2014 APA California Conference in the Happiest Place on Earth

This year’s California American Planning Association conference convened at Disneyland and covered some innovative environmental, active transportation, and park plans and programs, including Disney’s own green practices, writes planner Clement Lau.

2 minute read

October 10, 2014, 8:00 AM PDT

By melaniecj

The recent APA California conference wasn’t just an opportunity to meet at Disneyland, which is billed as "the happiest place on earth."

The gathering of those who help chart a course for the cities they serve was a chance to learn about what planners at the amusement park and communities throughout California are doing to promote urban greening, according to Lau.

Lau gives some key highlights from the conference, which included Disneyland's own use of compressed natural gas and biodiesel to fuel some of its rides.

"As part of the original design of Disneyland in 1955, two-thirds of the storm drains flow to one of a number of connected waterways: the Rivers of America, Storybook Land canals, the castle moat, Carnation Creek, and the Jungle Cruise.  This system retains a great deal of storm water while providing natural biological treatment."

Lau summarizes several conference sessions on creative strategies for greening urban communities. For example, he discusses how Anaheim is trying to bolster pedestrian and bicyclist use of recreational trails and other areas through its Outdoors Connectivity Plan.

"The Plan recommends not only increasing recreation and mobility opportunities along the river, but also contributing to the completion of the Santa Ana River Trail and Parkway.  The City of Anaheim has created a very informative website and a catchy slogan 'Anaheim Outdoors: It's Your Backyard' which promotes greater stewardship of the community by residents."

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