The 2011 Conference on the Environment was held on March 4-5, 2011. The conference theme was Smart Growth? Environmental and Social Implications.
"Smart Growth” is a series of concepts developed from urban planning roots that have come to represent an alternative to sprawl. Key features of smart growth are mixed land uses, walkable neighborhoods with housing for a variety of income levels and needs, preserved open space including farmland, new development concentrated in existing communities, and multiple public transportation options.
This two-day conference provided a broad overview of our understanding of the impact of development patterns and suggestions for more thoughtful approaches to planning. Beginning with a session defining the problems associated with historic development patterns, we moved to discussions of the environmental impact of smart growth, and concluded by considering promising directions for smarter urban and suburban development.
The mix of speakers and topics of the talks appealed to a wide audience of college students and faculty, concerned citizens, NGO representatives, and policymakers.