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The Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) has launched registration for their annual conference taking place virtually this fall.
Ontario’s municipalities and the planning community have spent most of 2020 responding to the pandemic. Now. What. On October 6, 13, and 20, the OPPI21 conference aims to answer this question by exploring what it means to move forward in economic development and sustainability, technology, and healing – issues that are fundamental to life in 2021 and beyond.
The OPPI21 conference is Ontario’s most talked about planning event of the year, drawing professional planners and industry experts together from across Ontario for three days of insightful keynote speakers, thoughtful panel discussions, and meaningful breakout sessions.
“It would be an understatement to say that the last year has been a challenging one,” says Justine Giancola, OPPI Council President and partner at Dillon Consulting Limited. “For the planning profession, the pandemic has presented an opportunity to redefine the role of professional planners as a vital part of the recovery of Ontario’s communities.”
One of the conference themes is economic development and sustainability and the planning profession has an important role to play. Whether a community is urban or rural, high growth or low growth, its planners are vital participants in economic development and work to make their communities sustainable for future generations. The OPPI21 conference will explore the role of planners in addressing issues such as housing requirements as more people work from home, migration to smaller cities and towns for people who seek to reconnect with outdoor spaces, the influence of changing retail models on Main Streets and neighbourhoods, the development of equitable opportunities to unlock the potential of marginalized communities, and more.
Another conference theme is technology and the planning profession is already tapping into it as a tool for redeveloping communities in the public interest. In one sense, technology is changing how people work and use office space as they transition from tall skyscrapers to home offices. The OPPI21 conference will explore how a changing workforce will affect transportation and how employment centres are planned and used. For towns and cities that have embraced tech companies as major employers in a public/private partnership, they’re experiencing a renaissance and resurgence that is defining the communities of tomorrow. With data and analytics at their fingertips, professional planners can remake neighbourhoods, enhance services and engage with residents more efficiently and accurately than ever before.
“We are living in a historic moment of change and we, as professional planners, have an important role in guiding that change to ensure it sets future generations up for success,” says Giancola. “How we define Now. What. will be marked by our strength, compassion, and resilience.”
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