Urban Planning Conference

Forsyth Park Fountain

The Presenters and the Presentation Titles

All sessions of the conference have been approved by the American Planning Association for Certification Maintenance (CM) credits for AICP holders

Presenters of the conference consist of various planning professionals, public administrators, college professors, design professionals, and historic preservationist.  The presenters and their presentation titles and abstracts are as follows:

Dr. John F. Crowley, FAICP, FASLA, University of Georgia - Adapting on Old Freight Rail Corridor for Campus Rail Transit at the University of Georgia.

The campus of the University of Georgia has a daytime population if about 45 to 50 thousand that is positioned in a built up area of about one square mile abutting downtown Athens.  Athens is a fairly compact college town of about 120,000.  The campus, whose density rivals that of Boston or Chicago on that square mile is served by the state's second largest transit system with more than 10 million passenger boardings a year.  A little used Norfolk & Southern freight rail runs the length of this slightly oblong campus passing near most of it's concentrations of teaching, research and residence.  The presentation looks at 18 years of study to repurpose the track right of way for passenger rail transit and the continued development of the corridor and its interface with central Athens.

Shedrick Coleman, AIA, SHEDDarchitecture, Savannah - Development Inclusion: A Case of Redevelopment of Public Housing Sites in Savannah, GA

A pattern of development has been occurring over the past ten years that has affected the demographics of our communities in both positive and negative ways. The popularity of the urban core within our major cities has brought forth opportunities to redevelop struggling areas and unused industrial/commercial land. When these projects use vacant land, their impact is usually all positive with little negative impact, however, when it involves redevelopment of existing residential neighborhoods, the effects may vary. We will discuss how redevelopment of public housing sites in Savannah, GA has created far-reaching outcomes for the community at large and how these impacts could have been partially mitigated by community involvement.

Denise Grabowski, AICP, LEED AP, Symbioscity, Savannah with Allynne Tosca Owens, Savannah State University - Creating Healthy Communities through Collaboration

Great communities don’t just happen – it takes collaboration, commitment, and compromise from diverse stakeholders to create vibrant, healthy communities.  This session will focus on examples of successful collaborative efforts that have transformed distressed areas into vibrant neighborhoods, as well as current public/private initiatives that are working to strengthen beautiful historic Savannah, Georgia.

Dr. Otilia Iancu, Savannah State University - Citizen Engagement via Facebook: A Study of Five State Capital Cities

This presentation explores the use of Facebook, a social networking platform that boasts one billion users worldwide, by five American cities:  Boston, Massachusetts; Sacramento, California, Bismarck, North Dakota; Jackson, Mississippi; and, Jefferson City, Missouri.  Questions guiding the research are:  What are the local governments in these capital cities communicating to those citizens who “like” them?  Is the communication one-way or two-way?  Are the posts influential?  A research framework for the study was developed by incorporating the work of scholars (Hand and Ching 2011) and practitioners (ICMA), and a content analysis of 475 Facebook posts was conducted for the time period January 1, 2013 – February 28, 2013.  The case study presents findings from each city’s official government Facebook page followed by a comparison of Facebook usage among the capital cities.  The findings indicate that one-way communication is prevalent, public announcements are the most common type of post, the type of influential post varies, and, though limited, the two-way communication present suggests there are clear opportunities for more authentic citizen engagement and two-way communication through the web-based social networking tool known as Facebook.

Dr. Otis Johnson, Savannah State University - Models of Collaboration with Dr. LaRhonda Odom, Savannah State University - Planning to Thrive in Jackson Mississippi: A Look at the New Movement toward Economic Democracy

Models of Collaboration

Collaboration is a mutually beneficial relationship between two or more individuals in organizations who work toward common goals by sharing responsibility,authority and accountability for achieving results (Louis Rowitz). The goal of this presentation is to introduce workshop participants to various models of collaboration and to help them understand how these models can be used in the planning process.  Participants will have the opportunity for interactive learning.  They will be asked to identify the types of collaborative models they have used in their work.  Were the models effective and efficient in achieving the planning goal?  If yes, why was it successful?  If not, what models presented may have produced a positive result? This interactive sharing should result in making participants better planners in the future by having a bigger collaborative toolbox to use in their practice.

