Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Local Groups Hosting National Urbanism Conference

NEWaukee and NAIOP Wisconsin sponsoring conference on creative urbanism.

By - Oct 6th, 2020 08:59 am
Urban Spaceship conference. Image from NEWaukee.

Urban Spaceship conference. Image from NEWaukee.

A new conference will explore the future of cities.

Hosted by NEWaukee and commercial real estate association NAIOP Wisconsin, Urban Spaceship will take place on November 9th.

“Cities all around the country are asking the question, ‘what’s next?’ We can look at this moment and not act or we can choose to build more resilient and equitable cities post-coronavirus,” said Jeremy Fojut, co-founder and chief idea officer of NEWaukee, in a statement.

The conference is a spiritual successor to the Empty Storefronts conference the two organizations ran for five years. The conference sought to serve as a platform to exchange ideas and strategies for filling vacant storefronts and addressing blight.

Pivoting the name is part of a shift to a broader focus — to urban planning, architecture, development, placemaking, economic development, design and sustainability.

“The Urban Spaceship Conference is all about bringing together industry, community, and business leaders to explore the intersection of people and place that is at the heart of creating thriving communities,” said NAIOP Wisconsin CEO Jim Villa.

The partners will also experiment with a pandemic-induced change, pivoting to an all-virtual event, and hope to draw a nationwide audience. The 2019 in-person event drew more than 150 people, with attendees from many Wisconsin cities and a handful from surrounding states.

The initial lineup includes a mix of local and international speakers. Jason Syvixay, principal planner at the City of Edmonton, Diana Lind, author of Brave New Home, James Rojas, founder of Place It!, Melissa Gonzalez, CEO of the Lion’esque Group, Danny Harris, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, Eve Picker, CEO of real estate crowdfunding platform Small Change and Milwaukee-based real estate developer Tim Gokhman.

The new name follows NEWaukee’s Urban Spaceship podcast, launched earlier this year. Fojut serves as host and is frequently joined by Michael Bradley and Montavius Jones in interviewing guests from across the country doing interesting work in urban areas.

Tickets for the virtual conference are $30 with $15 early bird pricing through October 16, 2020. Additional information, including registration details, are available on NAIOP’s website.

Greenfire Management Services is serving as the presenting sponsor.

NEWaukee, a social architecture firm, has for years relied on in-person events to serve as the core of its operation. The firm has offered a variety of virtual programming over the past six months.

In the past month it announced that YP Week 2020 would take place entirely virtually on October 20th and 21st. It also announced a gap year program in partnership with Milwaukee Area Technical College that is intended to provide students who are uncertain if they will attend college an alternative educational experience at local companies.

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