting revenues from these programs to meet a region’s mobility, environmental, and equity goals. CM: 1.25

Kathryn Carlson, A Better City
Chris Dempsey, Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA)

D6: Thinking BioRegional: Steps Toward Implementing Agroforestry at the Watershed Level in the Connecticut River Valley (Room 6/Ballroom C)

Agroforestry involves the integration of tree-based staple crops with annual or perennial crops, or livestock. These systems can serve as green infrastructure, enhance landscape biodiversity, and support rural agricultural economies. They can also strengthen bonds between urban and rural communities through cooperative planning for land conservation and watershed health via municipal water funds. 
The BRASA process is a GIS tool built to determine the applicability of agroforestry based on land use and crop requirements. Refined geo-processes assess land uses suitable for agroforestry and explore production schemes based on stakeholder goals. In this case study the crop is hybrid chestnuts, and the area of study is the Connecticut River watershed in Massachusetts. Our team identified and located 104,000 acres out of 1.7 million suitable for hybrid chestnut production. CM: 1.25

Andrew Kilduff, TK.designlab
Tim Tensen, TK.designlab
Russell Wallack, Terra-Genesis International / Breadtree Farms