Organizers of the sixth annual Smart Growth Summit are hoping this year’s focus on the economic case for wiser planning will resonate as the national economy teeters on the brink of a double-dip recession.
“Creating Communities that Work” will make the financial case for smart growth, discuss the ways to implement it and how transit can help grow the workforce, said Phillip LaFargue, spokesman for the Center for Planning Excellence.
The summit, hosted each year by CPEX, will be held Aug. 17-19 at The Shaw Center for the Arts downtown.
Topics will include coastal living and how to live with water; reclaiming communities hit by recession; green building practices; transit-oriented development; plan implementation strategies; and tools to revitalize neighborhoods.
Wednesday’s event is an evening reception featuring a talk from keynote speaker Tom Murphy, a senior fellow at the Urban Land Institute and former mayor of Pittsburgh known for aggressively tackling redevelopment and urban renewal.
Murphy will discuss how communities can leverage universities and other innovation assets for smart growth and economic development.
CPEX also highlighted Chris Leinberger, of the Brookings Institution, who will discuss market trends and opportunities and why smart growth represents an economic opportunity. In advance of the summit, he addressed a group of developers, architects and planners on Wednesday.
Tom Low, director of town planning at Duany Plater-Zyberk, will discuss regional stormwater management. Other panels include community gardens as revitalization tools; how development can provide options for the elderly; building “complete streets” that cater to cars, transit, pedestrians and cyclists; code enforcement; and legal challenges to certain smart growth policies.
Boo Thomas, CPEX’s executive director, said organizers have responded to past participants’ calls for more on environmentally friendly construction and development, noting the involvement of Stephen Mouzon, a Miami architect and author of the Original Green blog who helped foster the Katrina Cottages movement.
Thomas also highlighted a panel on how rural communities are banding together to promote development, noting public officials from a number of Louisiana’s rural communities will attend the summit.
Lunch panels on Thursday will include one with local entrepreneurs discussing how to grow and market small businesses and another on the relationship between development and public health.
Lunch panels on Friday will include one on smart growth and the media and another on tax increment financing and the tea peaty movement.
Last year’s summit attracted more than 800, including panelists and audience members, CPEX said.