Dear Fellow Planners,

Like many of you, I decided to become a planner because I was inspired to join a diverse, challenging profession that shares an overriding goal of creating better communities. And when I moved back to Upstate NY from the Pacific Northwest a decade ago, it was because I was returning to a place in the world that I love. So, it is with a spirit of inspiration and love of place that I invite you - on behalf of the planning community in Ithaca, the Southern Tier, and across Upstate - to attend the 2018 New York Upstate American Planning Association Chapter Conference. The conference will be held from Wednesday, October 3rd through Friday, October 5th at Hotel Ithaca in the heart of Downtown Ithaca, NY. It’s a can’t-miss opportunity for planning professionals, planning students and faculty, and community advocates to inspire and connect with each other while learning new trends, innovative practices and creative tools in planning from across Upstate and beyond.
The conference program will include an exciting schedule of events including mobile and classroom workshops, the annual APA awards luncheon, two evening receptions, and joint programming with Cornell University’s Department of City and Regional Planning. “Upstate Inspired: Connecting Planners. Creating Places.” is a theme that celebrates planners’ special role in catalyzing positive change in our communities. In an environment of environmental and economic uncertainty, fiscal stress, and transformative technological change, communities are re-tooling, re-educating, and re-inventing themselves to be more resilient, adaptive, and sustainable. 
The local organizing committee has worked hard to create an exciting program while also keeping the conference registration fee affordable compared to past full conferences – just $215 for Chapter Members. Register by August 31st for the early bird rate.

In addition, we have held 35 rooms at the Hotel Ithaca on October 3rd and 4th at a rate of $199.00 per room per night. Rooms will be held until September 3rd, 2018. The direct link to make reservations is here and the Website Group Attendee Code is 2575.  There are also a number of other lodging options downtown. Book early - fall is a popular time to visit Ithaca (for good reason).
Thank you for your continued involvement in the NY Upstate APA Chapter. I look forward to seeing you in Ithaca in October!
Best Regards,
Tom Knipe  

Presenter List and Bios

Draft Schedule

Mobile Session Registration Details

 Due to limited capacity, all attendees interested in participating in mobile sessions will need to pre-register through the conference's EventBrite page on a first-come first-serve basis. Registration will begin Friday, September 21st at 10:00 AM and be available until the session reaches capacity.  Each mobile session listing will have a brief description, including the date and time, and a capacity limit.  Attendees should be careful not to register for sessions taking place simultaneously.


  • Attendees cannot register for more than one session at once, but must do so separately.  

  • There is no additional cost for the mobile sessions, however a TCAT fare to Cornell for the walking tour will cost $1.50. 

  • Mobile sessions will require walking and/or biking. 

  • Unless specifically stated otherwise by the session leader, all session attendees should meet in front of The Hotel Ithaca. 

  • The attendee email address provided with each mobile session registration will be the manner by which session leaders communicate with attendees.

  • If you register for a LimeBike session, you must pre-register for LimeBike before the session begins.

Lastly, everyone attending the Friday, October 5th Cornell Planning Education Event must pre-register for that, as well.


John Noltner to Keynote 2018 NY Upstate APA Conference:
The Power of Storytelling & Creative Arts in Community Building

Upon selecting this year’s NY Upstate APA Conference theme as Upstate Inspired: Connecting Planners, Creating Places, we realized that we need an inspiring keynote speaker. We selected John Noltner to take on this task. John weaves inspiration through the stories he constructs about the places we live in based on the images and words of their diverse inhabitants. A successful professional photographer whose client base included dozens of well-known national magazines, Fortune 500 companies, and non-profit organizations, John made a mid-career course correction during the Great Recession.

At that time, he turned his creative talents to a personal project he calls A Peace of My Mind. This work is built on the foundation of his fervent belief that art and storytelling have the power to transform our hearts as well as our communities. John says that, "In a world that asks us to focus on the things that can separate us, A Peace of My Mind invites us to explore the common humanity that connects us."

At our conference John will share stories of community builders he has met as he logged mile after mile along the highways that wind throughout our wide land, documenting his encounters in two award-winning books and four exhibits that travel the country. He will also offer a workshop on ways in which planners might consider bringing the power of storytelling and the creative arts into the community building work with which we all engage. And, far from least, John will work with us as partners and subjects in his work, creating in words and photography an exhibit in real time featuring us: our images and our words, telling our story about what makes our own work in the Planning Profession meaningful to us. More information on John and A Peace of My Mind can be found at

Scott Doyle and David Kay, 2018 NYU APA Conference Organizing Committee

Explore Ithaca

Check out all the cool stuff to enjoy in Ithaca around the 2018 NY Upstate APA Conference! Don’t miss out…register today.

Register Today for the 2018 NY Upstate APA Conference. Early bird discount ends 8/31.

Runner on the trail above Lucifer Falls in Robert Treman State Park (Photo Credit: Red Newt Racing)

Runner on the trail above Lucifer Falls in Robert Treman State Park (Photo Credit: Red Newt Racing)

Michael Franti at the State Theatre 2017 (Photo Credit: State Theatre of Ithaca)

Michael Franti at the State Theatre 2017 (Photo Credit: State Theatre of Ithaca)