Planning to Thrive in Jackson Mississippi: A Look at the New Movement toward Economic Democracy

The economic crisis of 2008 left behind chronic unemployment, homelessness, and poverty, particularly in Black and poor neighborhoods across the United States. The failures of the free market economy, have led some communities to adopt new strategies to ensure a more just, equitable and sustainable type of economy.  Solidarity economics, rooted in the fight against austerity policies and the exploitation of neo-liberal capitalism, have emerged as a way to combat dependence on large corporations and businesses to provide jobs.  In one city, Jackson, Mississippi, a cooperative has been created to foster a community owned and controlled economy, an economic democracy. As we look toward creating and sustaining thriving communities, the great recession has shown us that we can no longer depend on the market based, growth promotion model alone.  Communities have other options in creating thriving communities, one of which is economic democracy.

LaMeisha Hunter Kelly, City of Rincon - Challenges of Plan Implementation: A Case of the City of Rincon

Planners are taught the Theory of Planning, the History of Planning, the Social Impacts of Planning, and how to develop a Planning Document; however, the development of an actual planning document is only the beginning and not the ending.  The City of Rincon case study will outline the entire planning process, but will concentrate on Plan Implementation, which demonstrates the actual strength and weakness of a plan.  In this session, we will discuss how a plan originates and is implemented in practical terms.  We will discuss how the elected body and staff work together in the planning process, the amount of time it takes to formulate a good plan, who implements the plan, and the challenges of plan implementation. 

Kevin Klinkenberg, Savannah Development and Renewal Authority - The Shift to a Walking and Biking Culture - Making It Work

The last two decades have a seen a notable shift in lifestyle preferences, with more and more people embracing a car-free or car-light lifestyle. At the core of this is walking and biking as a primary mode of transportation. But, how do you implement this transition successfully? How do you make it work well for people of all income levels and lifestyle situations? Mr. Klinkenberg will present his eleven-step recipe for successful walkable places, and use Savannah as a case study for what works and what can be improved.

Sarah Rayfield, Transport Studio, Savannah with Paula Kreissler, CPA, LEED, Green Assoc. and Whitney Shephard, PE, LEED AP, Transport Studio, Savannah - Healthy Savannah: Collaborating to Promote Public Health through Active Transportation

Collaborate at the intersection of plan-making, advocacy, and grassroots movement. Connect with Healthy Savannah to promote better plans and policy in your community.

Current Healthy Savannah initiatives include a Healthcare Georgia Foundation Childhood Obesity Prevention Program grant focused on underserved communities.  Components of the program include drafting a Complete Streets policy, advocacy and education promoting the Complete Streets policy in the City of Savannah and Chatham County; advocacy for the Truman Linear trail (a multiuse path connecting schools, parks, and other destinations); and community engagement on healthy habits, activity levels, and childhood obesity, with specific outreach to students and parents via ten Title I public schools and their Parent Teacher Associations in Savannah. As a coalition partner, Transport Studio assists transportation planning, workshop facilitation, GIS analysis and visualization, performance measures, and project evaluation for the grant. Healthy Savannah is a 100+ member coalition of public, private, and non-profit organizations that is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.  Healthy Savannah is dedicated to making all of Chatham County a healthier place to live by increasing opportunities for citizens to engage in physical activity and consume a nutritious balanced diet. Key coalition members include City of Savannah, Chatham County, Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Planning Commission, Savannah Chatham County Public School System, Chatham Area Transit, Savannah Development and Renewal Authority, Savannah Chatham Food Policy Council, Memorial Health University Medical Center, Housing Authority of Savannah, Coastal Georgia YMCA, and private businesses.

Whitney Shephard, PE, LEED AP, Transport Studio, Savannah with Dr. Michael D. Meyer, PE, FASCE, Transport Studio - Adaptation to Climate Change: National and Local Perspectives

Many regions are looking at the likely consequences of changes to sea levels, storm surge, temperatures and precipitation.  This presentation will provide the most current examples of how cities and regions are considering adaptation of the transportation system to potential changes in the climate.  A climate adaptation planning process will be presented and illustrated with examples from around the U.S.  In addition, the lessons learned from these applications will be discussed. Planning, engineering, operations, and land use policies will be discussed. Frameworks to assess risk and incorporate climate change adaptation into local and statewide plans will be presented. Principal Investigator Michael Meyer will present the NCHRP project Climate Change and the Highway System: Impacts and Adaptation Approaches.

