New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

February 7-9, 2013
Kansas City, MO

The 12th annual New Partners conference will explore practical strategies for identifying and overcoming barriers to more sustainable development in the Midwest and the rest of the nation. This year, the New Partners Conference makes its way to America’s heartland—Kansas City, Missouri. The Midwest is searching for a path to sustainability—what it means in the context of the region, and what it will take to achieve that vision. Like other parts of the country, Midwestern states are wrestling with the challenges of defining and achieving a future that transforms low-density, car-oriented communities into healthier, more walkable and economically vibrant places to live, work and raise a family.

The conference’s trip to the Midwest underscores an expansive diversity ripe for innovative smart-growth strategies and opportunities for industrial big cities, suburban neighborhoods, small towns and rural agriculture stretching across the Great Plains to the Great Lakes to the Rust Belt to Appalachia. Both the heart of Rural America and the home of dynamic urban cores, the Midwest shows flashes of urban rebirth and the sparks of communities striving to revitalize. Throughout the region, communities are working to write the next chapters for big-city transit, suburban transportation networks, and the great freight systems that connect our country. Home to industrial giants, thriving small businesses and a rich history of agricultural life, the core of the American vision is still here in these Midwest communities, challenging us to take smart growth to new places.

Long acclaimed for its legendary jazz, blues and barbecue, Kansas City is now striving to implement a vision of smart growth and sustainability that promotes environmental quality, social equity and economic vitality. The city’s commitment to sustainability is reflected in its climate protection plan, housing policies that encourage energy efficiency and green-building practices, streetscape improvements for a more bike and pedestrian-friendly community, and the return of density to a vibrant urban core.

Kansas City lies near the population and geographic centers of the U.S. A gateway city for trailblazers and commerce from every direction, Kansas City has always embodied an eclectic convergence of cultures. While visiting Kansas City, check out what Forbes magazine calls one of America’s best downtowns, great food and nightlife in the Power and Light District, the original River Market neighborhood along the Missouri River, or the illuminating Nelson-Atkins Museum, stylish Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and amazing Sea Life Aquarium.

Home to more than 2 million residents, the Kansas City region provides interesting case studies for revitalizing the historic character and economic vitality of the downtown; creating transit-oriented, compact development; renovating old spaces for new uses; and designing walkable, mixed-use urban villages.

Today, we are faced with economic, environmental and social challenges that will define our generation, shape our future, and test our resilience. Join leaders from across the U.S. as we tackle these challenges head-on and demonstrate smart-growth solutions that will create a more vibrant economy, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, assure a healthy population, foster more equitable development, and expand transportation and housing options for all Americans.

Working Together

A significant factor in this event’s tremendous success is its appeal to so many different disciplines. The conference will draw a national audience of local elected officials and city and county staff; state and federal agency leaders; professionals in planning, transportation, public health, landscape architecture, architecture, public works, parks and recreation, and crime prevention; realtors, developers, builders and bankers; advocates for equity and environmental justice, youth, older adults, and walking and biking; labor representatives; school leaders and staff; environmentalists; and all others committed to building safer, healthier and more livable communities everywhere.

The Program

The program will span three full days with optional pre-conference events scheduled for Wednesday, February 6th and post-conference events scheduled for Sunday February 10th. The main program will kick off on Thursday morning, February 7th, and continue through Saturday afternoon. The schedule includes a dynamic mix of plenaries, breakouts, implementation workshops, specialized trainings, peer-to-peer learning opportunities, and coordinated networking activities. It will also feature exciting tours of local model projects in and around the greater Kansas City region.

There will be something for everybody, from veteran experts to smart-growth novices, with close to 100 sessions and workshops to choose from. Learn from hundreds of speakers who cross disciplines to share insights, valuable tools and strategies for making smart growth a success in your community. The program will be infused with sessions and case studies focusing on important social equity and environmental justice issues.

Register today at