Skip directly to content

APLA Students Take Part in First Southeast Student Planning Conference

Five Community Planning graduate students from the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture took part in the first ever Southeast Student Planning Conference. Developed as a platform for student projects and participation, the Southeast Student Planning Conference was organized by the Georgia Planning Association (GPA) and Georgia Tech and held in conjunction with the GPA meeting in Columbus, Georgia, on September 26-28. The Auburn MCP students joined sixty-six city and planning graduate students from ten universities throughout the Southeast.

A Student Program Committee, consisting of members from each participating university, assisted with planning the conference and was responsible for selecting student paper submissions. Of twenty-two papers selected for presentation to assembled audiences, five APLA MCP students were selected to present.  Spencer Moore, a second year student working toward a dual degree in Community Planning and Public Administration and the Auburn University representative on the Student Program Committee, was selected to present a paper entitled “Developing Place in Downtown Auburn, Alabama.”  Jaime Larzelere (MCP) and Jes Laing (MCP) worked as a team on their topic, “The Next Step to Sustainable Practices:  Urban Farming” that describes a group of urban farming initiatives across the country.  Rafael Egues (MCP/MLA) defined his topic as, “Abandoned Spaces to Community Places” and discussed how vacant lots can be transformed into healthy civic spaces.  Juan Diego Donoso (MCP) presented a research project identifying solutions to sprawl in Auburn, Alabama called, “Auburn Sprawl Repair.”  Professor Rebecca Retzlaff was one of the moderators for the student sessions, and Kenneth Speetjens, an ENVD/Pre-LAND student attended as well.

The student conference was arranged so that students could attend either student sessions or GPA conference sessions, and GPA conference participants were able to join student sessions as well. Moore observed that students primarily presented topics based in theory while practitioners focused more on current work. “I really enjoyed seeing a realistic view of the profession,” stated Moore, “And was really impressed with the quality of the student work presented.”

Due to the success of this year’s conference in Georgia, the South Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association and Clemson University will host a second Southeast Student Planning Conference in fall 2013 in conjunction with SCAPA’s annual fall conference.

For more information about GPA’s conference, please visit:

Related Topics: