Category: Conference

Urbanism Next annual conference

2020 Conference Postponed – Moving to Online Platform for May 14 Virtual Event

In an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending the cancelation of events that consist of 50 people or more for the next 8 weeks, Oregon Governor Kate Brown has issued an executive order prohibiting events and gatherings of 250 or more, and the University of Oregon has adopted a variety of mitigation measures including canceling nonessential events of more than 50 people. At Urbanism Next we respect these decisions and understand that we all have a role to play in limiting the spread of this virus. In an abundance of caution and with a desire to keep our community safe, we have decided to cancel the in-person Urbanism Next Conference originally scheduled to take place in Portland, OR May 13-15, 2020 and shift to an online platform. Ticketed attendees, speakers and session organizers, and conference sponsors will all be contacted directly.

We plan to have our next in-person conference take place in Portland in 2021 and will announce those dates as soon as they are confirmed. In the meantime, we are excited to host a virtual summit on May 14th in place of the conference. This summit will feature inspiring presentations from interdisciplinary leaders who are playing a leading role in navigating the future of our cities. We plan to follow up this virtual summit with a series of webinars throughout the year to feature some of the important presentations that would have taken place at our conference. Please visit the Urbanism Next Conference website in the coming weeks for updates regarding the virtual summit and webinars – including the schedule and registration information when they become available.

Thank you for your patience as we navigate this unprecedented situation. We appreciate our sponsors and the community of people who come together to support our work and participate in discussions around the impacts emerging technologies have on our cities. Stay healthy and we look forward to connecting with you throughout the year!


COVID-19 Conference Update

Urbanism Next Conference still scheduled for May 2020!

The Urbanism Next Center is monitoring updates on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and will follow all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Oregon Health Authority, and the Multnomah County Health Department. At this time, local authorities are not recommending cancelling events – so we are planning to have the Urbanism Next Conference take place as scheduled. We are actively working with the Oregon Convention Center to take careful precautions for your health and safety. We are monitoring the situation closely and if it becomes necessary to cancel, adjust, or postpone the conference we will communicate with attendees and speakers immediately. The best place to look for the most up to date information would be the conference website.

Please take note of our ticket cancellation refund policy:

  • Tickets will be eligible for a refund minus a $75 processing fee through April 15, 2020
  • Cancellations after April 15th will not be eligible for a refund.

We encourage everyone to follow the prevention and treatment practices outlined by the CDC before, during and after the conference. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, please stay home. Substitutions are encouraged if participants cannot attend the conference. Please email us at if you have any questions.

Register Now for the 2020 Urbanism Next Conference!

The 2020 Urbanism Next Conference schedule is now available on our website. Check it out and register now!

This year’s conference will focus on the ways that new mobility, mobility as a service, e-commerce and urban delivery, and autonomous vehicles impact land use, urban design, building design, transportation, and real estate. What are the implications of these changes on equity, health and safety, the economy, and the environment? How should governments respond? What additional education, outreach, and research is needed to understand these changes and respond to them?

Over 500 planners, architects, landscape architects, developers, technology experts, elected officials, academics, and many others are expected to attend the conference. We hope you will join them!

Visit the Urbanism Next website to register for the conference, and to find detailed information about conference sessions, accommodations, and sponsorships.

Early registration ends April 15! Register now to save!

Submit a Proposal for the 2019 Urbanism Next Conference!

Mark your calendars! We are pleased to announce that the 2nd Annual Urbanism Next Conference will be held May 7-9, 2019 in Portland, OR. The first annual conference held in March 2018 brought together over 500 planners, architects, landscape architects, developers, technology experts, elected officials, academics, and many others.We’re excited to partner with the National and Oregon Chapters of the American Planning Association, the American Institute of Architects, and the American Society of Landscape Architects, and the Urban Land Institute Northwest.

Last year, we discussed how technology is changing cities. This year, we will focus on the ways that technological innovations can be harnessed to achieve desired outcomes. What has been tried? What has worked? What has not worked? What should we try next? How can the private and public sectors collaborate to ensure that desired outcomes drive technological innovation rather than the other way around?

We want YOU to help shape the agenda. We invite you to submit a proposal for a session or workshop. Click here for full proposal details. Proposals are due November 15, 2018 (11:59 pm PST).

We look forward to reviewing your proposals and hope to see you in Portland May 7-9, 2019!

Urbanism Next Conference Session Highlighted in Citylab

Quick post-conference update! We are working on a full conference report and will soon have videos of the plenary speakers to share, but in the meantime we wanted to highlight an article that Citylab’s Laura Bliss wrote about “The Ama-zoning of America” session. (We are delighted that she was not only in attendance but that she also moderated one of the plenary discussions! Link coming soon…)

In “The Ama-zoning of America,” panelists Rick Stein (Urban Decision Group), Kelly Rula (Seattle Dept. of Transportation), Justin Robbins (HDR), and Jason Sudy (OHM Advisors) discussed the future of car-oriented suburban retail…or perhaps the lack thereof? Check out the article for a full write-up!

Urbanism Next 2018 Conference!

