Field Trips

National Meeting participants will have a chance to explore Columbus during the conference. A set of nine concurrent field trips will be offered on the afternoon of Wednesday, September 28, but you’ll choose just one! Sign up for your field trip of choice.

Here’s where the trips are headed:

Field Trip 1: Paddle & Pedal

Sponsored by: MKSK
**Weather dependent — Limited to 20 participants (10 bike & 10 paddle). Approximate round trip miles 2.0.

Engage in the Columbus active urban lifestyle—by biking and/or paddling–your way to the best views of the city. Explore more than 150 acres of urban oasis, bike trails and lanes, looping your way through the heart of the city. Public-private partnerships bring to life these amenities connecting neighborhoods, natural assets, and the built environment. Access the nation’s largest outdoor free climbing wall, a cross-fit obstacle course, an urban Audubon Center oasis, fountains, public art, and more.

Field Trip 2: Arts & Smarts: The Discovery District

Tour limited to 50 participants. Approximate total walking: 1.0 miles.

Creativity abounds within the Discovery District, home to Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus State Community College, the Columbus Museum of Art, and the main branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library. Beyond education, these assets play an important role in economic development, tourism, and fostering the creative communities of Columbus. Visit CCAD to learn of the innovative and important work of students and learn about alumni who have gone on to work for big-name companies and start their own businesses; CSCC to learn of 21st century workforce development strategies; and tour the Museum and Library’s recently reopened and reimagined renovations and expansions–while hearing from all of those institution’s leaders on what being an Opportunity City means.

Please note: This is rain or shine. Please bring an umbrella.

Field Trip 3: Downtown: Small Tactics for Addressing Big Issues

Approximate total walking: 3 miles.

Each city tackles a unique set of challenges, requiring creative thinkers and home-grown solutions. This tour will focus on cost-effective, holistic and practical approaches to disorder and crime, parking shortages, and the absence of retail stores. Learn about innovative ways a downtown community addresses disorder when enforcement alone will not work. Hear a presentation on an effort to provide free transit to downtown employees as a solution to parking shortages. Participate in a discussion about a program to nurture urban retail in the wake of suburban big box developments and the death of a downtown mall. You will meet with the staff of two, downtown special improvement districts, Capital Crossroads and Discovery, who sometimes defy conventional wisdom to solve problems.

Field Trip 4: Moving Franklinton Forward

Approximate total walking: 2.5 miles.

Franklinton, a neighborhood engulfed by a legacy of devastating floods and plagued by intense poverty, is in the midst of massive change, thanks  – in part – to a revitalized riverfront, an evolving eastern edge, and an overall market shift that is being felt across the city of Columbus. A long way from finished, Franklinton is the oldest settlement in the city, and it finds itself, for the first time, looking towards a future that doesn’t seem predetermined by the inevitability of natural disaster or by the geographic boundaries of an overbearing river. And while these changes are a net positive for the neighborhood, there is still much work to be done. Come and tour some of the exciting new growth, while hearing from community members, business owners, and organizational leaders. On this tour you will get a firsthand look at the world’s largest Makerspace (The Columbus Idea Foundry), one of most innovative arts reuses in the country (400 W Rich), and an artist-led gallery/community space (The Vanderelli Room). You will meet with directors of community organizations such as the Franklinton Development Association, who have been focused on delivering housing solutions to the western part of the neighborhood for over 23 years, and with individuals who have been vital to shifting the tone, both physically and perceptional, over the last decade.

Please note: This is rain or shine. Please bring an umbrella.

Field Trip 5: Global Columbus: Home to the New American

Limited to 50 participants.

The Columbus region has had consistent growth in receiving immigrants and refugees, which mirror national trends in regards to racial diversity. Between 2011 and 2012 the net international migration accounted for 25 percent of population growth in the metro area. As a result of this phenomenon, Columbus is experiencing increased cultural vibrancy, economic vitality, and the renewal of blighted neighborhoods.

Come explore an experiential journey and meet with local and regional community leaders to learn more about how global connectivity provides economic, social, and cultural impact to our city—and why Immigrants and refugees choose Columbus to live, work, and raise a family.  Presenting will be representatives from the immigrant and refugee resettlement organization CRIS, discussions on the economic impact of immigrant populations from WE Global Network, and a case for support on bridging the worlds of academics/business/people through the importance of trainings in global fluency by Columbus Council on World Affairs. The tour will also include a visit to the Global Mall, housing dozens of entrepreneurs, largely from African nations


Field Trip 6: River South District

Approximate total walking: 2.5 miles.

