Walk/Bike/Places 2021
June 15–18, 2021
Indianapolis & Online

Call for Proposals

This year's call for proposals has now closed. We thank those of you who submitted proposals, and we expect to notify applicants in late February 2021 of their status.

For those of you who voted on your favorite proposals in our public voting portal which took place December 14-21, we thank you as well! We often hear from our audience about what topics we should include in our program, therefore we wanted to give you the chance to vote on what you’d like to hear about at next year's event before our proposals go to their formal review. Turns out that many of you took that chance, as all of the proposals together brought in over 3500 individual votes!

Theme: The Route to Recovery

Walk/Bike/Places 2021 will focus on topics and issues that matter most to our audience, during what has been an incredibly challenging time for our field and our communities. We seek to bring together practitioners, policy-makers, and advocates from everywhere to share the experiences, projects, and research that are reclaiming our streets and public spaces for people.

This year’s conference theme is one that we know is at the top of everyone’s minds at this moment, no matter who you are, where you are, or what you do. The struggles that so many faced or witnessed this year were rooted in inequalities that existed long before 2020. What steps do we need to take to recover from the social, economic and environmental challenges we have faced, and are still facing now? How has, and will, active transportation and public space play a crucial role? We want to hear your experiences, stories, tools, lessons learned, and maybe even some wild ideas to chart the route to recovery.

This year's proposal submissions will guide our conversation. Topics that you are likely to hear about in the 2021 program include:

  • Mobility Justice: What role will walking, biking and moving play in the recovery? How do we address and take action against the ways in which power and inequality has shaped mobility? What planning policies and practices do we need to acknowledge as discriminatory and unequal?
  • Public Safety: If policing is not the way to make people feel safe and comfortable in our public spaces, then what is? In neighborhoods that have experienced trauma, where do we begin to rebuild trust, social capital, and safety?
  • Democracy in the Streets: Our streets and intersections have increasingly become places to protest and mourn. How can we reinforce the value of our public spaces as a physical place to congregate and exercise our collective voice?
  • Saving our Downtowns and Main Streets: How do we preserve the retail and restaurants which anchor our downtowns and our main streets, which provide livelihoods to our neighbors and reflect the cultures of our communities?
  • Becoming Resilient: In a time of climate and public health emergencies, we often hear about “building back better.” What role should mobility, public space, and community participation play in ensuring our communities are less vulnerable in the future? And how do we measure progress toward environmental, economic, and community health?
  • Adapting Programming, Design and Engagement: How has your community, organization or agency adapted to programming, design or engagement during a pandemic? How did you engage the community inclusively in your process, and who benefitted from the changes? What can we retain or learn from as we recover?  During a pandemic, how can public agencies get meaningful engagement when we can’t meet face to face?
  • Economic Support: How are we going to pay for all of this? Who can be good partners during a time when funding is dwindling? How are you looking anew at travel behavior, planning, and infrastructure investments?

You might note that “equity” is not on this list. That is because we feel equity is too important to simply be a topic or a track for this program—it is essential and a given, and should be at the foundation of everyone's work.

Proposal Review

Review will take place in two parts this year. We recently obtained crowdsource feedback from our audience via a public voting process, where those who participated voted on their favorite breakout and single presenter submissions.

Proposals will next be evaluated by the Program Review Committee which will include individuals from participating partners, as well as outside experts in the field. Acceptance will be based on the results of the public voting process, completeness and quality of the application, presenter expertise, relevance to the conference theme, contributions to the overall field, and demonstration of the proposal’s focus on equity.

Thanks to all who participated this year, and we look forward to turning your proposals into an informative and inspiring 2021 program.

For any questions about the Call for Proposals process, please email us at: program@walkbikeplaces.org