Posted by on Apr 10, 2013 in Headlines | No Comments

This year’s American Planning Association’s National Conference is being held right in our own backyard. To welcome fellow planners from across the country and help Chicago put its best foot forward, we decided to put even more effort than usual into our activities this year. Make sure you catch up with us at our presentations and mobile workshops, our exhibitor booth, or one of the scheduled social events.

HLA Attendees

  • John Houseal – Principal and co-founder
  • Devin Lavigne – Principal and co-founder
  • Dan Gardner – Principal Associate
  • Doug Hammel – Senior Associate
  • Brandon Nolin – Senior Associate
  • Nik Davis – Senior Associate
  • Ira Mabel – Associate
  • Danielle Ross – Marketing Coordinator


New Tools for Zoning and Development Visualization
HLA Presenters: Devin Lavigne and Nik Davis
Date and Time: Sunday April 14, 4:00 pm – 5:15 pm

Plans almost always include figures and photos to explain concepts and recommendations. Now zoning ordinances, design guidelines, and other regulatory tools are starting to follow suit. Learn about specific tools and techniques you can use to introduce graphics into codes and ordinances to make them more comprehensible. And gain a stronger understanding of how the move towards an online, transparent government has changed who is reading (and using) these documents.

Dissecting a Commercial Corridor
HLA Presenters: John Houseal and Devin Lavigne
Date and Time: Monday April 15, 10:30 am – 11:45 am

What are the issues and challenges associated with corridor planning? This session focuses on Ogden Avenue—a commercial corridor that passes through the Chicago region—to answer that question. Learn how this corridor has developed over six decades and how planners are retrofitting it to promote pedestrian access and cultivate a stronger sense of place.

Fast, Funny, and Passionate 2 & 3
HLA Presenter: Doug Hammel; Devin Lavigne
Date and Time: Monday April 15, 4:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.; Tuesday April 16, 7:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.

These short, timed, 7-minute presentations take up overlooked topics in planning or delve into a passionate perspective on why planning matters. Hear planners open up about what excites them. Presenters discuss case studies, present personal perspectives, or provide an imaginative insight into planning. HLA's Doug Hammel will present “What is it we do again?!?” in session 2, and Devin Lavigne will present "Bad City Logos” in session 3.

AICP Examination Preparation (session registration required)
HLA Presenters: John Houseal, Devin Lavigne, Doug Hammel, and Brandon Nolin
Date and Time: Saturday April 14, 7:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Prepare for the AICP exam with the help of chapter professional development officers who offer tips and focused training in the exam format, content, and topic areas. Learn about the application process and gain insights for success.

Mobile Workshops

Lasting Legacy of the Columbian Exposition (session registration required)
HLA Presenters: Doug Hammel
Date and Time: Monday April 15, 8:30 am – 12:00 pm

Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City highlights the tremendous impact of the Columbian Exposition, the event that brought planning to the forefront of urban development. See firsthand how this event defined the long-term growth of Hyde Park and Woodlawn—and how current development in those communities strives to balance contemporary practices with historic character. Stops include the Rookery Building (site of Burnham’s office) and many exposition sites.

Planners’ Day Off (session registration required)
HLA Presenters: Brandon Nolin
Date and Time: Monday April 15, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Follow in the footsteps of the characters in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and tour several of the sites they visited in this 1986 film. Learn about the real planning issues pertaining to iconic Chicago sites like Wacker Drive (sorry, no Ferraris on this trip) and the Chicago Riverwalk, Sears Tower (now Willis tower), Federal Plaza and State Street (route of the movie’s “Von Steuben Day Parade”) and Grant Park (home of the Art Institute and Millennium Park); explore the complex planning challenges a dynamic city like Chicago presents; and gain a deeper understanding of Chicago’s planning landscape.

Planning is a Team Sport (session registration required)
HLA Presenters: Dan Gardner
Date and Time: Tuesday April 16, 11:30 am – 4:00 pm

Explore the environs of three of Chicago’s major sports venues—Wrigley Field, U.S. Cellular Field, and the United Center—and learn how each venue has influenced surrounding development, including transportation enhancements. Discuss the challenges and opportunities planners encounter in balancing the needs of an existing neighborhood with the development potential presented by these venues and see how activity generators can serve as catalysts for neighborhood revitalization.

HLA Exhibitor Booth

Once again, HLA is an active sponsor of the APA, and will be hosting a booth in the exhibit hall. Come by to check out what’s been going on at HLA recently and to challenge us at our official office pastime, bubble hockey.

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