Megan Oliver, AICP

Megan Oliver, AICP

MRA Designer to Present at the Upcoming National Planning Association Conference

Megan Oliver, AICP, of Mahan Rykiel Associates, will present three sessions at the upcoming American Planning Association (APA) National Planning Conference in San Diego, CA, from April 30-May 3rd. As APA’s premier knowledge-sharing event, the National Planning Conference helps planners stay on the leading edge of urban design while exploring critical issues facing communities.

Fostering Reflection, Healing, and Joy

The leading charge for today’s planners, Megan believes, is to create spaces that foster reflection, healing, and joy in the wake of a global pandemic and racial unrest. Megan, who has been with Mahan Rykiel Associates since 2014, began exploring the link between happiness and the built environment shortly before the pandemic, which has only served to bolster the demand for and interest in shaping happier, more inclusive communities.

Megan is pleased to be sharing her research on design for wellbeing alongside one of the most celebrated and internationally-recognized urban thinkers, Mitchell Silver, FAICP. Mitchell, a principal with McAdams and the previous NYC Parks Commissioner, is an award-winning planner with over 35 years of experience in urban planning, parks planning, and public space planning. He is the current AICP President and former APA President. Together, Megan and Mitchell will be presenting their session, Happy and Inclusive: Planning for Joy and Healing, in San Diego on Tuesday, May 3rd.

Details and times for all of Megan’s upcoming talks are outlined below:

How to Job Hunt on Company Time
Saturday, April 30th | 10:30 to 10:45am PT

Without responding to employee needs, companies are losing their most valuable assets in record numbers. We want to work; our jobs simply aren’t working for us. Amidst the “Great Resignation,” Megan encourages both employees and employers to reflect: rather than look elsewhere, what if everything we needed was here all along?

Top Sex Reasons to Spellcheck Your Pubic Documents
Monday, May 2nd | 4:30pm – 5:15pm PT

Planners are a raunchy bunch! At least, one might assume so, given how often words like “asses” and “sex” show up in our pubic—err, public—documents. After this talk, you’ll think twice before hitting submit!

Happy and Inclusive: Planning for Joy and Healing | Megan Oliver, AICP, & Mitchell Silver, FAICP
Tuesday, May 3rd | 8:30am – 10:00am PT

The happy city is an inclusive city. Planners must recognize the deep emotional impacts of places or risk perpetuating past mistakes. As protectors of public health, safety, and welfare, they can harness the power of place to boost happiness and inclusion. By envisioning the “happy city,” planners apply insights from the science of well-being to build happier, more inclusive and communities. By looking through a lens of equity and well-being, they reimagine the profession’s future—Now Hiring: The Department of Fun, Health, and Happiness!


In addition to the three NPC22 sessions (detailed above), Megan has been invited by Shockey Consulting Services to give the featured talk at their April Think + Drink Like a Futurist Happy Hour event on the 22nd.  

Fostering Joy with Well-Designed Places
Friday, April 22nd | 3:30pm – 5pm CST

Let’s explore the intersection of planning/design and neuroscience, happiness studies, and the science of human behavior and perception!

Planners and designers can foster greater happiness in our communities by translating existing research into evidence-based planning principles, design interventions, and social/community strategies.

RSVP to tyler@shockeyconsulting.com


About Megan Oliver, AICP

Megan Oliver, AICP, is an Associate Planner at Mahan Rykiel Associates, a lecturer in Morgan State University’s Master of City and Regional Planning program, and an independent researcher exploring the deep emotional impacts of place through her Hello Happy Design project.

Believing in the power of place to profoundly influence our mood and behavior, Megan is driven to design and shape spaces that foster healing and joy. Through her research-based design practice, Megan applies the science of human experience and perception to urban design and planning strategies. She employs storytelling, public art, placemaking, livability planning, and responsive spatial design interventions to foster strong communities and cultivate happier, more inclusive spaces and places. Over the past 13 years of her planning career, Megan has utilized a holistic and person-centric approach to help over one hundred communities craft visions for the future.