Walk/Bike/Places 2020

Call for Proposals

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.

In response to the continuous challenges posed by Covid-19, Walk/Bike/Places 2021 will take place in Indianapolis as a hybrid event, where participants can take advantage of the benefits of both formats and plan their attendance accordingly. Those who submit proposals for this conference will select from one of the proposal formats listed below, and select whether they will present in-person or online.

Submit Proposal
Deadline: Wednesday, December 9 @ 5pm ET

Theme: The Route to Recovery

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.

We want your proposals to guide our conversation. Rather than providing content “tracks” as we have in past calls for proposals, this year our call is wide open. The tracks we include in the final program will reflect the themes that emerge from this process—the themes that matter to most to you.

Below, you will find some suggestions for session topics to get you started on your proposal. This list is far from exhaustive, and we encourage you to pitch an idea we haven’t thought of!

  • 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 proposal. Reviewers will look to see how a focus on equity in your work is reflected in your abstract.

Session Formats

We are offering three formats from which to choose from this year. Each format is unique so please review the characteristics and expectations of each and then choose the one that’s the best fit for your content. Please note that if you are proposing a breakout session, we expect panels to include a diverse set of voices, and will look for innovative workshop formats over lecture-style presentations.

  1. Breakout Session
    Propose a 60-90 minute session with multiple presenters in either a panel OR workshop format.

    Panel: A moderated “fireside chat” format often accompanied by slideshows for each speaker, used to spark cross-disciplinary dialogue and dig deep into panelists’ expertise.

    Workshop: These classroom-style sessions focus on enhancing practical skills and showcasing strategies and techniques. Think hands-on, participatory, and interactive.

  1. Short Talk/Single Presentation*
    Propose a single, seven-minute presentation to be combined with other presenters into a 60-90 minute session.

    Submit a short presentation. The conference organizers will curate multiple short talk sessions on a range of topics, each consisting of single presentations from 5-7 presenters. Successful applicants to this format will be placed in a session with other presenters addressing similar topics. This is one of Project for Public Spaces’ most beloved formats that we have not yet held at Walk/Bike/Places, and is a great option if you wish to meet new people in your area of expertise.

    *We might ask to place you in an accepted breakout session, rather than a short talk session, should the content be a better match.

  1. Poster Presentation
    Propose a single presentation in our open poster sessions.

    Some topics are best presented on paper and explained in person. For those reasons this format is a favorite for presenters of technical information, those who desire a more intimate connection with their audience, despisers of PowerPoint, and students seeking feedback on research projects.

    All poster presenters will deliver an online poster presentation, and the option to display in-person should they attend the event in Indianapolis.

Proposal Submission and Review

Submit Proposal
Deadline: Wednesday, December 9 @ 5pm ET

Note: You will be able to save your application form as you work on your proposal.


This year's application form contains a series of questions regarding the session’s content and outcomes. Please note:

  • You may submit up to two proposals, but no more than one breakout proposal will be selected.
  • We expect to notify applicants of successful applications in February 2021.
  • If selected to present, you will be expected to register for the event at a discounted "presenter rate." Price will be provided with your acceptance notification.


Review will take place in two parts this year. We will first crowdsource feedback from our audience via a public voting process, where those who participate will vote on their favorite breakout session submissions. Please note: This means that your name, proposal abstract, and title will be public for the week we display proposals for voting.

Your proposal will then 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.

We look forward to receiving your submission!

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