UF Urban and Regional Planning at the the 2023 Florida APA Conference

MURP Students at URP table

September 19, 2023

The Urban and Regional Planning Department at UF showcased a powerful presence at this year’s Florida APA Conference. With a vibrant blend of representation, awards, and engagements, the department exemplified planning excellence:

Exhibitor Booth

This year saw the department not just as participants but as proud sponsors of the 2023 Florida APA Conference. The URP exhibit booth became a hub of interaction, with eager students and seasoned faculty collaborating to introduce attendees to the department’s unique initiatives.

“The Florida Planning Conference was a great time! I was able to network with public and private sector employees, represent UF, and attend sessions. My favorite session was about Youth Planners which consisted of kids from the Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association, who are passionate about planning, making change in their city, and becoming urban planners.”

Yesenia Castaneda, MURP student and SPA president
Planning students assisting tabling efforts.
Dr. Emre Tepe and MURP students, Adrian Santiago and Drew Borzi after being presented the ‘Award of Merit’
MURP student, Adrian Santiago presenting his poster
Transportation Engineering PhD and MURP Student, Bryce Grame presenting his poster

Award Recipients

The spirit of innovation was bright as students from the Fall 2022 studio (URP 6341) were recognized for their project, “SPARCing Community Spaces for Arts and Wellness.” Their dedication and forward-thinking approach earned them the coveted “Award of Merit.”

 “It was an honor to receive a student merit award for the SPARC Arts and Wellness Community Center project that our UF Fall 2022 Urban Regional Planning Studio put together. Planning studio was a challenging collaborative full circle experience that I got to participate in as an undergraduate, humbled to be recognized with Dr. Tepe and Drew Borzi on behalf of our Fall Studio class. It was also an honor to participate in the inaugural student poster competition with my Spring Sustainability and the Built Environment Capstone, getting to talk about challenging environmental justice questions.”

– Adrian Santiago, MURP student

Further amplifying UF’s presence at the conference, Bryce Grame set a remarkable precedent by clinching the Student Poster winner award in the event’s inaugural poster session.

“The APA conference was an incredible opportunity to disseminate some of the interdisciplinary research I have been working on to an audience broader than the transportation groups I usually present to.”

– Bryce Grame, Transportation Engineering PhD and MURP Student

UF URP Happy Hour Reception

In what turned out to be a highlight of the conference, URP hosted a happy hour reception that saw an impressive turnout of around 60 attendees. This gathering of alumni, current faculty, instructors, and students from both campus and online courses showcased the diverse and vibrant community that makes up the URP family.

Alumni, Faculty, and Students at the UF Happy Hour Reception
Alumni, Faculty, and Students at the UF Happy Hour Reception

UF Speaker Sessions

Alumni and Faculty of the department were well represented as presenters at the conference. Notable UF sessions include: 

  • Adrienne Burke was involved with 3 sessions and 2 ‘starter sessions’
    • What Lies Beneath: Equitable Planning for Historic Cemeteries In Your Community; Historic Preservation Planning 101; Planning with Gullah Geechee Descendant Communities
    • Yoga and Mindfulness, Brain Break

  • Jerry Bell was a panelist for the room-filled The Good, the Bad, the Ugly! What Planners Can Learn from Yellowstone

  • Dr. Laurel Harbin and Devin Leavins also had a packed room for their session, Thank You for Your Comment: Breaking Through Barriers to Meaningful Community Engagement

  • The Equity and the Inflation Reduction Act: Through the Lens of Emerging Planners in Florida included two UF alums, Jarrell Smith and Yash Nagal. Jarrell also hosted An Interactive, Multigenerational Conversation: Blaming It All on Boomers and Millennials … And Other Things We Shouldn’t Do In Workplace Dynamics and Community Planning.
Dr. Laurel Harbin and Devin Leavins during their session, Thank You for Your Comment: Breaking Through Barriers to Meaningful Community Engagement
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