Place Branding & Placemaking Summit

Join IDA and Downtown Huntsville, Inc. for the 2019 Place Branding & Placemaking Summit May 15-17, 2019 in Downtown Huntsville, AL — America’s Space & Rocket City. Hear Master Talks from experts discussing place branding and placemaking in downtowns and other urban districts. Interactive sessions will allow attendees to engage in hands-on creative placemaking experiences as well as develop place branding campaigns in real time.

Attend the Event

The 2019 Place Branding & Placemaking Summit will be held at the AC Hotel Huntsville Downtown located at 435 Williams Ave SW, Huntsville, AL 35801 and at various locations throughout downtown Huntsville.

Online registration is now closed for the 2019 Place Branding & Placemaking Summit. You can register onsite in Huntsville May 15-16, 2019 at the AC Hotel Huntsville Downtown (second floor) located at 435 Williams Ave SW, Huntsville, AL 35801. The onsite registration rate is $225.

Registration Hours:
•Wednesday, May 15: 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
•Thursday, May 16: 7:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.  
For further information or assistance, please email the IDA registration team at


The Program

View the program (please note, the program is subject to change).

Get social! What questions will you come ready to ask? Share them on Twitter using #IDAPlace19.

2019 Master Talks 

Conrad Benner, Founder,
Conrad Benner is a curator, podcaster, and founder of, a photo-blog that discovers art on the streets of Philadelphia. Conrad’s blog has been named one of the ‘Best Blogs for Travellers’ by The Guardian, and his photography highlighted by Mashable and published in Time Magazine and the Encyclopedia Britannica. Winner of the 2011 Philadelphia Geek Award for ‘Geek Culture Journalism,’ Conrad was named ‘Best Art Curator’ in 2014 by Philadelphia Magazine, ‘Rad Guy of the Year’ at the 3rd Annual Rad Awards in 2017, and one of ‘The 100 Most Influential People in Philadelphia’ by Philadelphia Magazine in 2017.



Kiara Boone, Deputy Director of Community Education, Equal Justice Initiative
Kiara Boone, Deputy Director of Community Education, earned a degree in Political Science from Davidson College in 2011 and a nonprofit management executive certificate from Georgetown University in 2012. Prior to joining EJI, she worked with the National Coalition for the Homeless in Washington, DC, and managed support for community development in Florida for the Jessie Ball duPont Fund.



Kate Durio, Assistant to the Mayor-President, CREATE Initiative
Kate Durio is an Assistant to Mayor-President, Joel Robideaux in Lafayette, Louisiana for the CREATE Initiative announced in 2017. CREATE, representing Culture, Recreation, Entertainment, Arts, Tourism, and Economy, is a comprehensive strategy to infuse creativity and cultural innovation into all city-parish efforts. In addition to CREATE, Kate works with the Mayor-President to improve downtown, transportation and public spaces. Her program, Creativity Everywhere, won the Award of Excellence from IDA and the Louisiana Cultural District of the year in 2014. Kate is on several boards and also co-founded ReCover Acadiana to tackle beautification and blight projects through collaboration or rogue action. She enjoys working to empower local neighborhoods because she believes we should all do what we can, where we can, starting on our own block.


Nick Lasater, Co-Owner & CEO, Rocket City Digital
Nick Lasater is a local to the North Alabama area, with more than 10 years of experience in content creating, branding and marketing. Nick has worked internationally with nonprofits and for-profits, providing videography and marketing services. Nick became the Co-Owner and CEO of Rocket City Digital in November 2017. Since then, Rocket City Digital has experienced growth of zero employees to more than 10 full-time employees, and was named the 2018 Emerging Business of the Year for Huntsville/Madison County. Rocket City Digital is the sole leader of the creative digital agency industry in North Alabama and works with an array of government and commercial clients.


Anna Lowder, Co-Founder, Matter Design Co.
Anna Lowder, and her husband Harvi Sahota, are the founders of Matter Design Co. Serving as equal parts designers, entrepreneurs, and New Urbanists, Anna and Harvi enjoy the task of creating a design solution for any challenge, believing that good design has the power to connect and foster relationships and change. They work under their guiding principle of “Building Community Through Design." In 2005, Anna and Harvi moved back to Anna’s hometown of Montgomery, AL, with the goal of making a long-lasting, positive impact on the community through design and development. The couple founded Matter Design Co. in 2011, a design firm focused on projects ranging from brand identity and marketing to events and spatial design. The firm has crafted the identity and vision of independent restaurants, mixed-use real estate developments, urban infill micro-sites, regional events, and national campaigns for brands and municipalities. Harvi oversees the creative design and direction for the company, while Anna oversees brand strategy and implementation.


