Events & Speaking Engagements

Future Planners Founder Aminah Ricks speaks about the value of engaging children in city planning considerations, design and process. Her extensive experience and multi-disciplinary approach to working with children of all ages in the practice of urban planning give her a unique perspective. She has spoken before groups of architects, planners, politicians, educators, and community groups. Her particular combination of professional training and personal passion make her a dynamic and authoritative voice on these issues.

Aminah is fluent in English and Italian and gives talks and runs workshops in both languages.

June 9, 2023
London Walking and Cycling Conference
Keynote Speaker

London, England

The annual London Walking and Cycling Conference, dating back to 2017 is returning to the Guildhall. Professionals, experts, academics, community groups and more will come together to explore how to support, encourage and develop walking and cycling as people’s main mode of transport.

Aminah Ricks will be speaking at the session Writing for Positive Change, based on her published book Mila & The Marvelous City, The Long Walk Home.

In recent years, there have been large improvements in supporting walking and cycling in London and across the world. Yet, there is still further to go, and therefore the theme for this year’s conference will be taking walking and cycling to the next level: the path to climate neutrality.

London Walking and Cycling conference

October 5 – October 7, 2022
10th Child in the City World Conference

Dublin, Ireland

The world conference, which takes place every two years, is a key opportunity for children’s professionals, city planners, social workers, academics, designers and policymakers to share knowledge, good practice and research findings from the various disciplines that are important to the shared aim of creating child-friendly cities. Creating dialogue is the most important aspect of the conference.

For this special edition of the Child in the City World Conference we have chosen the overarching theme of Making Connections. With this Dublin conference we aim to make connections between not only children and cities, but also different disciplines and professionals, including the connection between the physical and the social domain. Through our interdisciplinary approach we hope to bridge divides and open up new promising perspectives to make cities better places for children from all backgrounds.

Child in the City Conference website

September 7 – September 10, 2022
NACTO, Designing Cities Conference


Now in its tenth year, the NACTO Designing Cities Conference brings together nearly 1,000 officials, planners, and practitioners to advance the state of transportation in cities. 

Designing Streets for Kids Around the World
Streets for Kids is a program of the Global Designing Cities Initiative (GDCI), which works globally to advance safer streets for all people. Streets for Kids focuses on designing urban streets for children, caregivers, and families, recognizing that a street that is safe for children benefits everyone. The program works across twenty global cities to make streets safer and more inviting by reducing vehicular speeds, offering opportunities for unstructured and imaginative play, and creating space for children and caregivers to walk, cycle, scoot, and use transit.

In this session, we’ll share lessons learned on everything from selecting sites and implementing projects during the COVID-19 pandemic to working with various stakeholders and designing low-cost ways to turn gray into green, and unsafe and stressful into joy and play.

Workshop: Projects To Programs

Making the shift from project-by-project delivery to a programmatic framework is key.  In this interactive workshop we explore a practical roadmap for scaling up, identifying ways that cities can streamline and improve approaches to engagement, planning, delivery, and evaluation and helping chart a path for cities to go from building one-off transportation projects to developing programs that implement excellent projects, at scale – year after year. 

Participants will explore all parts of the project cycle – policy, planning, engagement, design, procurement, and implementation – with a focus on ways their cities can structure their teams and refine their processes to quickly and consistently implement high impact street plans.

NACTO conference website

July 12 – August 20, 2021
MoCADA, Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Art

Summer Youth Program – Virtual classes for students in NYC

Urban Planning 2

“Urban planning when done well, works to improve the lives of its residents. When done poorly, it can be used as a vehicle to divide and oppress.” Explore your neighborhood with Aminah Ricks of Future Planners, as she teaches you the basics of architecture and community development through the lens of social justice. Envision new possibilities to build up the block.

In this course, NYC based students will create a plan with clear goals on how to improve their community. The focus could be one building, a block, or an entire neighborhood. Through the learning of architectural vocabulary and concepts, students will be asked to not identify the ways they can bring their vision to life, they will also engage in various activities and games that will enable them to create a final model of the goal.

This free, six-week, virtual class will be offered on Mondays and Fridays.

Promotional video

MoCADA program description

July 12, 2021
Festival of Place, London, UK

Judge for Pineapple Awards

Category: Community Engagement

The Pineapples celebrate the best in place. We’re looking for developments that thrive, where people want to live, work, play, or learn. Looking to recognise projects that make a positive social impact.

Live judging 12 – 16 July, 2021 at the Festival of Place: The Pineapples – an online week-long celebration featuring excellence in making places.