Dr. Costas Spirou, Georgia College and State University - Urban Planning and Tourism Development: A Global Perspective of Policy Advancement

This presentation focuses on the recent role of tourism in urban planning by sharing the findings of an analysis which examines patterns of urban development in the United States and abroad.  By utilizing a global perspective, the presentation covers numerous cases of cities which have endeavored to recast their image and improve their economic condition through the utilization of a tourist planning policy.  Driven by an ideology of growth and guided by urban regimes, infrastructural development and promotional strategies have proved central to this new direction. 

The urban restructuring of the 1970s and 1980s put cultural industries on the economic agenda.  The changing demand for leisure activities and business travel turned culture and tourism in a “developing industry.”  Two key factors can be identified, (1) the broad post war (WWII) social changes including the rise of consumption, and (2) structural changes and the existing status of cities.  Specifically, massive deindustrialization, population decentralization, globalization, policies of New Federalism, and the apparent decline of cities (unemployment, housing decay and other social problems) forced governments to revisit their economic development strategies.

The ensuing political economy called for alternative planning strategies.  Thus, the chronic fiscal stress of the 1970s and the subsequent search for new resources of economic growth, as well as the displacement of a production-oriented city economy with a consumption-oriented one, called for a redefinition of cultural industries. The alliance of culture industries with local economic and political elites, as well as the role of advocacy groups to create a positive public image for culture, sport and tourism proved significant, placing urban tourism from the periphery of planning tools during the 1950s to center stage by the 1990s. The presentation discusses the conceptualization and advancement of these policies.  It also highlights various implications including social conflict, urban re-imaging, and reformulated community identity.  At the same time, emphasis is placed on the distributional consequences for disadvantaged residents.  Medium and small sized cities are also referenced in the presentation.

Thomas L. Thomson, P.E., AICP, The Chatham-Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission - Implementation: Strategy to Funding

Have you heard that plans are made but just put on the shelf?  Why is that?  Part of the problem is the process of planning is separate from the activity of implementing.    What is missing?  This presentation will address the gap between plans and implementation.  The planning process needs to be better connected to meeting the community’s goals, not only through consensus building but by linking the planning process to the production and funding institutions that implement the plans. 

The other hurdle is we have more plans than funding to meet our infrastructure needs.  The shortage of funding to build and maintain our infrastructure suffers from a multitude of absent tactics.  The causes for the shortfall of funding is found at every step of the process.  At one end of the process the expectations of citizens are raised above reasonable expectation of the availability of funding.  Comprehensive plans or long-range plans contribute to that fact because they do not focus on or produce the most important community needs.  At the other end of the process is the emphasis on funding new infrastructure over the need to maintain existing infrastructure.  Citizens are asked for new revenues without understanding how decisions are made about where the money would be spent.This presentation will show the current process for planning and implementation and discuss how it can be improved to better link the plan to implementation and show a path to sufficient funding. 

Sarah Ward, AICP, LEED AP, Ward Achitecture - Historic Preservation as a Tool for Future Adaptation

Historic buildings serve as educational resources to show us how to plan for future adaptation.  Built as a functional part of a community, using local resources and materials, incorporating designs to operate in the most efficient manner, and stand the test of time, historic buildings showcase the qualities that we seek in new growth.  Learning from our historic buildings can allow us to build better buildings for the future that will also be part of a larger community and urban context.


Profiles of the Presenters                                                        

Shedrick Coleman, AIA currently serves as a member of the APA Board of Directors. Shedrick Coleman is Principal of Sheddarchitecture and practices architecture, land planning, and interior design. He currently serves as chairman of the Chatham County–Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) in Georgia. The planning commission is the joint city-county planning agency responsible for comprehensive planning and zoning recommendations to the member governments and for historic and natural preservation, community, transportation, and land use planning.



Dr. John F. Crowley, FAICP, FASLA is currently the director of the Master of Environmental Planning and Design program at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA. He has led a long, successful and varied career in government, the military and the private sector and in academia. He has been a planning director in a small city as well as in a large metropolitan region. He was chief planner for a state park system.

Dr. Crowley was a senior corporate real estate development executive whose team built more than $2 billion in downtown mixed use projects in Tulsa, San Antonio, Kansas City, Denver and Charlotte. He directed the Oklahoma Department of Transportation before serving for 10 years as Dean of the College of Environment and Design at the University of Georgia. He is a Vietnam era veteran who served as an Arabic Linguist and a Field Artillery Officer. He has a Master of Regional and City Planning (MURP) and a PhD in Urban Geography with research in Urban Hydrology from the University of Oklahoma.



