The Southeast Section’s annual event brought together planners in Lansdowne Borough, Delaware County to explore how communities can leverage history and the arts to revitalize communities. The event was held on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 and included a walking tour and panel discussion as well as time for socializing.
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On an unseasonably cold and blustery April day, aspiring planners from the Temple Student Planning Organization (TSPO) – in partnership with APA Pennsylvania’s Southeast Section (APA PA SE) – hosted a booth at Temple University’s EarthFest. The purpose of this annual event is to teach students about sustainability concepts and promote environmental awareness. This year, the event honored Dr. Jeffrey Featherstone, founder of the Center for Sustainable Communities and professor in the Department of Planning and Community Development at Temple University.
TSPO volunteers led elementary and middle school students in an exercise designed to foster a discussion about planning and encourage them to think about how land can be sustainably developed. Using an enlarged aerial map of the field in which they were standing, students were asked to guess what the map depicted. With impressive regularity, students correctly identified the location of the aerial. Next, volunteers led a discussion of various types of development, culminating in students suggesting ideas for developing the field by placing sticky notes on the map. Some of the most compelling responses were “homes but cheap” and “a nature preserve,” though “swimming pool” seems to be the perennial favorite. The APA brochure What Planners Do was also available at the booth and used to spark discussions with interested chaperones.
Each year, Temple University’s EarthFest provides an opportunity to engage with students and their families about the work that planners do to improve communities. The participation of TSPO and APA PA SE in this event is a small but meaningful way in which the planning community can promote a greater understanding of the important role planning has in our society.
A warm, sunny, and windy day was the setting for EarthFest 2017 on April 28th at Temple University’s Ambler Campus. EarthFest is an annual event promoting environmental awareness to elementary and middle school students from across the region. This year, the Southeast Section (APA PA SE) partnered with Temple’s Student Planning Organization (TSPO) to host a combined booth focused on sustainability and planning. Our volunteers engaged students in two planning activities – one related to transportation and the other land use – to give them a basic idea of what many planners do on a regular basis. The booth also had informational materials, including an APA brochure explaining “What Planners Do.”
On Thursday, February 23, 2017, APAPASE and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) co-hosted a breakfast event about PennDOT Connects. The event, which took place at the American College of Physicians building in Philadelphia, featured Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Leslie Richards, Brian Hare of PennDOT, and Elizabeth Schoonmaker of DVRPC, presentations are available here. Secretary Richards kicked off the event with a twenty-minute presentation where she explained transportation’s role in connecting communities and supporting economic development. Under the PennDOT Connects initiative, PennDOT will take an earlier and more active role in reaching out to communities to enhance engagement with local communities and improve transportation-project planning, design, and delivery so that transportation investments support a community’s vision and goals.
If it’s true what they say, ‘children are our future,’ then we have some very smart cities to look forward to! On Saturday January 21, thirty-six middle schools from southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware competed in the 2017 Philadelphia Future City Competition held at Archbishop John Carroll High School in Radnor.
Over 200 curious young visitors stopped by the APAPA-SE activity booth at Temple University’s EarthFest 2016 on April 22nd. An annual event at the Ambler Campus, EarthFest promotes environmental awareness to elementary and middle school students from across the region. Continuing a multi-year tradition, APAPA-SE hosted a booth to support the effort. This year, our four volunteers engaged students in two planning activities – one related to transportation and the other land use – to give them a very basic idea of what planners do on a regular basis.
The transportation-related activity had students placing stickers to indicate whether they walk, bike, drive, or take the bus to get to school, visit friends/family, visit park/playgrounds, and go shopping. While not exactly scientific, this informal survey had over 230 responses and provided some interesting results (see the tally we put together and feel free to draw your own conclusions). Overall, the kids were really excited about the activity – especially the stickers – and it got them thinking about the pros and cons of how they travel, both for their own personal health and the health of the environment.
“If you could do whatever you wanted with this lot, what would you do and why?” David, age 9, responded, “I would plan a kingdom so that I could be king.” If only we could all have the visionary powers to dream up a kingdom like David (and if only it were that easy)! Along with David, hundreds of curious young visitors stopped by the APAPA-SE activity booth at Temple University’s EarthFest 2015 at the Ambler Campus on Friday, April 24th. They each were prompted to respond to that same question we asked David.
Thanks to all those who attended or contributed to APAPA SE’s Annual Event on Thursday, November 7th at Lansdowne’s beautiful 20th Century Club. It was a great event for learning, networking, and connecting with fellow planners!
For those who were unable to attend, or for those who did attend but would like more information on the material presented, below are some of the links used in the presentations about the great work being done in Lansdowne: