Upstate New York APA board visits Sibley Hall

November 30, 2011

On November 9, the executive board of the New York Upstate American Planning Association (APA) held a board meeting in Sibley Hall. The meeting included a regular board session, lunch with CRP students and faculty, and student presentations.

After working through their monthly agenda, which included both statutory board business and an exploration of options for future programming that might engage students, the group shared lunch with CRP students and faculty. In the afternoon, a selection of students presented their individual and workshop course research to help familiarize the APA board with the planning knowledge production that takes place at Cornell.

Ellen Parker, president of the upstate APA board and planner for Wendel, remarked, The chapter board was very happy to meet at Cornell. We were impressed with the presentations, and the students did a great job of giving us a good overview of their current work.

The positive feedback we received on both on our presentation style and content acts as a real confidence boost as our workshop class goes forward, said Linsday Carter (M.R.P. 12). The APA meeting also paved the way for important critical interactions and future conversations.

Recent alumna C. J. Randall (M.R.P. 11) presented the research she has done on the proposed natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale for both CRPs Susan Christopherson and for Cornells Community and Regional Development Institute (CaRDI). Randall commented, I'm glad I got to showcase even a sliver of what was in the CaRDI team report led by Susan Christopherson. Natural gas drilling is the biggest planning issue Appalachia has seen in a generation. The more we talk about planning issues related to comprehensive plans and zoning, I think the better it will be for both the profession and the region.

The program wrapped up with a short participatory discussion led by CRPs Mildred Warner on the grant work she and several students will be doing on shared services for New York State. Having the chance to interact with practicing planners was the highlight of the Upstate APA meeting for both faculty and students, said Warner. APA board members provided critical insights on the policy context, alternative ways to look at the issue, additional resources to explore, and tips on improving professional presentations. I was able to conduct a mini-focus group with them on the new, shared services project we will be launching in New York State this spring. The session reminded me of how lucky CRP is to have such close interaction with practicing professionals; they keep us honest and focused on work that really matters.

By Alyson Fletcher (M.R.P./M.L.A. 13)

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