Mike Lydon, Principal, Street Plans
Mike Lydon is a founding Principal of Street Plans, an urban planning, design, and research-advocacy firm. Mike is an internationally recognized planner, writer, speaker, and advocate for livable cities exerting a global influence on how people think about city transformation. NPR, The New York Times, CNN Headline News, ABC News, City Lab, Salon, Next City, Wired, and Streetsblog have featured his work, among many other publications. Mike is the creator and primary author of "The Open Streets Project" and the globally acclaimed digital series "Tactical Urbanism: Short-Term Action, Long-Term Change Vol. 1 – 5." He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and son, and encourages you to trade four wheels for two.


Rob Robinson, Managing Principal, Urban Design Associates
As chairman for Urban Design Associates since 2006, Rob Robinson has led UDA’s practice into broader national and international markets. He is committed to design processes that result in a shared vision for the future with innovative, yet practical strategies for implementation. Rob leads UDA teams in the design of urban districts, neighborhoods and new communities that reflect the unique qualities rooted in the cultural and geographic heritage of a place. Prior to joining UDA, Rob worked in urban housing development in Richmond, VA; as an architect with the Peace Corps in the West Indies; and as a disaster recovery consultant with INTERTECT, assisting aid agencies and nonprofit groups worldwide to develop sustainable approaches for rebuilding communities.


Josh Yeager, Co-Founder, Bright Brothers
Josh Yeager is a native Philadelphian and seasoned strategist with over 20 years in marketing, communications, and business consulting. Josh organized the Downtown Tempe Authority’s Marketing Symposium, completed seven terms on the Tempe Tourism Office’s Board of Directors, is a current member of, serves on the Design Advocacy Group’s (DAG) Historic Preservation Task Force in Philadelphia, is on the IDA Top Issues Council for Place Branding and is a frequent public speaker on marketing, events, activations and placemaking.

Pre-Conference Tours

Downtown Huntsville Creating Placemaking and Secret Art Walking Tour ($25)

Wednesday, May 15th | 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

This tour will be approximately two hours on foot with various stopping points.


Downtown Huntsville Bikeshare Tour ($50)

Wednesday, May 15th | 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

This tour will be approximately two hours on bike with various stopping points. Bikes will be provided.

Post-Conference Tour

Downtown Huntsville Adaptive Re-Use and Creative Placemaking Trolley Tour ($50)

Friday, May 17th | 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

This tour will include stops at nationally-recognized adaptive re-use projects including Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment, Campus No. 805, and Huntsville West. This tour will be approximately 2.5 hours via trolley with various stopping points.




The AC Hotel Huntsville Downtown, located at 435 Williams Ave SW, is offering a rate of $169/night plus tax. Click here to book your room online. You may also call the hotel at 256-836-7776 or email and reference the IDA Place Summit. The deadline to book your room is Wednesday, April 24, 2019.


IDA Logo

Huntsville logo


Urban Champion
Huntsville CVB      
District Advocates
DowntownDecorLogo        EcoCounterLogo       Geocentric      Huntsville Committee of 100     
Huntsville Downtown Redevelopment Authority
RCP Companies
Urban Design Associates  

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations received or postmarked by April 24, 2019 will receive a refund less a $100 processing fee. Refunds will be processed approximately 30 days after the event. Cancellations received after April 24, 2019 will not be refunded.


Sponsoring the Place Branding & Placemaking Summit allows you access to an audience of urban leaders from around the country who want to learn how your product or service can work for them. Download the 2019 Spring Sponsorship PDF to review sponsorship packages for the 2019 Place Branding & Placemaking Summit in Huntsville, AL. Contact Tracie Clemmer, IDA Director of Corporate Relations at for more information.


Interested in hosting a 2020 or 2021 event? Contact Carolyn Dellutri, IDA Director of Professional Development at