Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

Largest Northeast & Mid-Atlantic Summit in history gets great reviews

The reviews of the Northeast & Mid-Atlantic Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit are in – and they’re great!

More than 300 people participated in the Northeast & Mid-Atlantic Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit. Running from April 18 to 22, with 40 sessions, It was the largest Northeast Summit in terms of participation and content in the eight-year history of the program.

And it got among the highest ratings in program history.

  • 100% of participants surveyed said they enjoyed the Summit.
  • 100% said what they learned was useful to them
  • 97% were satisfied with the quality of session instructors95% said they learned a lot
  • 97% said that Proctors Theater was a good venue to hold the event
  • 95% said there was a good mix of learning experiences
  • 90% were satisfied with the diversity of session instructors
  • 90% said that Schenectady is a good place for this type of conference
  • 85% said that Airmeet was easy to use
  • 82% said they expanded their network
  • 81% said they liked using Airmeet for the Summit
  • 79% said there was enough time for audience questions
  • 77% said there was plenty of time for networking
  • 71% said they learned more than they expected to
Summit participants practice working with a human loom during the Social Practice Showcase at the Summit.

The weeklong Summit was held online April 18 and 19, and in-person April 20-22.  On Saturday, April 23, there was also a public artmaking activity, the Community Weave 

42 people responded to the survey. They represented a mix of industries. 55% identified as arts administrators. 55% identified as artists, designers or makers. 35% identified as part of the architecture, planning or civil engineering fields. 24% identified as part of the community development field. 19% identified as instructors, and 33% identified as part of other professions. (The percentages add up to more than 100 because respondents could identify as being connected to more than one industry.)

 All but three respondents were either executives, key decision makers or managers in their organizations.

What did respondents like most about the Summit?
  • “Variety of activities” | “Variety of sessions” | “Variety of classes and critical thinking” | “I loved the thoughtful balance of indoor/traditional sessions, creative networking events, and experimental or more hands-on sessions. I really liked the balance of sessions focusing on equity, practical placemaking techniques, and some really new directions (for me), like digital placemaking.”
  • “The opportunity to meet others across fields with similar interests” | “The mix of individuals involved” | “I love bringing together people from multiple industries to explore our intersections and common goals”
  • “The wide range of creative placemaking approaches, the chance to talk with people already in the work, the inside look into current challenges within the field”
  • “The smoothness of Airmeet and the engagement of session participants”
  • “The opportunity to connect with creatives, learn new things, and explore new opportunities and connections”
  • “The in-person presentations were great”
  • “The diversity and being able to attend remotely - as I am based in Ireland” “I also enjoyed that there was a virtual option in addition to more local-focused content in person”
  • “It was wonderful and inspiring to be around so many creative people. With their permission, I am stealing their ideas. It gave me a motivational jump-start”
  • “I liked how many options there were for sessions to attend, and that they’re all recorded”
  • “The people - the sessions/topics, but also the location and options to walk to food”
  • “Being able to immediately watch replays was very helpful”
  • “I liked the frank, on-the-ground practical discussions that happened”
  • “Learning about the participants who were there through group discussions”
  • “Exploring Schenectady, physically walking through Hamilton Hill and learning about the different organizations that are using art and creativity to send positive messages to the community” | “Proctors was beautiful and Schenectady was a lovely city.”

Since 2014, more than 3,600 people have participated in Creative Placemaking Leadership Summits. More than 90% of participants surveyed said they enjoyed their Summit, learned a lot, or made good connections.

We’re not resting on our laurels as we work on our next Summit – South & Appalachia, November 3-4 in Chapel Hill, NC. We’re going to focus on enhancing the Airmeet experience and providing more opportunities and time for participants to share ideas and connect.

The success of the Summit was made possible by dozens of volunteers who were involved in selecting and reviewing sessions, as well as helping with in-person and online sessions.
The Summit was produced by Creative Placemaking Communities, in partnership with Union College and Smallwander. Many local and area organizations supported the Summit. They include The Schenectady Foundation; Union College; Smallwander; Proctors Collaborative; Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation; Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority; Discover Schenectady; City of Schenectady; Troy Business Improvement District; Northern New Jersey Community Foundation; Redburn Development Partners;Sizz Handmade, the American Planning Association’s Upstate New York Chapter, New York Metro Chapter, Latinos and Planning division, Urban Design and Preservation division and Arts and Planning Interest Group; The Arts Center of the Capital Region; Goucher College, Museum of Innovation and Science; Capital Region Chamber of Commerce; Center for Economic Growth; Upstate Alliance for the Creative Economy; Duryee Community Foundation; Hammock Way of Life; Biz Idea Shower, Capital Region Planning Commission, Electric City Barn, ArtPride New Jersey, PlacemakingUS, Scotland Shop, Shelterforce, Center for Creative Land Recycling, and Electric City Food Co-op.
Created with