PSS Section Update

By: Brandon Gonzalez, AICP

Change can be difficult for those of us who are creatures of habit.  Change becomes even more complicated when that change is sudden, unexpected, and has no apparent end in sight.  Like all areas of our lives at the moment, the Puget Sound Section has had to change our approach to serving our members.  

Historically, the PSS held PLACES events each year that were geared towards in -person learning at sites around Puget Sound.  These were fun events that helped to connect us to one another as we toured new facilities, redevelopment areas, new bike facilities, affordable housing efforts, and a multitude of other important topics.  In light of COVID, these types of interactions are not currently possible, but it’s important for us to stay connected to one another and also continue receiving CM opportunities.  

Over the summer, the PSS has been conducting a webinar series where we have hosted a CM-certified lunch webinar every 3-4 weeks.  Subjects so far have focused on relevant topics for planners who are having to quickly adjust to a rapidly changing dynamic in order to provide socially distant public spaces for people to stay healthy, outdoor dining for businesses to survive and thrive, and to think critically about race and social justice given the spotlight over the summer on the Black Lives Matter movement.  

The Puget Sound Section has so far led the following webinars: 

  • Public Space + Racial Justice:  What planners should be thinking about as we plan and design public spaces and how public spaces, or the lack thereof, have impacted policing.  

  • Healthy Streets Initiatives:  Learned from Seattle, Bellevue, and Bothell on their healthy streets initiatives to support recreation and businesses. 

  • The Ins and Outs of Outdoor dining:  How local communities are staying flexible to allow for restaurants and businesses to utilize outside space for business operations.  

These webinars have been heavily attended with nearly 200 joining for the Public Space + Racial Justice webinar.  With the exception of a technical error for the Public Space + Racial Justice webinar, we have been recording these webinars and are happy to share with others.  We will be continuing to offer more webinars over the coming months and are currently working on a fun way to virtually connect for a Holiday and end-of-year party, so stay tuned!