We’ve been there before. Those events with the boring keynote, death by Powerpoint, or two minutes for audience Q+A. Or the conversations that were nothing to do with the subject matter.
In a world where the transport sector is facing great uncertainty, and it is finding it hard to tackle the impacts that it has on society, a fresh approach and discussion is needed. Thankfully, a group of committed transport planners are making that happen.
On 7th November 2018, at the Open Data Institute in Leeds, the UK’s first Transport Planning Camp will take place. And I cannot wait for it.
What is it, and why do it?
The inspiration behind Transport Planning Camp was simple. If the world is changing around transport planning, then perhaps the world of transport planning needs to change. There is a world of creativity locked up in transport planners, technologists, activists, civic leaders, and others that is crying to get out.
It just needs a release. And that is where Transport Planning Camp comes in. Transport Planning Camp is an unconference which as the name suggests is not your traditional conference. The agenda is set by the attendees. The session topics and activities are decided on by the attendees on the day. It provides everyone with the opportunity to shape and lead the event, so be prepared to get involved and have some fun!
What will it be like on the day?
In 3 words: energetic, creative, and fun!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the unconference format, here is a really good, in-depth explainer. In a nutshell, the attendees drive the agenda for the day. They share the topics that they want to discuss (usually around a chosen theme), decide between them what they want to discuss, and then discuss them.
To help guide the discussions a bit, myself, Pawel and Laura set an overall theme for the day: Transport Needs of Future Generations. And what does that mean for how we plan and deliver transport services in our cities?
It is hands on, intensive, and inclusive. There are 3 more words to describe it. But importantly, it is not about getting the right sort of people there, and having a set outcome for the event. Whoever turns up are the right people, and whatever the attendees want is a good outcome.
What I hope to get out of it
On a personal level, I am extremely excited to be working on this event that is the first of its kind in the UK. The fact that it is happening at all is a success as far as I am concerned.
The most important thing for me is that participants get the opportunity to cover subjects and areas of interest that they would not otherwise cover in any other setting. And that they have the opportunity to cover them with enthusiastic and like-minded company.
The importance of building a community around this
Ultimately, I hope that it is the start of something more. From my own work, I am sensing an opportunity for convergence between transport planners, activists, technologists, and urbanists to tackle the major issues that are facing our world. All sides are making tentative steps in the right direction towards collaborating with one another.
But it needs a sustainable and connected community to accelerate, for that community to become more accessible to all, and to start doing excellent practical work. I hope that Transport Planning Camp will be the first step in achieving this.
Just doing it
A successful Transport Planning Camp isn’t just what happens on the day, but what happens before and after it. Regardless whether or not you can attend, there are a number of things that you can do that take less than 2 minutes to do:
- Sign up to our Slack Channel, and join in the conversation before and after the event;
- Retweet this blog post, or send it to 5 people in your organisation;
- Subscribe to this blog, so you keep up to date with the latest;
- Tell your colleagues about this event in your next team meeting, and encourage them to sign up;
You will hear more from us over the next few weeks on the Transport Planning Camp Blog. And check out the Transport Planning Camp website.