See project Judge | Festival of Place, Pineapple Awards

October 8, 2020
American Planning Association Ohio

Inclusive Planning Panelist

Developing an Equitable and Inclusive Process

For the APA Ohio’s annual conference, over 400 planners from around the country deep dive into critical ideas that support a planning-led recovery and reinvention in our communities. Planners know the value of obtaining diverse perspectives while developing a plan. Traditional methods of community engagement include public meetings and surveys, but often those techniques don’t cultivate the diversity of perspectives needed to create the best possible plan.

This panel includes Future Planners and other practitioners from a variety of fields to discuss techniques for creating an equitable and inclusive planning process.

Conference agenda

September 30, 2020
Festival of Place, London, UK

Feedback Panelist

Radical Rethink

Presenting the three ideas selected as part of our Radical Rethink initiative for new ideas to change the way we make places for the better. We asked for ideas for a policy shift, design idea, product or process to improve our parks, roads, pavements, squares, rooftops, alleyways, back gardens, markets, high streets, etc. and make them more resilient and productive, ecological, promote health and wellbeing, increase a sense of agency or belonging, become educational, increase access or promote inclusivity.

In this session three ideas we selected and with the feedback they’re given from our expert panel:
Rebecca McDonald puts planning on the national curriculum
Zoë Berman and Roland Karthaus on a front doorstep commons
Christopher Arthey on “Gross Social Value: a new metric”

with reflections by

Aminah Ricks, Future Planners; Pamela Smith, National Trust, Cat Drew, Design Council, Jonny Anstead, TOWN and Romy Rawlings, Vestre

Webinar agenda

July 13 – August 19, 2020
MoCADA and the City of New York

Summer Youth Program – Virtual classes for students in the 5 boroughs of NYC

Design & Discover YOUR City

“Urban planning when done well, works to improve the lives of its residents. When done poorly, it can be used as a vehicle to divide and oppress. Explore your neighborhood with Aminah Ricks of Future Planners, as she teaches you the basics of architecture and community development through the lens of social justice. Envision new possibilities to build up the block.

In this course, NYC based students will create a plan with clear goals on how to improve their community. The focus could be one building, a block, or an entire neighborhood. Through the learning of architectural vocabulary and concepts, students will be asked to not identify the ways they can bring their vision to life, they will also engage in various activities and games that will enable them to create a final model of the goal.

This free, six-week, virtual class will be offered on Mondays and Wednesdays.”

Promotional video

MoCADA program description

February 16 – 18, 2020
Vienna, Austria

7th International Mayors’ Conference

Co-lead Workshop with Foundation Shtatëmbëdhjetë| “Restoring Buildings to Restore Communities”

Based on our project in Kosovo, ‘Fostering economic vitality through reuse and re-adapting of abandoned public facilities’, the workshop explores concrete ways to restore the vitality of abandoned buildings to serve as meeting spaces for city residents of all ages.

At the 7th NOW Conference „Space for Encounter – Overcoming Division“ Mayors, young citizens from all ways of life, community workers, innovative NGOs, renowned researchers and practitioners, social entrepreneurs and urban planners from the Middle East to Northern Europe will come together to work on how social cohesion and youth participation in wide-reaching decisions can be brought forward at the local level.

Television interview with Future Planners below:

November 27 – 29, 2019
European Network Child Friendly Cities
Bristol, England

Towards the Child Friendly City, Children’s Rights in the Built Environment International Conference

Parallel Talk | Child-friendly cities = Human friendly cities

As children take centre stage in the movement for sustainable living, this event will be an opportunity for the built environment sectors to show how they are responding. There will be an inspiring programme of speakers, workshops and field trips, each engaging with the most current issues for children’s rights in towns and cities.

The conference highlights the latest research, policy initiatives and practice innovations from the range of sectors impacting on children in the urban environment, including planning, traffic, transport, and housing, as well as play, youth, parks and leisure.

September 29 – October 2, 2019
Kamenica and Pristina, Kosovo

Consultation, Workshops, Public Talk

Ongoing consultation with the Mayor of Kamenica, city hall staff, Foundation Shtatëmbëdhjetë and the U.S. Embassy (the sponsor organization) along with other stakeholders. This area is challenged with low density and look to Future Planners to consult on tangible solutions by first leading workshops with the goal of developing a concrete plan on how to revive abandoned school buildings in the region, creating new centers of connectivity for local communities. The focus will be on implementing programs with child and family-friendly concepts.  Further, Future Planners lead workshops with children in Kamenica, outside the capital of Kosovo. The first week culminated with a public talk, in the capital of Pristina, to share concepts generated by Future Planners from children-centered urban planning programs conducted in both New York and Italy. Next steps include presenting this project to mayors from Europe, the Balkans, North Africa and the Middle East at the N.O.W International Mayor’s conference in Austria in February 2020.