Attendees line up to ask questions during Monday’s opening plenaries (Photo by Sabrina Ortiz Luna)
Nico Larco introduces Monday’s transit panel (Photo by Sabrina Ortiz Luna)

What a week we’ve had! Last week, the inaugural Urbanism Next Conference brought together the private, public, and academic sectors for a thought-provoking and inspiring three days. For our part, we were positively delighted by the turnout, the presentations, and the discussions that were had. If the conference could be summarized in one sentence, it would be that emerging technologies have brought us to the precipice of major change and there is LOTS of work to be done to ensure that those changes are positive. As Robin Chase, co-founder of Zipcar, Veniam, and Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities, said during her talk, “We’re getting a chance to redo our cities.” What if we could go back in time to the 1930s and convene a conference called “Suburbanism Next,” as Tim Smith, Principal for SERA Architects, invited us all to imagine? What we have done differently on the brink of that period of change?

Getting a chance to redo our cities is both a monumental opportunity, and a monumental challenge. How do we get it right this time?

Workshop participants weigh in on the future of street design (Photo by Cindy Chou)

Well, for starters, “we have to bring equity to the forefront of our thinking,” as Susan Shaheen, Director of UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center, said. She also posed the question, do we really need to rethink everything? YES, she said. We do. And we’ll have to be brave, be bold, and we’ll have to work together. Jeff Tumlin, Principal at Nelson\Nygaard, encouraged us to tell better stories and told us that our job is manage the street for the public good. We have to imagine a future in which technology is in the service of people instead of people in service of technology. This gets to a point made by Mayor Wheeler of Portland who said that technology is value neutral. People, on the other hand, are not. We have to be led by our core values.

There were so many interesting discussions, sessions, workshops, and ideas and this is just a snippet of what we heard at the conference. Over the next week we’ll be sharing more information so please stay tuned! We’ll also be posting video footage and links to presentations on our website in the near future, so be on the lookout for that as well. In the meantime, you can learn more about the conference by checking out the conference program if you haven’t already, and by searching for #UrbNext2018 on Twitter.

Many, many thanks to everyone who presented, attended, and shared insights, and a HUGE thank you as well to our partners and sponsors!






Early bird deadline for the Urbanism Next 2018 Conference extended!

Have you heard? The early bird deadline for the Urbanism Next 2018 Conference has been extended to Friday, February 9! How we can leverage technology to create the best future for all? Be part of the conversation March 5-7 at the Urbanism Next 2018 Conference in Portland.

Engage with architects, planners, landscape architects, developers, academics, and others. We will explore the secondary impacts of emerging technologies—autonomous vehicles, the sharing economy, and e-commerce—on real estate, land use, urban design and transportation.

Hear from national experts and participate in interactive sessions focused on what these technologies mean for equity, the environment, the economy, and governance:

Please visit the conference site to complete your registration and find additional details about speakers, schedule, and accommodations. Special rates are available for members of the AIA, APA, ASLA, ULI and academics. Conference organizers are applying for continuing education credits for the American Institute of Architects (LU/HSWs) and the American Institute of Certified Planners (CMs). ASLA members are eligible to self-report hours per the requirements of their state licensure boards.

Register today for early bird pricing!

Pick your workshop at the Urbanism Next Conference

Day 2 of the Urbanism Next Conference will be an active day of in-depth workshops. Each attendee will have the opportunity to select from 17, 3-hour workshops – there’s something for everyone.

  • Equity issues take center stage in An AV for Everyone: Shared Mobility and Equity.
  • Curious about implications for local government budgets and finance? Where did All the Money Go? Opportunities and Challenges for Local Government Finances is your session.
  • Scenario Planning for an Uncertain Future is a great choice for planners to help foster public engagement.

Attendance is limited to approximately 35 people per workshop. Register today to make sure you get your first choice!

Visit the Urbanism Next website for full workshop descriptions, information about the nationally renowned professionals speaking at the conference, accommodations, and more.

The National Urbanism Next Conference is a collaboration between the University of Oregon and the Urban Land Institute, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the American Planning Association, and the American Institute of Architects.

Thank you to our partners and sponsors.



The Far, Way Off, Hard to Imagine Future of 2019

General Motors just announced that in the far off distance future of 2019 – next year – they are prepared to introduce commercial scale fleets of electric, autonomous vehicles to be used for ride buying, not individual car purchasing.  This may be the most major announcement of its kind to date and significantly accelerates the need for communities to figure out everything, including managing curb drop off and loading, surplus street and surface parking, the re-use opportunities of the public right of way, the impacts on land value and municipal budgets, plus issues of safety, security, etc.

Because the future seemed so, well, far into the future, most communities, from elected leaders to developers to livability advocates, don’t even know where to start in thinking about all of these things.  The GM announcement is not an announcement about just transportation, it is an announcement about everything that has to do with how and where we live, making the upcoming Urbanism Next conference much more critical for all communities, whether in attendance or not.

Register Now for the 2018 National Urbanism Next Conference

Early bird registration for the National Urbanism Next conference is now open!

Join us in Portland March 5-7, 2018 to engage in the dialogue about how technology is transforming our cities.


  • Learn about the secondary impacts of emerging technologies on land uses, urban design, transportation, and real estate markets and the implications of these changes for equity, the environment, the economy, and governance.
  • Hear from Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer, ZipCar Founder Robin Chase, Nelson\Nygaard’s Jeff Tumlin and many more
  • Engage with planners, architects, landscape architects, developers, academics and others in interactive workshops and charrettes

Please visit the conference site for additional details about speakers, schedule, and accommodations and to complete your registration.

Special rates are available for AIA, APA, ASLA, and ULI members.

Stay connected on the latest news by following us on our Twitter and Facebook pages

Twitter: @urbanismnext

Facebook: Urbanism Next

We are grateful for the support of our partners and sponsors:

For questions, please contact Program Manager Becky Steckler,