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2021 APA-ISS Spring Conference - Registration is Open!

Updated: Jan 7, 2022

The APA-IL Illinois State Section (APA-ISS) is excited to announce our 2021 APA-ISS Spring Conference! Enjoy two days of exciting and engaging sessions in a fully virtual format as well as opportunities to connect with urban planning professionals across the State of Illinois. While we will miss seeing everyone in person this year, we are excited to be able to showcase planners and communities from across the entire state.

Updates will be posted on this webpage and we will make announcement through emails and social media.

  • 2021 APA-ISS Spring Conference

  • April 16 & 23, 2021

  • Held virtually via Zoom.

  • Session recordings and CM will be available to attendees until 12/31/21.

A Great Fit For Your Planning Department Budget

You can’t beat the cost of the APA-ISS Spring Conference! It offers all the excellent sessions and networking that you can expect at a typical virtual conference for a fraction of the price. Includes admission to all live and recorded sessions.

  • $60 member rate

  • $75 non-member rate

  • $10 student rate*

Discounts for Students*

  • University of Illinois at Chicago students, please contact Curt Winkle or Dom Belcaster for a coupon code.

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students, please contact Dustin Allred for a coupon code.


A Great Fit for Your Busy Schedule

The APA-ISS is busy planning a total of eight (8) sessions totaling 10+ CM including LAW CM! The APA-ISS will bring issues from across Illinois, from Rockford to Carbondale.

Just added! The APA-ISS is also excited to offer the free webinar Advancing equity through housing and planning: Strategies for “Downstate” Illinois, hosted by the University of Illinois Department of Urban & Regional Planning on April 22nd (CM | 1.5). This webinar will compliment the conference (see details below).

Start looking forward to...

Day 1 Tentative Schedule

8:30 am - 9:00 am - networking and announcements - LIVE

Join us at 8:30 am for some virtual networking! Shortly after 8:30, APA-ISS Director Ben LeRoy will kick things off with some announcements and acknowledgements.

9:00 am - 10:15 am - Zoomtowns: Creating 21st Century Boomtowns (CM | 1.25) - LIVE

Gone are the days of economic development professionals strictly courting site selectors and searching for the Next Big Thing to locate in their communities. Across the country, towns and cities are competing to attract the nation’s remote workers. What was already trending in the form of cash incentives or tax benefits came into sharper focus as the COVID-19 pandemic forced more Americans to work from home and forced companies to reckon with the operational impacts of a dispersed employment base. With many companies moving towards an increased interest in engaging a remote workforce, where does that leave communities that have typically struggled to attract large employers? What is needed to be a 21st century boomtown?

Join us for this session as we hear from Chris Collins and Molly Hammond of USDA discuss resources and programs designed to help rural communities holistically address their infrastructure needs to promote remote workforce population attraction. Also joining the conversation will be Jonathan Weyer from the City Hillsboro, who will also discuss his community’s efforts pre-COVID – and what is planned post-COVID – to attract remote workers to their city of 6,400.

10:15 am - 10:30 am - break

10:30 am - 11:45 am - Planning Tools for Affordable Housing (CM | 1.25) - LIVE Q&A

Learn how to create a basic affordable housing inventory with publicly available data and incorporate the results into local planning activities. Then, dive deeper and learn about the various planning tools that IHDA uses to conduct housing stock surveys, engage residents, and create documentation that connects communities to affordable housing resources and investments, and hear from municipalities who have successfully utilized Community Revitalization as a component of funding applications.

Speaker bios: Lauren Gibson, AICP, Community Planner, McLean County Regional Planning Commission | Destini Lednicky, Housing Director, Southwestern Illinois Development Authority (SWIDA) | Emily Mueller, Assistant Director, Community Revitalization Strategic Planning and Reporting (SPAR) Department, Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA)

11:45 - 12:00 - break

12:00 - 1:15 - Planners' Help Desk (CM | 1.25) - LIVE

Does your community have a problem you can't quite figure out? Would you like to pick the collective brain of your colleagues to help solve it? Submit a brief summary of the issue and we may select it for discussion at our ever-popular Planners' Help Desk session! If you did not submit an issue when you registered, issues may be submitted by emailing with the subject: "Planners' Help Desk".