Denise Grabowski, AICP, LEEDAP, launched Symbioscity as a reflection of her own personal and professional interests in the relationships between the built and natural environments. Denise works with a variety of clients on projects such as community master plans, mixed use developments, redevelopment plans, local government consultation, and public participation. She has presented at several national and regional conferences on smart growth and sustainable development, including the American Planning Association and the National League of Cities.

Denise is active with many community and professional organizations. She serves on the national U.S. Green Building Council Board of Directors and is a previous member of the Georgia Planning Association Board of Directors. Denise is a co-founder of Designing4Health, a collaboration of diverse professionals working to increase the understanding between public health and community design. Locally, she is serves on the Design Review Council, SCAD Architecture and Urban Design; Savannah State University Urban Studies and Planning External Advisory Committee; Community Council for Savannah Technical College; and is a member of the Metropolitan Savannah Rotary.

Denise has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Furman University and a Master of City Planning from Georgia Tech. She is a graduate of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership (IGEL) and Leadership Savannah. In 2009, she was named to Georgia Trend’s “Top 40 Under 40: Georgia’s Best and Brightest" list.



Dr. Otilia Iancu is an Assistant Professor of Public Administration at Savannah State University.  Her research interests include public policy diffusion, nonprofit management, and the use of social media in public administration.  Iancu earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Kansas and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Arkansas.  Iancu, a native of Romania, formerly served as the Head of International Relations and European Union Programs for the City of Iasi, Romania.


Dr. Otis Johnson is currently a scholar-in-residence at Savannah State University since February 2012 after serving eight years as the 64th Mayor of the city of Savannah, Georgia.  He was elected to the position in 2003 and reelected in 2007.  He ended his second term on December 31, 2011. He was prohibited from running for a third four year term because of a term limit law.  While mayor, Dr. Johnson provided leadership for the creation of Step Up Savannah, Inc., a poverty reduction initiative, and Healthy Savannah, an initiative that promotes healthy lifestyles.

Dr. Johnson has devoted his professional career to making conditions better for low wealth families in Savannah and the South.  He worked for the Economic Opportunity Authority and the Model Cities Program before he began teaching at Savannah State University in 1971.  Dr. Johnson was elected to the Savannah City Council in 1982 and reelected in 1986.  He resigned from the City Council and a tenured faculty position at Savannah State University in 1988 to become Executive Director of the Annie E. Casey Foundation supported Chatham Savannah Youth Futures Authority. The Youth Futures Authority is a collaborative of organizations that work with children and families that need help.  Dr. Johnson returned to Savannah State University in 1998 as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and was elected, without opposition, to a four-year term on the Savannah Chatham County Board of Public Education.  Dr. Johnson retired from Savannah State University in 2002 and did not run for reelection to the Board of Education in order to prepare for his campaign for mayor.

Dr. Johnson was a member of the National League of Cities (NLC) Council on Youth, Education and Families during his eight years as mayor and chaired the Council in 2009.  He served on the board of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation and the Georgia Municipal Association.  Johnson was a founding member of the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Comprehensive Community Initiatives in 1992 and the National Community Building Network in 1993. He was a member of the founding board of directors of the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (G-CAPP) in 1995.  He founded the Neighborhood Improvement Association (NIA), a local community development corporation, in Savannah in 1996. .  He has served on numerous state and national advisory and study groups on school and social service reform, community building, and youth development.

Dr. Johnson currently serves on the boards of MDC, Inc. in Durham, NC, the Harris Neck Land Trust, McIntosh County, GA, Step Up Savannah, Inc., Healthy Savannah, Coastal Georgia Indicators Coalition and George Lyle Visions in Savannah. Dr. Johnson earned degrees from Armstrong Atlantic University (A.A. 1964), University of Georgia A.B. 1967), Clark Atlanta University (M.S.W. 1969) and Brandeis University (Ph.D. 1980). 



LaMeisha Hunter Kelly has worked in Planning, Zoning, and Community Development since 1999, for the Cities of Statesboro and Hinesville, and Effingham County, GA.  Since January 2007, Ms. Kelly has served as City Planner/Director of Building and Zoning for the City of Rincon, GA.  In this capacity, she is responsible for the licensing of businesses and alcohol, the bidding of projects, equipment, and vehicles, comprehensive land use planning, residential and commercial development, the management of capital projects, annexation, grant writing, and special projects for the City Council and City Manager. 

