Hello and welcome to the Upside of Paradise! The Emerald Coast Section is pleased to host the APA Florida Annual Conference in Sandestin! We will be meeting Sept. 10-13, 2019 at the Baytown Conference Center in Sandestin. Located less than 4 miles from the acclaimed CR 30-A corridor, the resort totals more than 2,400 acres with a collection of 1,250 vacation rentals. Resort amenities include bicycles, boogie boards, kayaks, tennis, fitness center and resort-wide tram service. Spectacular activities that have made the area so popular include championship golf courses, the Village of Baytowne Wharf (containing boutiques, eateries, and nightlife), and 7-miles of powdery white sand beaches.

The Emerald Coast is comprised of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Washington, and Holmes counties. We are home to a wide array of unique environmental features including world renowned beaches, 15 rare coastal dune lakes, and over a dozen state parks. Our municipalities ranges from rural communities to urban cities including a multitude of acclaimed new urbanist communities. The region is a strong economic engine focused on aerospace, technology, manufacturing, distribution / logistics, retail, and tourism development. And, we are incredibly proud of the six military installations located throughout the section.

This regional planning area confronts and defies many of the same topics reflected throughout the state including post hurricane and hurricane readiness, economic development obstacles, affordable housing, mobility and mass transit challenges, environmental concerns, military planning challenges, and the search for innovative design. This year we call on you to reflect on the upside of planning. We are looking for dynamic and interesting session proposals that will facilitate our future paradise. We are especially interested in the topic areas listed on the following page and welcome research projects at the university level from both professors and students that would be of interest to our membership.

How to Submit Your Proposal

1) First fill out a practice form (download as a PDF here) to ensure you have all the required information.

2)  Then go here to complete the submission form. 

All proposals must be submitted before 5 pm ET on March 29, 2019

Panel Tracks

Toes in the Sand

This panel track concentrates on health and the environment. Topics can include health and recreation, ecotourism, trail towns, environmental planning, parks/recreation planning, rural lands, agricultural planning, low impact development, stormwater planning, water quality, planning for natural resources, renewable energy, disaster recovery and mitigation including post hurricane recovery (workforce/temporary housing and relocation), coastal resiliency and sustainability, and other health and environmental related topics.

Bay Watch

This panel track emphasizes regulatory topics such as federal, state and local laws, legislative previews/updates, code enforcement, the military, short-term housing, customary use, grant and funding strategies, planning law updates, ethics overviews and scenarios, and other specific legal or policy topics.

Looking Beyond the Horizon

The focus of this panel track is looking into the future and may include tracks such as ageing population, senior/active living, medical planning, strategic and long-term planning, autonomous vehicles, and current and future trends (medical marijuana, sober homes/rehab/opioids, historical monuments and community symbols, 1st Amendment issues and sign regulations, charter schools and education planning, affordable and Missing Middle housing policy, home rule issues, property rights and agency oversight).

Placemaking in Paradise

This panel track centers on placemaking and the different facets that contribute to it. Topics can include CRAs, redevelopment, repurposing, arts, culture, economic development, transportation (including driverless cars, mass transit, airports, rail, water taxi, bicycle planning, ports, walkability, streetscapes, street/roadway design, green highways and streets), complete streets, transportation-oriented development, and form-based code.

Changes in Latitude

This panel track allows for a broad range of sessions including general planning, soft skills (such as lessons learned, career development, interviewing skills, plan-making, data collection, community engagement techniques, good speaking skills, writing and drafting pitfalls, technical tools and mapping, project finance, involvement in professional associations and professional growth), and technology.

Important Information

Session proposals should be 75 minutes (90 minutes for law and ethics credits) and are due by 5 pm ET on March 29, 2019.

PLEASE NOTE: All sessions must have more than one presenter to be considered.

In order to participate on a session panel, APA and APA Florida members will be required to register for at least the day of the conference on which they will be speaking. Non-members (e.g.: community members, public officials, and auxiliary professionals) are not required to register to participate on a panel.