Defining Resiliency for Northern New England
Point Lookout, Northport, Maine

Community Character Across the Rural to Urban Spectrum

Learn about innovative approaches being used to enhance the quality of development across the spectrum from rural to urban settings, with an emphasis on small towns in New England. We will discuss the identification of different sectors used to craft a future land use plan for Durham, NH; Newcastle, Maine’s innovative work with coding around natural and landscape features to avoid disrupting the town’s desired land-use patterns; and general strategies for regulating place and building types to preserve much-loved rural character.

Planning for Resilience: Sea Level Rise and Climate Change Vulnerability

Climate change and sea level rise pose significant threats to New England communities, particularly the regions’ historic downtowns, waterfront areas, and coastal infrastructure. This session will present various approaches to coastal vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning being implemented at municipal and regional levels in Maine and New Hampshire. Speakers will showcase three projects: a city effort to measure vulnerability of a historic waterfront downtown and develop appropriate adaptation strategies; a regional planning effort to assist rural communities conduct detailed vulnerability assessments of a riverfront downtown, commercial harbor and wastewater treatment plants, develop engineering options, and update local ordinances; and a practical assessment framework and process for communities to examine local flood risk, assess vulnerability of the social, built, and natural environments, and identify specific opportunities to enhance community resilience through planning mechanisms.

Broadband Infrastructure: A Planner’s Role in “Fiber to Premise” Expansion

This workshop will provide an overview of best practices for Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) broadband planning along with strategies that municipalities and counties might implement to facilitate the financing, construction, and operation of an FTTP network. Participants will explore the broadband planning process, how to prioritize where and when to consider broadband infrastructure, the various funding mechanisms, and how potential public private partnerships can expedite the process. We will also take a look at a multi-town planning process that’s currently under way and hear about what’s working and what might be addressed differently in future planning studies.

Resident Driven Planning & Community Development: How Planners Can Benefit

This session will focus on the Community Heart & Soul® program and present several case studies from New England communities that have embraced this approach to community engagement, planning and development. When public hearings don’t work and top down approaches are no longer accepted, how can planners tap into the new engagement preferences in our communities? Learn about how the Community Heart & Soul model works to engage community members to create stronger, healthier and economically vibrant cities and towns throughout New England. How and where can planners engage without feeling threatened by this resident driven approach and community members demanding more? Predicting and addressing community change have always been a planners’ task and challenge. How can community Heart & Soul process aid planners and enhance our work while strengthening the fabric of our communities? How can planners use grassroots initiatives and guide that energy and collective action without feeling helpless?

Implementation & Action: Climate Adaptation and Resiliency in Seacoast New Hampshire

Regional planners in New Hampshire will present case studies of how climate adaptation and resiliency actions were implemented by 9 inland tidal municipalities. Presentations will highlight actions such as coastal hazards and climate adaptation master plan chapters, new floodplain development standards, updated stormwater management regulations, community outreach initiatives, and innovative messaging about the impacts of climate change. Case studies presented will focus not only on results but also the methods applied to ensure success and the importance of small technical assistance grants in creating local capacity and willingness to take action. The session will describe how the adaptation and resiliency actions implemented are transferable to settings and geographies beyond the coastal region.

Planning Law Session – Legal Update

The Planning Law Session is a great opportunity for planners to learn about emerging legal issues and trends. We will review important statutory enactments and some case law in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont over the past year related to planning, code enforcement, signage, land use, and general municipal law, among other topics. We’ll also provide a preview to a takings case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Connected & Automated Vehicles in Northern New England

This session will provide an introduction to connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), a review of current CAV use, and when we could expect to see this technology deployed in Northern New England. We will also discuss how the potential positive and negative long-term implications of CAV deployment could change how transportation improvement projects are planned and programmed in Northern New England in the future. Mr. Miller and Mr. Suennen will also highlight the challenges that regional and state agencies face in planning for CAVs.

Resiliency Games: Engaging Locals in Planning for Resilience

Local resilience is everyone’s responsibility. It takes action and collaboration in a number of diverse areas – emergency response, environmental protection, local government and utilities, community building and education. And yet hazard mitigation and emergency plans are often written in silos, by a few key experts. Resilience games, interactive assessments and collaborative workshops, are promising ways to engage and build connections among a broad range of stakeholders and community leaders, helping to build understanding of shared challenges and build momentum for shared solutions. Learn about these highly dynamic tools for community resilience planning, and try one out during this interactive session. The Resilience Game is a simulation that assigns participants roles in a community and requires them to make decisions and investments that affect their resilience. When disaster strikes, they learn how well they have prepared and how they can work together to solve problems. When paired with a facilitated discussion or planning exercise afterward, this game can shift thinking and launch new conversations about local priorities. Community Workshop has adapted this national game for rural areas, relevant particularly to northern New England.

Transitions in Your Planning Career

Have you experienced a backlash to planning in your community? Have you taken on more duties to keep your position funded? Have you changed the focus of how you deliver your planning message due to political realities? This session is an informal discussion to learn and share how we, as planners, have adapted to a changed political and economic landscape. Come to share and listen how New England planners have had to re-shape, re-tool and re-invigorate themselves on how they provide planning services to their communities.

