First off; Happy Mothers Day! Unfortunately I'm not in Grande Prairie to take my mom out for brunch, I'm starting off this Mother's Day in Portland, Oregon - sitting in Peet's Coffee. So, Mom, the best I can say is that I'm thinking of you and I hope the phone call will suffice - thanks for being you!
I'm in Portland for the 47th Annual Making Cities Liveable Conference (IMCL). I hadn't heard of the event until last fall when all of council was emailed an invitation to come. The invite immediately piqued my interest because Portland has a very good reputation for great neighbourhood planning, redevelopment and public transportation. Added to the fact that the host city has a great reputation the conference has a great program - that really strikes home.
In fact, the sessions really seem to speak to a lot of the themes that are coming out in the public consultation process of our Municipal Development Plan review. Here are a few sessions that caught my eye:
• Cities for health & well-being
Urban planning for physical & social health. Active living & the walkable, bikeable city. Planning for
commuting by foot and bike. Land Use principles for the healthy city. Health effects of sprawl. Sprawl, lack of community & social pathology. Dangers of social isolation for the young & the elderly. Psychological effects of the built environment. Making streets work to improve social & physical health.
• Integrating transit and land-use
Make towns - instead of traffic planning & housing development. Evaluating TODs: case studies. Including transit in development review. Environmental justice in transportation planning. Innovative new TOD projects.
(GP's Transit Master Plan is due to be released shortly)
• Regional planning for healthy cities
Sustainable regional transportation & land-use planning. Promoting regional identity. Curbing sprawl. Focusing development in town centers. Achievements in limiting big box retail.
• Nature in the urban environment
Importance of contact with nature for health & well-being. Natural urban places for exercise, adventure, relaxation & stimulation. Natural beauty & well-being. Designing & restoring parks, community gardens, wild areas. Restoring biodiversity.
(GP has a Urban Park Master Plan being developed right now)
So with all those great sessions (and many others) it looks to be a worthwhile week and I'm happy that I chose to come here and forego the FCM conference that happens at the end of the month in Whistler. During the week I'll be posting from the conference, covering the highlights of the sessions. Registration is today at 1pm and I'm looking forward to getting started!