Speaker: Stephanie Brown, AICP, Chastain & Associates

asynchronous session: Bristol Place Virtual Mobile Workshop (CM | 1.25)

Bristol Place Residences is a new affordable housing neighborhood in Champaign built with the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. The City engaged residents in an neighborhood planning effort along with creating a vision and master plan for the new neighborhood. Following acquisition, demolition and an extensive relocation program, construction began by AHDVS, LLC in 2018. The neighborhood consists of 90 affordable housing units built within a traditional neighborhood design with walkable, connected streets, alleys and a large park amenity that also serves as flood control for the Boneyard Creek. In this Virtual Mobile Workshop, you will learn about the planning that went into the project, see the new neighborhood close-up and hear from the key players from the City, and the developer, in executing the plan. If your community is looking to connect affordable housing efforts with strong neighborhood planning, this session will provide many great examples on how to do that.

Speakers: Jean Algee, City of Champaign | Rob Kowalski, FAICP, City of Champaign | Jim Roberts, AHDVS, LLC | Kerri Wiman, City of Champaign

Day 2 Tentative Schedule

8:30 am - 9:00 am - networking and announcements - LIVE

9:00 am - 10:30 am - Problem Plaza: Looking at Town Squares from all the Right Angles (CM | 1.5 LAW) - LIVE

Historically the main town square is where everything happens. And that is no different for the town of Problem, Illinois. The new town square “Problem Plaza” lives up to its name. From several construction law issues during the redevelopment, to several civil rights and constitutional issues now that the plaza is in use. Ancel Glink attorneys ShawnTe Raines and Joyce Jezeer will tell you all about it.

10:30 am - 10:45 am - break

10:45 am - 12:00 pm - Champaign’s new skyline: Causes and effects of the luxury student housing boom (CM | 1.25) - recorded session with LIVE Q&A

“Where did those come from?!”: Longtime residents and newcomers alike ask that question when they see Champaign’s high-rise skyline. Since 2007, two new privately owned student housing buildings of more than 20 stories, two others higher than 10 stories, and dozens of other apartment projects have popped up in Campustown, just north of the UIUC campus. In this session, researchers from Planning at Illinois will show how infrastructure investments, planning and zoning, rising tuition, enrollment growth, and a global financial crisis converged to remake the C-U landscape, as well as the impacts so far of those changes on the area’s student-dominated rental housing market. The longtime Champaign Planning Director, Bruce Knight, FAICP, will reflect on what’s gone well and not so well thus far.

Speakers: Dustin Allred, UIUC | Caitlin Hillyard, UIUC | Bruce Knight, City of Champaign | Rolf Pendall, UIUC

12:00 pm - 12:30 pm - break

12:30 pm - 1:45 pm - Yes You Cannabis! Come roll with the APA-ISS (CM | 1.25)

Bring any and all legalized cannabis questions to this panel discussion! Learn about the experience of deciding to pursue an ordinance (or not), what businesses to include or exclude, tips for managing community concerns and how things have been going since adoption. Don’t let your concerns go up in smoke, representatives from the Village of Lombard, City of Urbana, City of Springfield, Village of Downers Grove and Verano/Zen Leaf dispensaries will share their knowledge. As Tom Petty once said, after this session, you will be ready to get the point and roll another… building plan for cannabis-related businesses!

Speakers: Jennifer Ganser, AICP Village of Lombard | Kevin Garcia, AICP City of Urbana | Stan Popovich, AICP, Village of Downers Grove | and represntatives from the City of Springfield and Verano/Zen Leaf dispensaries

asynchronous session: The Carp Connection: Transforming a slippery problem into a savory solution. (CM | 1.25)

Speakers will take a look at an (formerly known as Asian carp) project from the standpoint of regional connections and collaboration. The presentation will cover: 1) History of carp in the US, 2) Foundations of carp connections, 3) Our region's involvement, and 4) Future of carp collaboration. Grab a sneak peek of to story in Peoria Magazine.

Speakers: Ray Lees, Tri-County Regional Planning Commission | Reema Abi-Akar, Tri-County Regional Planning Commission


Advancing equity through housing and planning: Strategies for “Downstate” Illinois (CM | 1.5)

On this panel, presented by the University of Illinois at Urban Champaign Department of Urban and Regional Planning to compliment the 2021 llinois State Section Spring Conference, hear from experts on housing and planning on housing and planning from a range of perspectives.

  • DATE: April 22, 2021

  • TIME: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm CST

  • PLACE: Online via Zoom


  • COST: Free!

Please note: registration for this webinar is seperate from the 2021 Illinois State Section Spring Conference registration.


Not a Member? Grab a Membership Before You Register and Save!

If you are not an APA or APA-IL member, it isn’t too late to become one and save $$! The APA-IL Chapter Only membership is just $50/year. Not only can you save on the APA-ISS Conference now, but save on all APA-IL events in 2021 including the 2021 State Conference. Sign up today!


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