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Technology Division of the American Planning Association (APA) Newsletter: Spring 2013 (Conference Edition)

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Planning & Technology Today: Spring 2013 (Conference Edition) (alternate link)

Letter From Your Chair

The National Planning Conference starts this week in Chicago at the Hyatt Regency. The theme of APA 2013 is “Plan Big”, and focuses on creating a big shift in planning via big opportunities and big projects to better plan for our future (See related questions about Big Poverty on page 7). While that theme may seem at odds with the current sequestration and other economic cuts, it is a call to get bold with the planning challenges of our times. You can follow the conference on Twitter via the hashtag #apa2013. You can also follow our division’s activities at that conference via the hashtag #apa2013tech.

The division’s Business Meeting and Facilitated Discussion will be held on Sunday at 10.30 am – 11.45 am in the Riverside Exhibition Center. The agenda for our Business Meeting includes sharing of our last Performance Report, adoption of our Bylaws, and transition to the new leadership. Our Facilitated Discussion will focus on broadband infrastructure, policy and sustainability. We have also tentatively planned a social event on Monday at 5 pm. Don’t forget to check the roster on page 4 for the other technology-related events being held at the conference – I will be discussing mapping mashups on Monday at 2:30 pm – 3:45 pm.

If you want to further coordinate activities with other members, I encourage you to enter the days you are planning to attend at http://doodle.com/9fa62e5zfywcy727.

Finally, I want to congratulate those who got elected and thank others for participating in our elections held last month. Please join me in welcoming the new leadership: Katherine McMahon, incoming Chair; Nader Afzalan (@NaderAfzalan), incoming Vice-Chair; and Karen Quinn Fung (@counti8), incoming Secretary/Treasurer. Kate has some interesting ideas on planning strategies for broadband, and I wish her success in defining the division’s focus on broadband planning activities (See the notice on p.age 3 for a related survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/72GN8KZ).

I also want to thank Corey Proctor and Joni Graves for their contributions of time and talent as the interim Vice-Chair and Secretary/Treasurer respectively, and especially Steve Chiaramonte for a splendid job as the Newsletter Editor.

I hope to meet you in Chicago. As always, you can contact me directly at harshATgisblog.org (@GISblog).

Written by Harsh

April 8th, 2013 at 11:38 pm

Posted in Planning,Technology

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Technology Division of the American Planning Association (APA) Newsletter: Winter 2013

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February 19th, 2013 at 7:51 pm

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Technology Division of the American Planning Association (APA) Newsletter: Summer/Fall 2012

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October 5th, 2012 at 7:01 pm

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Technology Division of the American Planning Association (APA) Newsletter: Spring 2012

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April 12th, 2012 at 8:30 pm

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Technology Division of the American Planning Association (APA) Newsletter: Winter 2011

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April 11th, 2012 at 8:27 pm

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Technology Division of the American Planning Association (APA) Newsletter: Summer 2011

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Written by Harsh

August 22nd, 2011 at 6:18 pm

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Interview: Ric Stephens, Immediate Past Editor, Technology Division of the American Planning Association [APA]

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As the Secretary/Treasurer of the Technology Division of APA, I recently had the opportunity to interview Ric Stephens, our Immediate Past Editor:

Harsh: So what got you into planning and publishing/editing?
Ric: I worked as a cartographer/German language translator for USAID during college and was hired by a civil engineering firm to prepare maps during summer break.

After school, the firm offered me a job in their planning department and …voila! There are still some plat maps on file from the late 70s with elaborate compass roses for north arrows. I began helping with a local APA section newsletter out of curiosity. A quarter of a century and thousands of newsletters later, I am still interested in desktop publishing.

InfoTEXT began as a paste-up effort ten years ago and is now ‘completely digital’. I’m still helping with two APA newsletters, ‘Private Practice Perspectives’ and ‘Mountains and Shores’. I’ve also published two books: ‘Plannerese Dictionary’ and ‘International Planning Organizations’ and am working on a third, ‘Dark and Stormy Planning Prose’.

Harsh: Any favorite planning story that you edited?
Ric: There are three unique stories-

Pi: Quiet Musing
Ric Stephens at the Street of Dreams

For several years, I organized the ‘Dark and Stormy Planning Prose Contest’ to collect and share humorous planning stories. One of my favorites is the 2002 Winner, ‘Zone Noir’ by Michael Young who merged the feel of a 50s detective novel with current planning issues. It’s hard to imagine, but Dr. Seuss wrote a humorous poem on regulating signage for the city of La Jolla, California!

Lastly, while living in California, I received ‘The Story of Sexton Mountain Meadows‘. It revolves around the continuous removal of the ‘t’ from ‘Sexton’. I now live a few miles from this very street in Beaverton, Oregon and am a Planning Commissioner for the City. I found the listed author, but he denies writing the story and referred me to a blog author who remembers the incident, but also denies writing the story. The mystery continues to this day.

I am still collecting stories and if you have a ‘hearing from hell’, ‘purple planning prose’ or other contributions, please email a copy to ric@alphacommunity.com.

Harsh: Any thoughts on the New Media?
Ric: We are far from reaching a paperless office environment, but we are clearly moving towards digital information and communication technologies.

For planning in particular, it is an exciting time to expand GIS with numerous databases including satellite imagery. The REAL CORP 007 event will showcase some of these outstanding IT innovations. Our firm, Alpha Community Development, is developing software to link our projects with these databases. We are also developing project-specific websites and looking for new ways to provide online project management.

Harsh: Any thoughts on increasing readership for the Technology Division?
Ric: InfoTEXT contributors have provided outstanding content that is very relevant to practicing planners, agency officials, educators and students. I believe the missing element is visibility.

It would also be helpful for APA to actively promote the Divisions, and for the Divisions to have programs to promote the newsletters to planning departments, governmental agencies, universities and other institutions.

Harsh: And finally, any advice to the new editor[s] of the Technology Division?
Ric: It’s very difficult to find contributors for articles- I’m several weeks late in responding to this interview.

Having a large group of people to help gather material would be ideal. As the newsletter migrates to the web, the publication should probably adapt a monitor-friendly format and be rich in hyperlinks. I enjoyed editing InfoTEXT and am indebted to all who helped make this a memorable experience.

Harsh: Thank you and good luck!
Ric: Thanks!

Related:
• Planning Publications Directory
• What’s New: Books and Documents

Written by Harsh

October 29th, 2006 at 10:03 pm