Baton Rouge, LA – Developers, advocates, designers and civic leaders from across the region and around the country gathered last week for Louisiana’s sixth Smart Growth Summit. Hosted by the Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX), this year’s summit focused on the economic opportunities created by smart growth.
CPEX, which works primarily in Baton Rouge, is known across the state as the leading advocate for strategic redevelopment, land use and transportation planning. In 2006 the group led a state-funded visioning effort called Louisiana Speaks which engaged 27,000 people in a conversation about the state’s future. Cities, towns and parishes across the region joined the smart growth dialogue, and the results are already apparent in local plans and politics.
This year’s Summit featured the Urban Land Institute‘s Tom Murphy and our own Chris Leinberger, who both set the tone for the conference with an exploration of market trends and development opportunities for private and public sector players. Mr. Leinberger, president of LOCUS, an advocacy coalition for smart growth developers, also met directly with local developers to discuss specific strategies for promoting new transit investments.
Among the wide range of other issues addressed here, an emerging theme is green and sustainable building and planning, with a strong focus on stormwater management. Shannon Stage, Executive Director of the Louisiana chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, noted the importance of establishing the relationship between smart growth and sustainable design and construction practices, particularly in this part of the world where hazard mitigation and energy costs are top-of-mind issues.
Photo by Flickr user Jeff Etherington.