July 31, 2019
Japan Women’s University
Tokyo, Japan


The Japan Women’s University is the oldest and largest of private Japanese women’s universities, established in 1901. Future Planners will meet with architecture and city planning students to share cross culturally on experiences with engaging young children in the U.S. and Europe on urban planning concepts and programming. The lecture will be followed by a hands on workshop to place students in the mindset of young children. Event culminates in a Q & A session, followed by a guided tour of Tokyo, through the perspective of a child.

January 27 – 29, 2019
Vienna, Austria

6th International Mayors’ Conference
Promoting Social Cohesion – Youth Participation in our Communities 

Panel Lead | Reviving Public Spaces – Developing spaces for community encounters with participants from Lebanon, Turkey, Austria, Kosovo and Italy

Act.Now will provide the space for dialogue – frank, open, uncensored, and on equal terms – between the Mayors and civil servants of the NOW Mayors’ Network (Europe, the Balkans, North Africa and the Middle East), local, regional and international politicians, policy- and decision-makers, educators, experts, representatives of GOs and NGOs, and a large international group of young people from Europe and the MENAT region – around the main topics of participation and education.

Young people are underrepresented in decision-making processes which affect them, although their engagement is crucial to democracy. Our aim is to co-create and develop bold ideas and projects, jointly lead by young people and municipal and educational institutions, to shape the societies they are going to live in.

International Mayors’ Conference

November 4, 2018
Van Alen Institute
New York City, USA

City Making from the Outside In

Workshop | Make YOUR Playground

New York City | Van Alen Institute Make YOUR Playground Workshop

Playgrounds are built for children, so why not allow children to become the architects of the only space in the public realm that is truly theirs? Van Alen and Future Planners present this three-hour hands-on workshop, Make YOUR Playground, to turn on young imaginations and consider the multitude of priorities for playground planning.

Participants meet at VAI and then walk to explore Madison Square Park’s Police Officer Moira Ann Smith Playground.  Hands on building of models back at VAI and box lunch included.
Time: 10:00am—1:00pm

Make YOUR Playground workshop

September 25, 2018
Wiener Rathaus, City Hall of Vienna
Vienna, Austria

Child in the City World Conference

Presentation | Youth Oriented City Planning Benefits More than Children

Children’s professionals, university lecturers, researchers and city planners from all over the world will share their knowledge and research on child-friendly cities.

Child in the City World Conference

21 Luglio, 2018
Largo Ferrer
Spoleto, Italia

OFARCH Officina d’Architettura

Keynote Speaker & Workshop Leader | Le Città Migliori Includono le Esigenze e le Prospettive dei Bambini

An Italian language presentation/workshop with young children of Spoleto, providing a hands-on project for them to design improvements to resolve the lack of integrated play-spaces and playgrounds in the city.  The day will culminate in a talk to residents and a proposal to be shared with key politicians in City Hall, providing valuable insights to make Spoleto more kid friendly.

OFArch & Future Planners Outdoor Piazza Workshop

June 22, 2018
Van Alen Institute
New York City, USA

Flash Competition sponsored by Van Alen Institute, NYC Cultural Affairs and NY State Council for the Arts

Judge | FLOW! Getting Around the Changing City

Juror for flash design competition in NYC which invites multidisciplinary teams of urban planners, architects, designers and artists to propose design solutions for moving traffic, pedestrians, bikes, and buses safely in the Lower East Side of Manhattan with the impending L subway shutdown.

January 13, 2018
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Brooklyn, NY, USA

I Have a Dream Celebration

Lead Speaker & Facilitator | Brooklyn Kids March

Children listen to stories about Martin Luther King Jr. and design a protest sign that promotes friendship and equality in their neighborhood.  Group activities followed by a peace march around the Brooklyn Children’s Museum.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum Event

November 3, 2017
Hunter College
New York City, USA

American Planning Association New York Chapter Annual Conference

Panelist & Presenter | Youth Engagement in Planning: Strategies for Planning More Inclusive Cities

This session brings together a diverse group of planners and youth development professionals to present on the need to plan safe, healthy and inclusive cities with and for youth informed by their perspective. The session will begin with each panelist briefly introducing themselves and speaking to one or both of these dimensions. The rest of the session will be a chance to ask questions, and to hold a discussion and sharing of strategies that folks on the panel and the audience have used to engage youth.

APA Hindsight Conference