Under Ms. Kelly’s leadership, the City of Rincon has revised the entire Zoning Ordinance, completed Phase One of a multi-year, five-phase Master Plan to upgrade water and sewer services within the City, established an electronic database of the City’s infrastructure, and they are currently updating all of the city’s ordinances. She earned her B.A. in Political Science (1997) and Master in Public Administration (2000) from Georgia Southern University.



Kevin Klinkenberg is the executive director of the Savannah Development and Renewal Authority. For more than twenty years Kevin has worked as a professional architect and planner. Ten of those years he was a co-founder of 180 Urban Design & Architecture in Kansas City, which worked on projects in 27 states for all manner of public and private clients. In 2010, Kevin created a new company called K2 Urban Design, based in Savannah, GA and worked in that arena for four years, before taking his current position with Savannah Development and Renewal Authority. From the beginning, he has focused his energies on those who aim for successful walkable and sociable places.


Paula Kreissler is Director of Healthy Living & Community Development for Healthy Savannah and the YMCA of Coastal Georgia. Paula manages the Healthcare Georgia Foundation Childhood Obesity Prevention Program Grant for Healthy Savannah. She is a founding member of the Chatham County-Savannah Food Policy Council. Paula is founder and President of the Wound Care Clinic-ESU, Inc. and has deep involvement in local health advocacy efforts. Paula retired from FedEx with twenty-five years' experience in Air and Ground Operations Management. She holds an MBA in Sustainable Business from Marylhurst University. Paula is a Certified Public Accountant and a LEED Green Associate.



Dr. Michael D. Meyer is a recognized national expert in transportation planning and policy. Dr. Meyer was a professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech for 25 years, where he served as Director of the Georgia Transportation Institute for eight years. He was Director of Transportation Planning and Development for Massachusetts for five years, responsible for statewide planning, project development, traffic engineering, and transportation research. Dr. Meyer was also a professor in Civil Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Meyer’s interests include transportation engineering, transportation planning, environmental impact assessment, policy analysis, public works finance, public transportation, climate change, and engineering management. He has published numerous books, chapters, and articles on infrastructure planning and policy, including the college textbook for McGraw Hill entitled Urban Transportation Planning: A Decision Oriented Approach. He is an active member of Transportation Research Board, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Planning Association, and Institute of Transportation Engineers, among other professional societies.



Dr. La Rhonda Odom is an instructor in the Department of Political Science and Public Affairs at Savannah State University. She is a scholar-activist and has taught in the areas of community development, urban planning, collective (community) decision-making, and community led planning projects. She has written and presented papers on Black Church/ Black College Community Development Corporations, Community Development, and Workforce Development.

As an activist, La Rhonda as worked for ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) as a community organizer, for ACLU of Florida in the areas of racial justice and voting rights and presently as deputy director for FANM/Haitian Women of Miami, Inc. She is a leader with Take Back the Land-Miami, a member A. Philip Randolph Institute, and volunteers with other local grassroots community based organizations.

La Rhonda is very committed to fighting for social and economic justice and human rights for all people who have been treated unjustly. Just a few of the issues La Rhonda has worked on include fighting predatory home loan lenders, fighting for the living wage, paid sick days, and health care, advocating for fair funding for HIV/AIDS Programs in Mississippi, advocating for felon re-enfranchisement in Florida, organizing observations of police conduct, public education on voting rights, advocating for safe, descent, affordable housing, immigration Reform, restorative Justice, and reproductive Justice and Gender Equality.

She was born in Chicago, Illinois but spent most of her life growing up in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Growing up in Mississippi, La Rhonda learned early about the importance of community action and political social movements from members of her family and her community who were involved in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.  Those who inspire her work include Fannie Lou Hamer, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and the women in her family. La Rhonda Odom possesses an undergraduate degree in Sociology/Social Work, Masters  in Secondary Education and Regional Planning and a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning.


Allynne Tosca Owens is a lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Public Affairs at Savannah State University (SSU).  She earned her BS degree in Criminal Justice/Sociology (1978) from SSU and MAURP (1986) from the University of Florida.  She has been active in the Savannah community; previously serving on the boards of directors for the King-Tisdell Cottage Foundation and SAFE Shelter.  She served as the City of Savannah’s lead staff on the West Savannah Revitalization Plan (WSRP 2005) and worked with Boston-based Goody, Clancy and Associates. 

