Nebraska Planning Conference 2022 – The Recap

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The residents of Kearney can rest easy. The wild and ruckus bunch of planning and zoning geeks that infiltrated this Nebraska community have left. But attendees of the 2022 Nebraska Planning Conference have left wiser and better trained to deal with the planning and zoning issues in their daily jobs.

Three days of sessions provided an excellent learning opportunity in the planning and zoning field.

Nebraska Planning Conference 2022

Nebraska Planning Conference 2022 – Souce: NPZA

Rural Planning at the Nebraska Planning Conference

As it was a planning conference in Nebraska, planning and zoning issues for small towns were at the forefront of much of the discussion. Some of these sessions were:

  • No Town Left Behind – Small Towns to Boom Towns
  • Solar @ Scale
  • Solar Energy – A Planning Perspective
  • Water System Emergency Response Planning
  • Equity in Rural Areas – Is there a discrepancy in Public Health: a Facilitated Discussion
  • Progressive Development in Nebraska’s Rural Communities
  • Planning with Foresight to Prepare for an Uncertain Future
  • Rural Capacity Building, Supporting Planning
  • Tennent & Housing Provider Education – Informing the Housing Market Place
  • Crime Prevention through Environmental Design
  • Planning Vibrant Community Riverfront Spaces

Petra Hurtado

At the center of this year’s conference was keynote speaker Petra Hurtdao, PhD (@PetraSHurtado). Petra Hurtado is the Research Director at the American Planning Association, heading APA’s research team, programs, and related initiatives. Her areas of expertise and research include sustainable planning practices; smart cities; nature-based solutions; environmental psychology; planning and equity; and integration of technology, community, and nature.

The video below has a number of similarities to her presentation at the conference. Overall, it was a very eye-opening keynote presentation that really started your mind to think about the future and its impact on planning and zoning. As Petra states, “As planners, we shape the future of our communities, but to be able to shape the future, we first need to be able to imagine it. The world around us is changing at an accelerated pace, and the future is more unknowable than ever before.” Petra highlighted some emerging trends and signals that could impact how we approach planning and zoning in our communities in the future.

In Summary

Once again, the Nebraska Planning Conference (#NEPC) proved to be an affordable source of planning and zoning information for small-town city clerks, planning commissioners, and rural county zoning administrators. 

I’m already looking forward to next year’s conference. Members of the leadership group for the conference are moving the event back to March. It’s a short turnaround for the organizers, but for quite a long time the Nebraska Planning Conference was in March and it thrived at that point in the year. The move back to March should be a good one for the event and I’m looking forward to being back in session next March!