Vinalhaven Tour: Coastal Resiliency and Hazard Planning

This workshop includes lunch on your own downtown and a walking tour of the core business district. Vinalhaven town manager Andrew Dorr will present the resiliency and hazard planning work they have done to prepare for storm surges and sea level rise on the island. Located in Penobscot Bay, the year-round island community has begun to conduct assessments and capital plans around the threats posed by rising sea levels, increased storm surges, and inundation in many of our low-lying areas. In 2016, the Town was awarded a Maine Coastal Planning Grant that allowed for a vulnerability assessment of Carver’s Harbor and had the opportunity to be served by a Design and Resiliency Team (DART) in 2017 that looked at multiple aspects for sustaining our downtown. The island’s SLR Committee has begun to outline future resiliency work, including beginning the Flood Resiliency Checklist in October of 2018.

Setting Up For Success: A Succession Plan For New England’s Planners

Are you a long-time planner looking ahead to what comes after your planning career (or preparing your escape route!)? Are you at the early stages of your career, trying to find your way in the field (or this part of the country!), or figuring out how to make your mark on the profession? If you answered “yes,” then this session is for you! In Northern New England, many planners are preparing to retire and long-time volunteers are burned out. But as a profession, we lack a succession plan for how new planners can jump in, move up, and help shape the future of planning in the region. This facilitated discussion will build upon themes from a pre-conference survey, and brainstorm action steps that NNECAPA and employers can take to prepare our communities and organizations for the generational, organizational, and planning changes that are ahead.

Planning Ethics

This will be an interactive session on Ethics including timely case studies, court cases, and a presentation reviewing the Ethics Code and ethics scenarios demonstrating current, common concerns. Attendees are encouraged to bring ethical concerns and issues to the session for discussion.

Ecological Resilience: Core Concepts and Where To Find The Data

This workshop will provide an overview of core concepts in ecological resilience for terrestrial, aquatic and coastal/marine ecosystems with a focus on how planners can use those concepts to inform their work. Participants will also learn where to access the latest geospatial data on ecological resilience. Public and private agencies have developed datasets and tools to better understand the resilience of ecological systems in the face of rapid anthropogenic climate-change. While these tools build on available knowledge about habitats and ecosystems, the core concepts behind resilience differs slightly from tools that planners commonly use to analysis current habitats and ecosystems. This workshop will give planners an overview of core concept in ecological resilience; and provide examples of how both municipalities and conservation groups are using these tools to guide planning decisions.

Building Resilience Through Civic Infrastructure

We know how critical it is to strengthen built infrastructure for resilience - roads and sewers, buildings and utilities; communities are increasingly also valuing and planning for green infrastructure. But they rarely dedicate the same attention or resources to a third critical component of resilience: civic infrastructure. Most communities dedicate tremendous resources to planning resilient built infrastructure that can withstand storms and other disasters. We likewise understand the critical role that healthy, functioning ecosystems can play in resilience – and the value of green infrastructure solutions. While these factors are important, numerous studies have shown that the communities that fare best in a range of disaster or hazard situations are often the ones that have the strongest community connections, collaboration and partnerships, communication channels and diverse leadership. This session will introduce the concept of civic infrastructure (including community capacities, communication channels, open governance, community spirit and self-reliance) and creative ways that communities can strengthen their resilience by proactively planning for it.

Infrastructure That Transforms Communities

Investing in urban infrastructure is often a complex proposition that requires years of planning and significant amounts of funding. Through a series of short stories and case studies, this interactive workshop will explore how a variety of planned and built infrastructure projects are transforming communities into more walkable and livable places. At this session, you will hear from a range of panelists about projects across the Northern New England, learn about the key steps that have led to their success, and see how they are transforming their communities. Participants will be asked to bring and discuss examples of infrastructure projects from their own communities. During this facilitated discussion, we will learn about best practices and the keys to success in implementing today’s infrastructure projects.

Why Planners Should Drive Fire Trucks

The starting supposition for this session is that we as planners are on unsteady ground as so much is changing around us – demographically, technically, climate-wise, etc. But we are not adept at that. We are good at operating in stable environments, where there is lots of data, and where people can take a lot of time to digest drafts, and where the past is some of a guide. If some of all of these are no longer the case, do we have the right tools? And are the tools of the emergency field better? Since these “unstable and unsettling times” feel like disasters, and often include actual disasters, this workshop will embrace that situation and take planners in a crash course into how professional emergency managers do their work. The workshop will show how planners can function well in this space and provide important service to both responders and the public.

Transportation Demand Management: What The Heck Is It Again?

What the heck is TMD? How is it relevant to my planning work? This workshop will demonstrate how Transportation Demand Management fits in the larger context of transportation and land use planning and its relevance for everything from village areas/rural crossroads to our small urban areas. We’ll cover why we encourage it as a practice and set of tools, new ways communities are showing TDM leadership and how TDM strategies can leverage change and also funding for infrastructure.