Conferences And Public Speaking

2015 Northeast Region American Planning Association Conference - "Getting Ahead of the Future", Saratoga Springs, New York - June 2015.

  • Making Place in the Seasonal Economy: Planning and Economic Development in the Adirondacks and Cape Cod. Evolving market and economic forces in the seasonal economy are impacting planning and economic development throughout Cape Cod and the Adirondacks. A roundtable panel will discuss key regional trends in housing, workforce, transportation, and natural resources, and ask the audience to brainstorm solutions to "case study" planning challenges. Margaret will present the recently completed ADVANTAGE Adirondacks: Enhancing Economic Opportunities across the Adirondack Park. Conducted with James Stevens and Thomas J Martin from ConsultEcon and Jo Anne Miller Buntich and Elizabeth Jenkins from the Cape Cod Commission.

  • Flowing Fast: Preparing Planners to Provide Early Post-Disaster Support. Case studying Prattsville NY, using self and peer assessment tools, River Street's Margaret Irwin and Monica Ryan led a workshop to help planners identify the personal styles, skills and engagement techniques to support and move communities to a resilient future. Presenters, designers, and community leaders will share successful tools including workshops, charrettes, surveys, walk-and–talks, interviews, and community led work groups. Conducted with Ian Law, RLA, ASLA from Place Alliance; Karl Heck from Greene County Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Planning; and Kristin Tompkins, Town Board Member, Town of Prattsville.

Adirondack Park Agency Local Government Day Conference - Lake Placid New York – April 2015, 2014, 2013

Lessons Learned: ADVANTAGE Adirondacks: Advancing Economic Opportunities Across the Adirondack Park. For the past three years, Margaret has been a keynote speaker and panel member at the Adirondack Park Agency's annual Local Government Day conference. In 2015 she spoke about Lessons Learned from ADVANTAGE Adirondacks and introduced the Adirondack Trail Towns Initiative – a program to redefine the definition of "recreation" in the Park. Building on the rich array of outdoor trails and destinations, the Trail Towns program integrates thematic amenities, creating an integrated trail network of sports as well as arts, cultural, heritage, performance, food, agriculture and wellness trails among others, stretching visitor spending and investment into the smaller communities across the Park.

Catskills Watershed Summit: Rebuilding Communities - Greene County Soil and Water Conservation Department, Hunter New York - January 2015

Sidney GreenPlain: Saving a Community with Green Infrastructure. This presentation focused on community re-investment that compliments mitigation measures and shows what is possible when community visioning and planning happens immediately following early relief. Margaret spoke about approaches used in Prattsville and Sidney New York which organizers identified 5s models for vision driven implementation projects focusing on the Sidney GreenPlain, the LEED-ND Riverlea Sustainable Neighborhood and the Prattsville Town Common project including development of a health center, senior housing and community center, high and dry above the Prattsville hamlet. Margaret presented as a panel member with Nicholas Pinter, a geology professor at Southern Illinois University, who has led post tornado and post flood relocation projects in the mid-west and spoke about international approaches to hazard mitigation.

Adirondack Common Ground Alliance - Long Lake, New York – July 2015 and 2014

ADVANTAGE Adirondacks: Advancing Economic Opportunities across the Adirondack Park and Strategic Planning for the Adirondack Trail Towns Initiative. In 2015 Margaret facilitated a work group developing a strategic Plan for the Adirondacks Trail Towns Imitative – an effort to integrate art, cultural and heritage resources into the Adirondack Park's recreation-based tourism economy. In 2014, Margaret presented the new economic development strategy for the 102 communities in New York's 6 million acre Adirondack Park. The presentation built on the entrepreneurial "people and place-based" economy and strategies to reinvent hamlets, encourage small businesses, support the Park's legacy industries in wood products and agriculture and establish the Adirondacks as a world class tourism destination, focused on targeting millennial visitors.

The Environmental Clearinghouse (ECOS) Conference: CLIMATE CHANGE: ADAPTATION & BUILDING RESILIENCY IN OUR COMMUNITIES, Schenectady, New York - January 2014

Perspectives on Land Use Planning and Resiliency. Margaret presented the Sidney GreenPlain project which is an emerging national model for floodplain enhancement using intensive Green infrastructure. The project involved buyout of nearly 150 structures and construction of a 140 acre "GreenPlain" that will naturally mitigate flooding while providing a regional amenity for resiliency education and entertainment. Sidney is a small Village along the Susquehanna River in New York's Southern Tier that was devastated by 500-year floods twice in five years, most recently by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011. Presented as part of a panel with Mark Lowery, Climate Policy Analyst, NYS DEC; Peter Fleischer, Executive Director, Empire State Future; Rocco Ferraro, Executive Director, CDRPC and Nan Stolzenburg, Community Planning and Environmental Associates.


River Street Planning & Development
4 Ridge Road
Troy, New York 12180

Phone: 518.273.8980


About River Street

River Street Planning & Development, LLC is a NYS Certified Woman Business Enterprise owned by Margaret Irwin, formed in 1997 with offices in Troy, New York. The company employs five staff members and provides services to a diverse group of organizations including Federal, state, county, and municipal governments of all sizes, public agencies, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, universities, investors and developers in the northeastern United States.  Services offered include public meeting planning and facilitation, focus groups, mediation, economic development, downtown and Main Street revitalization, design and administration of small business support programs, land use planning, zoning, historic preservation, and housing and commercial market analysis. River Street specializes in facilitating community engagement and identifying a consensus vision that can be shared and supported by diverse stakeholders. We offer an effective, outcome-oriented approach that builds consensus and community capacity, strengthens local leadership and shapes community pride and vision –  vital ingredients for successful community action.

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