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Designing Cities 2020: Virtual Convening FAQs

Thanks for joining us on this adventure of running our first large virtual convening! Just as every big meeting requires some time to orient to the rooms, hallways, elevators, etc., we appreciate your understanding as we all learn to navigate together in online space through our Virtual Lobby, session registration portal, and full schedule of events.

We’re blown away by the enthusiasm for every pre-scheduled virtual convening offering, and want to remind you that there are still many sessions with room for you between now and Dec. 10! AND because Zoom fatigue is a gross feeling, we encourage you not to feel pressure to join us every day in the same way that you might normally show up at a conference.


Visit the main NACTO Camp page >>

What is NACTO Camp?
NACTO Camp is a centerpiece of the interactive Designing Cities 2020 experience. At this Dec 8-10 “unconference” you get to shape the programming, and connect with the people you’re here to meet. The NACTO Camp submission window is open all day (and night) through Dec 3.

How do I participate?
NACTO Camp is open to people registered as full participants. Check out the full schedule of events for session dates and times.

If you want to participate in a session, check out submitted sessions and get excited! We’ll load the NACTO Camp session slate by December 7 for you to sign up in the registration portal.

How do I register for a NACTO Camp session?
We have over 2000 seats across these sessions, so pick about 2 that spark your fancy (feel free to check the registration portal closer to the session start if there’s room for you to join for more than a couple)

Pre-registration is required to access the session “Join” button in your custom Virtual Lobby.

Do they qualify for AICP credit?
All NACTO Camp long sessions (75 min) and most transportation-focused short sessions (30-min) qualify for AICP credit as part of a planning “unconference.”

Are these sessions accessible?
NACTO Camp sessions are hosted on the virtual meeting/call platforms of various cities, so accessibility accommodations are also at the discretion of the host. Some session descriptions indicate if the format is designed to be accessible (e.g., more or less reliance on visuals, phone-in vs. web conference audio options, etc.)

Are there any restrictions on attendance?
Some sessions indicate priority for participants based on identity (e.g., race), restrict attendance to people who work at city or transit agencies, or have other qualifiers.

  • For city/transit agency focused sessions, some sessions may not show up in your registration view if you are from the private sector, a student, etc, even if they are listed on the NACTO website.
  • We ask that you respect the need to center (and in some cases exclusively restrict to) people with specific identities and experiences. “By cities for cities” is a hallmark of the NACTO network, and we continue to hold that as we add in programming based on identity or expertise to create specialized spaces for candid, courageous, and sometimes niche conversations.

Virtual Lobby

What is the Virtual Lobby?
The Virtual Lobby is your portal to #NACTO2020 programming. This is your jumping off point for accessing sessions open to full participants, whether keynotes and workshops or social events and sponsored demos.

How do I access it?
Your registration confirmation email from events@nacto contains your Virtual Lobby login information: the email address you registered with and your unique Reference Number. If you cannot locate your initial confirmation email, click here to be sent a reminder of your Reference Number. We recommend that you check your spam folder periodically for NACTO emails that have been sent there by mistake.

What will I see there?
Your personalized lobby view contains an agenda with sessions you have pre-registered for, and sessions that any Participant can join (no pre-registration required). You can find the whole convening schedule on our website, including social and wellness events, NACTO Camp sessions, and Global Day events that you’d like to participate in.

The Virtual Lobby also contains a few of the features we’re used to seeing in-person at Designing Cities: a convening library, with resources from NACTO and our sponsors; an activity feed where you can post, comment, and like posts from your peers; and, most importantly, the central location used to access individual sessions. There’s also a recipe for the Convening cocktail and mocktail!


Why are most of the workshops full?
NACTO carefully planned for ONE (1) workshop seat for every registered Participant. We’re glad hundreds of you are having great workshop experiences, and do regret that some Participants couldn’t register your first or second choice.

Why aren’t there more spaces?
Per session caps ensure most sessions are spaces where you can discuss and connect, not just stare at a huge webinar while you multitask. The Convening is spread out over multiple days, with the expectation that most Participants will choose a handful of sessions where you can be highly interactive and fully present.

How do I access a workshop I signed up for?
If you have pre-registered for a workshop, it will show up in your personalized Virtual Lobby.

Does it matter if I signed up for multiple workshops?
Yes – please modify your registration to include just one (1) workshop for the duration of the convening. Let’s make room for other Participants in these interactive experiences!

I’m unable to sign up, how do I watch workshops?
We’ll record and publish portions of workshop content for people who couldn’t be in the room live. Stay tuned through our newsletter and on our Convening website to watch!

Sponsored Dialogues and Demos

What are these?
The Sponsored Dialogues and Demos feature city speakers from peers like Denver, Austin, San Jose, Detroit, and Indianapolis. Note that 60-minute sessions also carry AICP credit!

How do I sign up?
Sign into the Virtual Lobby to join the hundreds of Participants who have signed up for these sessions, and register for the many seats we still have left.

How do I join?
Like all other sessions, the “Join” button in the Virtual Lobby will go live 5 minutes before the session starts. This should be plenty of time to submit any brief contact information form needed to gain entry to a sponsor’s virtual meeting room. If you’d like a calendar invitation from the sponsor further in advance, some session descriptions include a link with this option (visible after you modify your registration to add the session to your agenda).