In 2011, she served as the lead coordinator in collaboration with the King-Tisdell Foundation for a lecture by Dr. KwesiDeGraft-Hanson on Georgia’s largest slave sale (1859).  Ms. Owens’ involvement in documenting the history surrounding the 1859 event is included in an article by Mr. DeGraft Hanson in Southern Spaces.  Much of her professional and civic careers have involved working with groups and establishing collaborations.  Ms. Owens is a registered neutral with the Mediation Center of Savannah. In November 2014, she served as the moderator of a panel on the changing demographics in Georgia and its impact on state politics.


Sarah Rayfield is a senior planner with the Transport Studio, LLC in Savannah, GA. As a Planner, Ms. Rayfield has worked primarily in the public sector, often serving as in-house project manager, seeing that the community goals are represented in coordinating long range plans with development patterns and funding opportunities. She sits on the Board of Directors for the YMCA of Coastal Georgia, Habersham Branch, focusing volunteer efforts on improving access to healthy food and transportation choices.  Most recently, Ms. Rayfield established a Health and Wellness Committee as part of the regular PTA programs at a local elementary school, dedicating resources to efforts such as general health and wellness education, walk and bike to school events, and gathering baseline data to reduce barriers to healthy choices, reaching close to 1,000 families.



Whitney Shephard, PE, LEED AP, co-founded Transport Studio, a Savannah-based planning and engineering firm, in 2013.  She manages diverse projects for local and regional governments, non-profits, and private development firms. She has a technical focus on multimodal transportation, including active transportation, small transit systems, transportation and land-use Master Plans, travel demand, and advanced geographic information systems applications.  Her recent projects include food system needs assessments, active transportation strategic plans, complete streets policies, socioeconomic data analysis, transit plans, subarea master plans, and long-range transportation planning for metropolitan planning organizations.  

With seventeen years’ experience in planning and design, Whitney has focused on transportation planning and engineering for twelve years.  Whitney has worked in both the public and private sectors.  She holds bachelor’s degrees in architecture and civil engineering, and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Whitney serves on the Board of the Georgia Planning Association and chairs the GPA Mentor Program. She is a Founding Circle and Board member of Sustainativity. Whitney serves on the board of coastal empire Society of Women Engineers, an organization that promotes STEM education. She is an active volunteer for the Forsyth Famers Market, Savannah-Chatham Food Policy Council, and Healthy Savannah, all of which promote access to healthy food and physical activity in the Savannah metro area. She also serves on the Savannah State University Urban Studies and Planning Program External Advisory Committee.


Dr. Costas Spirou currently serves as Professor and Chair of the Department of Government and Sociology at Georgia College & State University, Georgia’s public liberal arts university.  His research interests center on political sociology, public policy and planning, urban affairs and governance, cultural strategies and social/economic metropolitan (re)development.  In addition, he has written about downtown revival, politics of stadiums and convention centers, urban tourism and sustainability as well as sport and society.

His upcoming book titled Mayor Richard M. Daley and the Rise of Chicago’s City of Spectacle is scheduled to be published by Cornell University Press (with D. Judd).  Other work includes the books Urban Tourism and Urban Change: Cities in a Global Economy (Routledge, 2011),  It’s Hardly Sportin’: Stadium, Neighborhoods and the New Chicago (Northern Illinois University Press, 2003) (with L. Bennett), articles in Urban Affairs ReviewInternational Journal of Urban and Regional ResearchSociological Imagination, Sport in Society, Society and Leisure, disp-The Planning Review and chapters in numerous academic volumes.


Tom Thomson, PE, AICP. is currently the executive director of the Chatham County – Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) and executive director of the Coastal Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (CORE MPO).  Thomson has almost 40 years of experience in planning, management and engineering.  He has directed programs and projects in roadway planning, public transportation, marketing, policy, engineering and community consensus building.  Mr. Thomson graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in civil engineering. 


Sarah Ward, AICP, LEED AP is the Preservation Principal for Ward Architecture, a firm focused on design and preservation through building assessment, rehabilitation, historic preservation tax credits, review of local and national preservation standards and guidelines, documentation and research. She has over 14 years of experience in historic preservation of cultural resources throughout the southeast United States, working with non-profits, government agencies, private firms, and as a consultant. Her experience with design review, the National Register of Historic Places, and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act provides a strong foundation for documentation and protection of historic properties and sensitive design approaches to infill and rehabilitation projects. 

Sarah’s experience and education exceed the National Park Service Professional Qualification Standards for historic preservation published in the Code of Federal Regulations, 36 CFR Part 61. Ms. Ward also co-authored the chapter on Historic Preservation for the fifth edition of the Handbook for Georgia Mayors and Councilmembers with Malik Watkins of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government.