KB's Georgia Planning Association (GPA) 2022 Fall Conference Recap: From Programs and Development Trends to Transportation and the AICP Exam, the GPA 2022 Fall Conference had it all and showcased Columbus, Georgia.

2022 GPA Fall Conference Takeaways

Photo of the venue for 2022 GPA Fall Conference

2022 GPA Fall Conference Takeaways

The Georgia Planning Association (GPA) Fall 2022 Conference Recap: Programs, development trends, AICP exam – the GPA Conference in Columbus had it all!


KB’s 2022 GPA Fall Conference Takeaways: From Programs and Development Trends to Transportation and the AICP Exam, the Georgia Planning Association (GPA) 2022 Fall Conference had it all and showcased Columbus, Georgia. The annual GPA Fall Conference took place this September in a small, historical, and unique city on Georgia’s Fall Line. KB Advisory Group was proud to be a Silver Sponsor of the 2022 conference.

The program featured sessions and outings showcasing innovative new planning strategies and emerging trends in municipalities across Georgia. KB Vice President Jonathan Gelber, Senior Consultant Stan Reecy, and Consultant Gabby Oliverio were in attendance. They are pleased to share some of their experiences with you, with some help from Gabby Oliverio.


What’s a ULI TAP?

Jonathan is a former Urban Land Institute (ULI) Atlanta Advisory Board Chair of the Atlanta TAPs Committee. He participated in a Thursday GPA session titled “Closing the Deal with a TAP: How ULI Atlanta’s Technical Assistance Program Can Help Communities.” The ULI Technical Assistance Panels (TAP) program provides advice from industry experts about land use and real estate. The session gave attendees an overview of the resource.

TAPs address issues related to local governments, public agencies, and nonprofit organizations. The session included case studies of the Doraville Downtown Redevelopment, Savannah Civic Center, and Downtown Powder Springs. For more information about the TAP program, click here.


Other 2022 GPA Offerings

Regarding presentations, this year’s GPA Conference had so many options it was hard to choose which to attend! The KB team enjoyed presentations that included:

    • A debate around zoning reform
    • Updates to the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority’s Developments of Regional Impact program
    • A deep dive into cryptocurrency mining and data centers, and
    • Updates to the Atlanta BeltLine’s Strategic Implementation Plan.


Stan considered rapid change and uncertainty an underlying theme of the presentation sessions. “Whether it’s the battle over who gets to set the agenda for zoning policy, new types of industrial real estate, or the state of the economy in general, everything is in flux right now. I think the next decade for planners and real estate professionals will require a lot of flexibility!”


Photo of the Chattahoochee River from a GPA Mobile Tour.

Gabby Oliverio took this photo of the Mill District on the Chattahoochee River during a 2022 GPA Conference Mobile Session Tour in Columbus, GA.


Let’s get out and see the sites!

The 2022 GPA Conference offered several mobile sessions that allowed attendees to explore Columbus. They were an opportunity to learn about different facets of its unique history and ongoing community initiatives. Gabby attended two, focusing on the North Highlands Neighborhood and Mill District areas. According to her, “these mobile sessions were innovative and inspiring examples of how different groups and entities come together to serve residents and expand access and opportunities.”

Innovative Partnerships in Local Food Planning

The Columbus community is experiencing high rates of food insecurity and poverty and low educational attainment. One of the sessions concerned the innovative partnership created by The Food Mill, MercyMed Farm, Open Door Community House, and Feeding the Valley Food Bank. The partnership aims to provide healthy food to the community and build a health-minded culinary culture.

Combating Poverty through Strategic Investments in Housing, Wellness, and Education

The second session was a walking tour of sites in the Mill District, an area of several older and historic Columbus neighborhoods. While it is affordable, it faces economic and social challenges. The Mill District, Inc. is a local partner in the Purpose Built Communities framework. The partnership is working to bring new life to the old mills on the Chattahoochee River no longer in use.


Photo of MercyMed Farm in Columbus, GA

Gabby Oliverio took this photo of the MercyMed Farm in Columbus during another GPA Mobile Tour.


What’s next?

After their experience in Columbus, the KB team is looking forward to next fall’s GPA Conference in Savannah, Georgia!


Additional Resources

If you would like to know more about Jonathan’s ULI work, check out this blog post.

Click here to learn about Georgia’s Fall Line.

For information on Purpose Built Communities, try this link https://purposebuiltcommunities.org/.