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Geography Planning and Society Trip to Minneapolis

gps student minneapolis
Members of the Geography and Planning Society at the American Planning Association National Planning Conference in Minneapolis.

Geography Planning and Society Trip to Minneapolis

Members of the Geography and Planning Society at the American Planning Association National Planning Conference in Minneapolis.

GPS Trip to Minneapolis April 12-15, 2024

Friday, April 12

Six members of the Geography and Planning Society departed Oxford in the morning and made our first stop for a late lunch in Chicago. We have a few members who had never been to Chicago, so we took the scenic route through the city to Portillo’s on the north side. We continued on to Madison, Wisconsin where we met up with Miami Geography Department Alumni and former GPS exec team member, Alexandria Coffman. She kindly gave us a tour of the city, walking paths around the lakes, and University of Madison’s campus. We stopped for dinner at the Madison staple Ian’s Pizza.

Saturday, April 13

We departed Madison early in the morning to make it to the NPC by the afternoon. We arrived at the conference and checked in to receive our lanyards and badges. The whole group began by attending a speaker about valuable techniques to leverage your LinkedIn towards planning. Then, the group split to go to sessions on using AI in planning. We then left the conference center to see what was around for lunch. One group went to a Vietnamese restaurant, while the other group got Mexican food. After a late lunch there were no more sessions we wanted to attend, so we left to check into the hotel. Saturday evening we went to the Mall of America to explore and eat dinner.

Sunday, April 14

Sunday morning everyone went to various sessions at the conference that were interesting to them. In the afternoon, we left the conference and drove to the Stone Arch Bridge. We stopped and walked on the bridge which has been converted to a biking and walking path connector. Then, we drove across to the other side of the river, looked around the Marcy-Holmes and St. Anthony neighborhoods, and ate lunch. We finished off the afternoon attending a few more sessions at the conference. After the conference, we walked through Loring Park to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. After a long day, we took a bit of time to rest at the hotel before heading to a Mexican restaurant nearby our hotel for dinner.

Monday, April 15

We checked out of the hotel around 9am and headed back to the conference for a few hours. Everyone attended various sessions, used career services and the headshot booth, and networked at the massage station. The firm that I interned for had a booth there, so I was able to catch up and continue existing connections with people that I worked with over the few days. Then we hit the road for the eleven hour drive. We had a nice but long drive, stopping for fast food for lunch and dinner and catching up about the conference, talking about our internships and career plans, and laughing while continuing to get to know each other.

Below are synopses from GPS members inpidual experiences of the trip:

Thank you Miami University for sponsoring the Geography Planning Society trip to the American Planning Association National Planning Conference in Minneapolis. At the conference I was able to build professional skills, connect with planners from around the country, and learn cutting edge planning technology. Besides the conference the club was able to travel to Madison, Wisconsin where we received a comprehensive tour of the city from a Miami Alum. While in Minneapolis we were able to tour the city and explore the famous pedestrian bridge, sculpture garden, and skywalks. Overall the experience was very memorable, teaching me skills I will use for the foreseeable future.

Overall my experience at the National Planning Conference was very positive. I specifically liked learning about how to make a better impact on the city with E-bikes and the ethics of Artificial Intelligence. Furthermore the conference people were very friendly and included many refreshments in one area. I would recommend others to go if they are very passionate about Urban Planning. 

At this year’s American Planning Association National Planning Conference I had the opportunity to hear from a number of talented planners and professionals. Over the course of three days, I heard lectures and talks from artists that were using street art to improve pedestrian safety and mobility in Memphis, planners working to improve transit-oriented development in the sprawling urban centers of Texas, and from professionals utilizing emerging technology in exciting ways throughout the planning field. There were also discussions centered around spreading messages related to urban planning through YouTube and through the super interesting medium of Mardi Gras. Outside of the conference, we had the chance to explore the amazing cities of Madison and Minneapolis.

I am very grateful to the Department of Geography at Miami University for facilitating our attendance at the American Planning Association 2024 Conference in Minneapolis! What an enriching experience! Our journey included a memorable detour in Madison, WI, where we explored the city's infrastructure, guided by Miami University Alumni and Urban/Regional Planner, Alexandria Coffman. At the conference, we delved into sessions on zoning codes, smart cities, climate action planning, LinkedIn career development, and emerging trends in planning. Networking with fellow planners and GIS specialists, especially the insightful St. Louis planners, was invaluable. This trip was a resounding success, offering significant networking opportunities. Already looking forward to next year!