For Immediate Release: August 17, 2022

Kate Maynard, AICP
Director of Planning and Economic Development
Capital District Regional Planning Commission (CDRPC)

Students bike, explore and taste their way through The Future Leaders in Planning (FLIP) summer program

(Albany, NY) Capital District Regional Planning Commission (CDRPC) hosted a group of high school students from around the Capital Region August 8th-12th during a weeklong immersive program called the Future Leaders in Planning (FLIP) Program. Through hands-on experiences and face-to-face dialogue with community leaders from around the region, students explored and gained a deeper understanding of planning topics ranging from design, sustainability, agriculture, transportation, equity and environmental protection.

Throughout the week, students engaged with community leaders such as Commissioner Jason Golub of the City of Saratoga Springs, Travon Jackson of BlueLight Development in South End of Albany and were immersed in planning by exploring the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, and the cities of Troy and Saratoga Springs.  The week culminated with students applying what they learned to a real-world project site through the development of a conceptual site plan which was presented to a panel of local experts in the field.

Kate Maynard, AICP, CDRPC’s Director of Planning and Economic Development and creator of FLIP notes “FLIP is an action-packed week that allows students to be curious and explore answers to questions like how does a project get built in my community? Why is it so important to be aware and involved in Planning? What are ways other than a car that I can move around the region? It’s also a lot of fun where we complete a walking tour in Troy, ride CDPHP bikeshare bikes, taste produce from Pitney Meadows Community Farm in Saratoga, and fly drones in Albany’s South End. Kids are learning by doing.”

Mark Castiglione, AICP, CDRPC’s Executive Director notes, “There is no other program like FLIP in the Capital Region. Especially with the partnership of University at Albany Geography and Planning faculty and students, we are shining a light on the planning field and related professions for students as they consider career paths and civic leadership roles in the future. We know that students don’t typically learn about how planning shapes the world in high school so this program provides an early introduction to these career paths before they enter college. We also see this program as playing a part early on to provide students with further reasons they should stay and be a part of the Capital Region after they graduate from school.”

This year’s FLIP program was provided at no charge to students through the generous support of our sponsors including, the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA), the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC), the University at Albany’s Department of Geography and Planning Department, and the counties of Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady which created and provide financial backing to CDRPC.

“We were thrilled to help support this year’s FLIP program,” said CDTA CEO Carm Basile. “The future of our region not only depends on planning for what to build and how we move around, but it also depends on cultivating the next generation of leaders who will be critical in making important planning decisions for the future for our region.”

This year’s FLIP program would also not have been possible without the support and participation of our many partners including the Ballston Spa School District’s Clean Tech Early College High School (a NYS P-TECH Program), University at Albany ETEC, City of Troy, City of Saratoga Springs, Albany Pine Bush Preserve, Pitney Meadows Community Farm, BlueLight Development, African American Cultural Center, and the Future of Small Cities Institute’s FOCUS Lab.

David Lewis, Director of Urban Studies and Planning at University at Albany says, “FLIP continues to grow stronger with expanding partnerships in the educational community at various high schools across the region and now UAlbany’s Master in Regional Planning Program.  The program offers engaging field trips that pique student interest in sustainability, environmental justice, mobility access, as well as public participation in planning. We look forward to continued expansion into more high schools in coming years.

Adrienne Snow, Administrator of Clean Tech notes, “It has been great to see how FLIP has evolved over the last few years to expand opportunities for students to engage with peers, government officials and planners.  Students are being given the opportunity to explore our region and understand how cities are made and redeveloped.  We look forward to continuing this partnership in the future.”

More information on the FLIP program is available at Interest for FLIP 2023’s program can be directed to:

FLIP – Full Gallery – Photo Credit: Maria Covey

FLIP – Selected Photos – Photo Credit: Maria Covey


The Capital District Regional Planning Commission (CDRPC) provides objective analysis of data, trends, helping to identify opportunities and challenges. Established and is funded, in part, by Albany, Rensselaer, and Saratoga and Schenectady Counties, CDRPC provides technical assistance and facilitates partnerships to address regional problems.