Advancing Knowledge

Karen Walz contributes to the best practices in community growth and vitality by participating in academic and research institute sessions, and by teaching other professionals who will improve their own communities.

APA: Climate Change

In 2007, the American Planning Association decided to create a “Policy Guide” on climate change, which will serve as the policy direction for the organization as it communicates with federal and state legislatures, and for planners nationwide as they work with communities and clients.  Ms. Walz was asked to serve on the Steering Committee for this effort and to Co-Chair the task force developing recommendations related to Land Use.

After developing the land use section of this policy draft, Ms. Walz was one of the small team of leaders who reviewed, revised and edited the overall document.  This Policy Guide was supported by the APA Delegate Assembly and adopted by the national APA Board of Directors in April 2008.

APA: Planning for Sustaining Places

The APA has had a multi-year effort to consider the ways in which comprehensive plans can contribute to the creating of lasting or sustaining places.  Ms. Walz served on the task force APA convened to develop a set of recommendations for ‘Planning for Sustaining Places’, guiding cities seeking to include sustainability in their comprehensive plans. Following the APA Board’s support of these recommendations, Ms. Walz participated in working groups that developed and tested a set of standards for planning principles, processes and attributes that describe plans for sustaining places.  As part of the group working on this project, Ms. Walz was a leader in ‘deep dive’ sessions at national conferences that tested out the evolving recommendations.  These standards are now the basis for a voluntary recognition program for communities.

University of Kansas

Ms. Walz taught Alternative Methods of Dispute Resolution in the University of Kansas Graduate Program on Urban Planning in 1991 and 1993.  The course was designed to give planners and public administrators the practical skills in negotiating, dispute resolution and consensus-building that are essential to constructive action on public policy issues.

University of Texas, Arlington

Ms. Walz participated on the keynote panel for the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs session’s 2016 Building Science Expo.  The panel addressed “The Growth of North Texas: A Defining Opportunity”.

University of Texas, Austin

Ms. Walz served as a panelist for the 2003 symposium “The Future of Texas City-Regions” sponsored by the School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin.

University of Wisconsin

Karen Walz FAICP was a lecturer for the University of Wisconsin’s 1996 Planning and Zoning for Community Land-Use Management Institute, presented in Charlotte, North Carolina; Madison, Wisconsin; and Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Her session addressed “Effective Planning for Changing Communities: A Look at Traditional and Strategic Comprehensive Planning Techniques”.

Collin County Community College District, Texas

Strategic Community Solutions LLC presented a key session at the 2006 Collin County Economic Summit focused on the issues facing ‘aging’ suburban communities and strategies to respond to the underlying economic issues.

EcoIQ Quarterly

Ms. Walz is a Contributing Editor to the EcoIQ Quarterly, an online magazine focused on strategies for sustainable communities (  Her research, featured as a series in this magazine, focuses on the characteristics of livable cities for the 21st century.  By comparing major postwar U.S. cities with older major cities, and examining the programs the postwar cities use to address their community’s issues, this research project identified implementation strategies (regulatory, financial, community-based, public and private sector) for use by other growing cities nationwide. Four articles were published in this series.

Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois

Ms. Walz was invited by the School of Applied Sciences and Technology and the Student Environmental Health Association to be the Keynote Speaker for the University’s Earth Day 2004 celebration, as well as the first Featured Speaker for Science and Technology Week.  Her presentations, to university students, faculty and the Normal community, focused on “Sustainable Development”.

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy/Sonoran Institute Joint Venture

The Joint Venture invited Ms. Walz to participate in a national working conference addressing climate change in February 2008.  As part of a small group of leaders in the community of researchers and practitioners, Ms. Walz presented information and participated in discussions on the relationship between land use and climate change, emerging research and best practices in this field.

National Association for Olmsted Parks

Ms. Walz was a speaker at the 2013 symposium “Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.’s Lasting Legacy: Parks, Planning and Practice.  Sponsored by the National Association for Olmsted Parks and held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., this symposium brought together practitioners and academics from around the country to consider how Olmsted’s legacy is reflected in current plans and programs.  Ms. Walz served on the panel discussing ‘The Politics of Planning’.

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

In 1997, Ms. Walz was a speaker for the Charles & Shirley Weiss Urban Livability Symposium on Sustainable Development at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, addressing “Sustainability for an Urban Community”.