The 10th annual Louisiana Smart Growth Summit begins Tuesday, and some familiar faces are coming back for the event.
Ron Sims, the former King County, Washington, executive who spoke at the first summit in 2003, will be one of the speakers at the opening session for the two-day event, which will be mainly held in the Shaw Center for the Arts in downtown Baton Rouge.
Also speaking on the first day will be Peter Calthorpe, the urban planner who headed the Louisiana Recovery Authority’s reconstruction planning effort; and John Fregonese, the Portland, Oregon, planner who helped develop the East Baton Rouge Comprehensive Plan.
“We think this is the best summit we have ever put together,” said Elizabeth “Boo” Thomas, president and CEO of the Center for Planning Excellence, which sponsors the conference. “We’ve never had a lineup of speakers like we did this time.”
About 800 to 900 people attend the summit every year. Thomas said she’s hoping to beat those numbers this year.
Thomas said she’s pleased that Anthony Foxx, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, will give the closing keynote address on Nov. 4.
“Every year, we’ve tried to get the secretary of transportation to come,” she said.
Transportation has always been a big focus of the summit because of the traffic issues the Baton Rouge metro area faces. This year, there will be a discussion of proposed passenger rail service between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
Unlike past years when three or four panel discussions frequently went on simultaneously, there are no more than two events going on at one time.
“I finally listened and calmed everything down,” Thomas said.
The 2015 Growth Summit events include:
OPENING SESSION: 9 a.m. to 9:40 a.m., Tuesday; Manship Theatre. Remarks from Thomas and Cordell Haymon, chairman of the board of CPEX, and a session with Sims, the former deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
CONSERVATIVE CASE FOR PLANNING: 11:05 a.m. to 12:20 p.m., Tuesday; Manship Theatre. Chuck Marohn Jr., the president of Strong Towns who is doing work in Lafayette, will talk about what different patterns of development yield for the tax base to get local governments and developers to think about what kind of return they will receive on their investment.
RESILIENT CITIES LUNCH SESSION: 12:40 p.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday; Manship Theatre. Theresa O’Donnell, chief resilience officer for Dallas; and Jeffrey Hebert, executive director of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, will talk about the Rockerfeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Challenge. It is designed to make cities more prepared for the physical, social and economic changes. New Orleans has been designated as one of the first resilient cities.
NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSING NEEDS: 2:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., Tuesday; Manship Theatre. Fregonese, O’Donnell and Terri North, president and CEO of Providence Community Housing, will discuss programs that use comments from neighborhood residents to find out what kind of housing they want, allowing them to shape their neighborhoods.
SMARTER, MORE EFFICIENT GOVERNMENT: 2:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., Tuesday; Hartley/Vey Studio. Marohn, Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel; and Kevin Blanchard, director of public works for Lafayette Consolidated Government, will discuss how Lafayette officials are analyzing the potential return on investment before spending tax dollars on capital improvements in an effort to reverse the financial drain of urban sprawl.
PETER CALTHORPE PLENARY: 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., Tuesday; Manship Theatre. Calthorpe will discuss urbanism in a time of climate change.
CHRIS LEINBERGER ADDRESS: 8:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Nov. 4; Manship Theatre. Leinberger, a professor at George Washington University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, will discuss the structural shifts that developers are working with.
PASSENGER RAIL: 8:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Nov. 4; Hartley/Vey Studio. A discussion on the progress toward establishing passenger rail between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: 9:40 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., Nov. 4; Manship Theatre. Andy Kopplin, deputy mayor for the city of New Orleans; Sean Reilly, CEO for Lamar Advertising; and Walter J. Leger Jr., senior partner at Leger & Shaw Attorneys & Counselors, will discus the post-Katrina and Rita hurricane recovery efforts and how that led to advances in Louisiana.
LONG-TERM VALUE IN DEVELOPMENT: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Nov. 4; Manship Theatre. Leinberger and Aaron Miripol, president and CEO of the Urban Land Conservancy, will discuss how some developments hold their value long term and others don’t.
REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION: 1:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m., Nov. 4; Manship Theatre. Chris Zimmerman, vice president of economic development for Smart Growth America; Bridgett Massengill, project manager of Thrive 2055, a strategic regional initiative for the Chattanooga, Tennessee region; and Dennis Smith, executive director of the Maricopa (Arizona) Association of Governments, will discuss how communities can build a local transportation vision.
KEYNOTE ADDRESS: 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Nov. 4; Manship Theatre. Foxx will address the group.
CLOSING RECEPTION: 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Nov. 4; Lamar Corporate Headquarters, 5321 Corporate Blvd.
For all events and speakers, go to summit.cpex.org. Registration is $100 for one day or $150 for the full event in advance and an additional $25 at the door. The conference is free for students, professors, CPEX members and event sponsors.
Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.