It’s been said that there’s nothing wrong with change — as long as it’s in the right direction. And for Columbus, the right direction is where Downtown is headed.. Thanks to the leadership, facilitation and advocacy of Columbus Downtown Development Corporation (CDDC) and Capitol South Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation (Capitol South), many new city-changing projects have been completed, with more coming online every day.

RiverSouth is a neighborhood that highlights this downtown renaissance. A decade ago, the 25 blocks that constitute RiverSouth was an abandoned sea of surface parking lots and empty buildings, a one million square foot mall in decline, and an underutilized riverfront that was more of a detriment than an asset. Key investments by the City and the private sector in public amenities like The Scioto Mile, Scioto Greenways, and Columbus Commons transformed desolate grayfields into vibrant greenspaces. These public investments proved to be catalytic, as the private sector has since contributed additional investments of almost $400 million in commercial, residential and office buildings—completed or in-progress.

Join Guy Worley, President and CEO of CDDC and Capitol South, as he guides attendees through the RiverSouth neighborhood highlighting these investments. Attendees will explore:

The Lazarus Building, a former flagship department store that rose from the ashes to become one of the largest commercial and retail buildings in central Ohio; Columbus Commons, a fully programmed public park with nearly 250 events annually, complete with performance pavilion and hand-carved carousel;; The Scioto Mile, a riverfront promenade with world-class fountain; The Scioto Greenways along the Scioto Mile, 33 new acres of reclaimed greenspace resulting from a 2-year river restoration project

Please note: This is rain or shine. Please bring an umbrella.

Field Trip 7: Short North Arts District: The Art & Soul of Columbus

Approximate total walking: 3 miles.

Experience the stunning transformation of one of the country’s most vibrant arts districts by joining Betsy Pandora, Executive Director of the Short North Alliance on a bus and walking tour. Learn about key projects that were instrumental in the revitalization of High Street in the Columbus Short North neighborhood while hearing first-hand about best practices from entrepreneurial retailers, gallery directors, and cultural leaders in the Short North Arts District. Get a preview of key developments, public art, and other improvement projects planned for the future. An additional tour highlight will be a visit to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream for a taste, and will conclude at the neighborhood’s newest visual arts institution, the Pizzuti Collection. 

Please note: This is rain or shine. Please bring an umbrella.

Field Trip 8: 250 South High: The Future of Mixed Use

This tour is eligible for 1 Credit of AIA continuing learning
Sponsored by: NBBJ
Hosted by: Jim Weiker,
Real Estate and Housing Journalist, the Columbus Dispatch
Panelists; Brett Kaufman, Founder and CEO, Kaufman Development; Mackenzie King, Director, Design Research & Insight Translation, Lextant; Daniel Ayars, Principal, NBBJ
Approximate total walking: 2.5 miles.

Around the world, commercial developments are being shaped by demands for flexible, open-plan workspaces; expanded amenity packages; and spaces that meet the preferences of the Millennials that make up 40% of the world population. How will mixed-use developments change to meet these needs in the coming years?
Participate in a tour of one of the newest buildings in Columbus, building upon global best practices. Tour new residential, commercial, and rooftop spaces that make 250 South High an impressive mixed-use ecosystem. The fieldtrip will include with a reception and panel featuring the developer and current building anchors discussing the need to smartly designed mixed-use structures.

Please note: This is rain or shine. Please bring an umbrella.

Field Trip 9: Weinland Park: A Neighborhood of Today

Limit 25 participants. Approximate total walking: 1 mile.

After decades of disinvestment and population loss, Weinland Park, a neighborhood of 4,500 residents immediately southeast of The Ohio State University, is now experiencing the benefits of a major public-private partnership that began over 20 years ago. Weinland Park has long held a distinction of being a mixed-income, mixed-race neighborhood, but starting in the 1980’s the neighborhood began to show significant signs of stress due to gang violence and a concentration of poorly managed low-income housing. Since 2009, over 550 units of housing have been newly built, renovated, or repaired with the majority of these units offering a subsidy to the renters or buyers. Currently, over 1,000 housing units are under construction (or proposed) for this small Columbus neighborhood of only 0.36 square miles. These efforts have used an asset-based community development model that has includes efforts aimed at improving housing, health, education, employment, youth development, resident engagement and safety. Weinland Park is soon becoming a national model of neighborhood revitalization without significant displacement of existing residents. Can this success for existing residents be maintained as the neighborhood continues to improve? Join Michael Wilkos, The Columbus Foundation’s Director of Community Research and Weinland Park resident for 8 years, on a walking tour of the neighborhood to learn more.

Please note: This is rain or shine. Please bring an umbrella.