The 14th annual Louisiana Smart Growth Summit, the only educational event centered around land-use planning in the state, will be held next week.
The Tuesday event will once again be held in the Shaw Center for the Arts in downtown Baton Rouge. Camille Manning-Broome, president and CEO of the Center for Planning Excellence, which sponsors the summit, said the event is a way to challenge the status quo and come up with new ideas to deal with the threat of climate change.
“We want to inspire vision and discuss the newest, innovative things happening and how can we be a part of that,” she said. “Louisiana is on the front lines of so much of this. There’s a chance for us to come up with solutions and have everybody learn from us.”
Ross DeVol, an economist and fellow with the Walton Family Foundation, will kick off the event at 8:30 a.m. with an opening keynote about economic growth and the lessons smaller and mid-sized cities can learn. DeVol will lead a session on placemaking, the concept of using planning to create public spaces that promote people's health, happiness and well-being, and small town economic development, at 9 a.m., featuring Natalie Robottom, the president of St. John the Baptist Parish, and George Marks, who heads up the NuNu Arts and Culture Collective in Arnaudville.
Mike Lydon, the principal of Street Plans, will participate in a session to discuss how complete street plans can improve public health and drive economic development.
“It doesn’t happen overnight, but if you start making the right decisions, it will happen in the future,” Broome said.
The event will conclude with a keynote speech from Frank Alexander, co-founder of the Center for Community Progress. Alexander will connect all of the threads that were discussed during the summit and issue a call to action, Broome said.
“How we’re going to live in the future is very different than how we have lived in the past,” she said.
The agenda is at summit.cpex.org. Registration is $190 if you sign up before Friday. Admission for students and professors is $40. Registration at the event is $205 for one day and $50 for students and professors, although Broome expects the event will sell out. The conference is free for CPEX members and summit sponsors.