July/August President's Message

By Rick Sepler

Planning Café....and Pie?
I don’t know if you have seen the Capital One commercial where their spokesperson states that they are “reinventing personal banking.” In the background we see a bank branch as coffee shop and happy folks sitting and laughing while apparently reviewing their portfolios or student loan statements. Surprisingly, none look panicked or angst-filled (especially impressive as caffeine is a stimulant). Capital One says that their “cafés are inviting places where you can bank, plan your financial journey, engage with your community, and enjoy Peet's Coffee®. You don't have to be a customer.” Fascinating and provocative – inviting customers to be comfortable and spend time at your place of business. Might break down the preconceptions about that business. Hmmmm.

On a very related note, there is a wonderful short film titled “Life of Pie” about two unconventional women who moved to Fruita, Colorado in 2002 and have helped reshaped one of the state’s most conservative towns, uniting the community through advocacy, inclusivity and damn good pizza (www.patagonia.com/lifeofpie).

Perhaps our permit centers and planning offices could make more of an effort to keep folks there (as opposed to conventional wisdom, which urges us to be faster and more responsive at the counter and get them out of the door quicker). Perhaps we could make information on our adopted plans, projects and current permits available so that folks can consider them and become better informed. And perhaps we should serve pizza.

Annual Report
As I write this column, we are preparing our Chapter’s Annual Report. As a Chapter, we are required by APA-National to provide this annually to our members. It is a component of the Chapter Performance Report that took effect this year. The Annual Report serves as a snapshot of the “going’s on” of the organization.

We are fortunate to have the help of a talented intern, Jason Walsh, who is a graduate student in the Department of Urban Design and Planning at UW. Jason is working with the Executive Board and Committee Chairs to identify and assemble a synopsis of our current status and on-going work. We hope to distill the data into a visually interesting presentation that will let you “get your arms around” what is happening in the Chapter quickly. We are mindful that simplifications that helps us make sense of complex systems are always welcome (think of the London Tube map), while too much editing loses the necessary information you need to take away from the document.

We will couple this summary with a series of articles over the coming year that provides greater depth on the work of each of the committees and the officers. Our intent is to provide you with more useful (and interesting) information in an easier to digest format. We’ll be distributing the summary at the Fall Planning Conference.

Annual Fall Planning Conference
Preparations are underway for the Fall Conference to be held in Tacoma on October 16-17. The theme is “Shaping Communities that Thrive.” The speakers and panels are coming together nicely and the conference promises to be a dynamic opportunity to learn together and connect with colleagues. If you haven’t registered yet, time is of the essence

Register Now!

Return to the July/August issue of the Washington Planner