COVID-19: The Recovery will Happen in Public Space

Getting Stuff Done at Walk/Bike/Places 2020 in Indianapolis

Annah MacKenzie
Nov 29, 2019
Dec 1, 2019

Mark your calendars! Project for Public Spaces is excited to announce that our biennial Walk/Bike/Places conference—the most progressive and comprehensive active transportation event in the world—will take place August 4-7, 2020, at the Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN, and we just opened our Call for Proposals!

Visitors enjoy an arts and public space pop-up by Big Car Collaborative at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis, IN. | Image courtesy of Big Car Collaborative.

As many of you remember, Walk/Bike/Places 2018 in New Orleans was an event for the books. Its engaged focus on equity and NOLA’s local culture of collaboration left us all deeply inspired. At the same time, and amidst all the revelry, participants were also pushed to consider the ways in which our placemaking and transportation initiatives can better represent the communities they serve and directly affect. 

In 2020, Indianapolis is sure to impress, too. This time around, the conference theme will be implementation—turning ideas into action. Now that you have an idea about what kind of work needs to be done and where, whose voices need to be elevated, and which partners and stakeholders to reach out to in order to share and advocate for your vision… what’s next? 

This is where you come in. The Call for Proposals for Walk/Bike/Places 2020 is now open!

For this event, we aim to build a comprehensive program that will push government—at the local, state, and federal levels—to support a transportation system that preserves the health and safety of all users, promotes social connections, and reduces the environmental impact of our travel. As we continue designing the structure for this summer’s convening, we invite proposals from the public, private, non-profit/NGO, and academic sectors. We’re always looking for new voices, bold ideas, and challenging critiques!

Bikeshare riders congregate in front of the Indianapolis's iconic Soliders' and Sailors' monument. | Image courtesy of Big Car Collaborative.

Detailed information on session format and review process can be found here, but here is some further food for thought to get your creative juices flowing as you prepare your proposal. Within the theme of implementation, the conference will consist of the following seven tracks: 

  1. Infrastructure. We want to talk about the streets, sidewalks, trails, transit, and information systems that support us every day. Topics to explore might include: woonerfs, shared spaces, traffic calming, bike parking, multi-use trails, sidewalks, streets, cycle tracks, bike lanes, advisory bike lanes, or rapid implementation.
  2. Planning. How do we determine the vision, goals, objectives, and processes that will move us towards a more just and sustainable society? This track considers issues like zoning, land use, form-based code, data, modeling, outreach, public engagement, project evaluation, or economic development.
  3. Advocacy. Simply put: How do we get what we want to initiate the change that we need? Areas of discussion may focus on funding, referendums, legislation, or public policy, to name just a few potential avenues.
  4. Excellence. What is needed to build the skills of those individuals and organizations who will fiercely defend the public interest? These efforts may involve: running for office, registering a nonprofit, professional ethics and responsibility, strategic planning, campaigns, budgeting, or fundraising.
  5. Health. How do we create environments in which people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities can lead healthy, happy, and productive lives? Topics under the banner of health may include: active living, injury prevention, environmental justice, education, emotional well-being, social capital, physical health, violence prevention, or nutrition.
  6. Transit. What kinds of vehicle operation, management, and infrastructure will facilitate the most efficient movement of people? Current  issues within this field include: placemaking for stops and stations, micro-mobility, ride hailing apps, bike share, transit-oriented development, multimodal hubs, congestion pricing, demand management, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), or first- and last-mile efforts.
  7. Place. What makes particular streets, corners, buildings, neighborhoods, or other locations meaningful to us, and how do these places serve to anchor a community? These discussions may explore placemaking strategies, tactical urbanism, parklets, public markets, or downtowns.

For Walk/Bike/Places 2020, we will convene 1,200+ planners, designers, advocates, and public health professionals from the U.S. and abroad for the largest active transportation conference in North America. Our host city of Indianapolis—a celebrated U.S. Midwestern city known for its world-class public spaces and recent transportation innovations—is surely up for the challenge! We can’t wait to explore with you all the ways this mid-size city has transformed over the last decade, all while remaining both “short on pretension” and “true to its roots,” as the New York Times recently reported.

But first, we look forward to receiving your proposals for breakout sessions, poster presentations, or peer coaching. For more information on the Call for Proposals and to submit your ideas, visit the guidelines on the Walk/Bike/Places website. The deadline to submit proposals is January 3, 2020 @5pm EST.

Let’s get moving!

Annah MacKenzie
Annah MacKenzie
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COVID-19: The Recovery will Happen in Public Space