Call for Ideas

Brownfields 2017 Call for Ideas is Closed.

To download a PDF of this Call for Submissions page, click here.

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Conference Topic Areas

The conference planning committee is looking for ideas in the following topic areas/tracks:

  • Track 1: How Do We Design Healthy, Resilient, and Sustainable Communities? Tell us about your successful innovations. We want to hear from planners, architects, public health officials, and other experts on how to build our towns and communities more sustainably. We want to start lively conversations on how to promote transit-oriented development and build communities that are more resilient to climate change and other environmental issues. Give us ideas on how to track and measure our progress toward community resiliency, sustainability, and livability.
  • Track 2: Is There a Greener Path? Share your ideas and experiences with brownfields assessments, demolitions, cleanups, and redevelopment that incorporate climate adaptation and mitigation and address other significant environmental challenges. How should we advise communities to manage assessments and cleanups to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change impacts throughout the brownfield revitalization process?
  • Track 3: How Do We Leverage Financing to Spur Brownfields Redevelopment and Community Economic Development? Share your success stories with finding funds to pay for Brownfields revitalization projects.  Give us your insights about how to move brownfields projects forward by overcoming funding challenges with creative money solutions (e.g., finding investors, leveraging public/private financing, tax incentives, insurance options, banking, etc.).  Talk to us about the role of public private partnerships and the role of partnerships in meeting funding needs.  Teach us how to manage risk in the course of real estate transactions.  Are tax credits and other incentives a good investment for communities?  What are the best financial and investment tools available to communities for spurring economic development?
  • Track 4: What’s Your Community’s Reuse Success Story? Inform us regarding the best methods for evaluating potential reuses.  Share your success stories in reusing brownfields for housing, manufacturing, mixed use, commercial development, urban agriculture, green space, and other alternatives.  Discuss temporary and interim uses for brownfields and tell us what advantages interim uses provide for community revitalization and neighborhood engagement.
  • Track 5: What in the World? Enlighten us with stories of what practices are working to address blight, brownfields cleanup and reuse, and community revitalization around the world.  Lead us in a discussion of best practices, lessons learned, and great international success stories in places far away from the Steel City.
  • Track 6: Are We Engaging the Local Community? Lead us in a discussion about engaging and involving the local community using workforce development and job training, historic structures, cultural heritage, the arts community, faith-based organizations, community gardens, environmental justice, gentrification, and displacement, and more.  Engage us in meaningful conversations about equitable development and public health.  Give us your best advice, based on direct experience, on how to make brownfields revitalization a success for all residents and businesses.
  • Track 7: Can We Forge a New Era of State, Tribal, and Local Partnerships? Brownfields redevelopment and community revitalization are most successful when built around partnerships.  Submit your stories of successful brownfields partnerships that are structured to ensure sustainable revitalization.  What are the best strategies for working at all levels of government to meet community revitalization challenges?  Lead us in a discussion of how to form and leverage partnerships among levels of government to ensure livable and vibrant communities and sustainable revitalization.
  • Track 8: How Do We Address Liability, Enforcement, and Technical Considerations? Engage us in conversation about overcoming legal challenges, contamination issues, engineering considerations, and potential future liabilities of the brownfields redevelopment process.


Session Formats

You have options for submitting ideas in a variety of formats.  Preferred formats include town hall meetings, round table discussions, and learning lounges.

This year we are seeking ideas for “pre-conference training workshops”—a new format and opportunity to help our attendees with real-world practical skill-building sessions.   We also will accept proposals from subject area experts to give “lunch talks”—sessions that will educate your audience on a well-defined topic and engage stakeholders in lively Q & A during the lunch hour.

  • Town Hall Meeting (60 minutes) – Lively discussion led by a moderator and a panel of two leaders or experts in a specific topic or area of interest.  Speakers briefly present a topic for discussion, which is followed by conversation between the panelists and the audience through a moderated Q&A, sharing of experiences, and a forum for voicing challenges and solutions.  Proposed Town Hall Meeting sessions must include:
    • Session title
    • Summary of the proposed topic
    • List of questions for discussion
    • Explanation of why the topic will be of interest to the proposed audience
    • Credentials of one moderator and two session leaders or panelists
  • Roundtable Discussions (60 minutes) – A rapid fire, discussion-oriented session format that is led by one or two topic experts.  Session leaders quickly present a topic that translates within minutes to a facilitated conversation between and among the audience participants.  The room is set with round tables and a podium.  No PowerPoint presentations.  The room will be configured to allow for actively engaging the entire audience and/or small group discussions on questions or topics put forth by the session leader(s).  Proposed discussion sessions must include:
    • Session title
    • Summary of the proposed topic
    • List of questions for discussion
    • Description of the target audience
    • Credentials of the one or two topic experts who will lead the session.
  • Learning Lounge (30 minutes) – An extremely popular format first introduced at Brownfields 2015, learning lounge sessions are short talks on big issues.   For each learning lounge timeslot, there will be thematically similar sessions running concurrently and an “expert bar” where attendees can ask questions on the topics being discussed within the learning lounges.  Each learning lounge session is a single 15-minute presentation by one presenter followed by 15 minutes of Q&A from the audience.  Proposed learning lounge sessions must include:
    • Session title
    • Summary of the proposed topic
    • Description of the target audience
    • Credentials of the proposed speaker
  • Lunch Talks (45 minutes) – One expert presents a talk in his or her area of interest and leads a question-and-answer session, similar to Ted Talks.  Topics must have a wide appeal and the speaker must be an expert in the topic presented.  Participants are giving up their lunch hour to hear you speak, so make it worth their while, teach them something, and be interesting and dynamic!  Proposed lunch talks must include:
    • Summary of the proposed topic
    • Relevance to the expected audience
    • Credentials of the expert speaker
  • Panel Discussions (60 minutes) – Panel consisting of one moderator and no more than two speakers who are recognized experts in a specific topic, and who generally have different viewpoints or experiences within the specific topic. The moderator will lead the panel discussion and follow-on question and answers. Sessions must be tailored to encourage and allow for audience interaction.  At least 15 minutes of the hour-long session must be devoted to questions and answers. Proposed panel sessions must include:
    • Summary of the proposed topic
    • Explanation of why the topic is important to the audience
    • Description of the target audience
    • Credentials of the moderator and (no more than) two speakers
  • Pre-conference Training Workshops (1–4 hours) – New for 2017, we are soliciting proposals for a limited number of training workshops that are designed to help participants elevate and enrich their skills and knowledge in practitioner-oriented adult learning workshops.  Presenters must be experts in the topic presented and have demonstrated experience as a trainer or educator.  All training workshops will be held on Monday, December 4 between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Proposals for training workshops must include:
    • Summary of the topic
    • Relevance to the expected audience
    • List of learning objectives
    • Curriculum outline
    • Resumes or CVs of all proposed speakers
  • Poster Gallery – Showcased in the exhibit hall, poster presentations are on display throughout the entire conference. Scheduled “poster breaks” and other events on the trade show floor provide exclusive viewing time to conference attendees. Awards for the Best Overall Poster and a People’s Pick encourage attendees to visit the poster area and learn how they can address brownfields in their communities. (Poster Dimensions: 8′ wide by 4′ high)
    • Presentation Title
    • Presenter information
    • Abstract
    • Educational Track

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