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From Johannesburg To Charlottesville - Challenges Of World Summit On Sustainable Development

October 29, 2002-- Global environmental problems and their social impact on communities around the world fueled the World Summit on Sustainable Development that convened in Johannesburg, South Africa in August. The summit highlighted a growing consensus that local action and planning are essential to successfully tackle these issues said Timothy Beatley, professor in U.Va.’s School of Architecture’s Department of Urban and Environmental Planning.

To raise awareness of sustainable development — the implementation of effective strategies to protect the environment while meeting human needs and aspirations — and ethical issues associated with the goals raised in Johannesburg, Beatley, who attended the summit, has organized a symposium and series of community forums to illuminate demonstrated solutions and begin a dialogue addressing sustainable development challenges in the Charlottesville area.

“From Johannesburg to Charlottesville: A Region’s Response to the World Summit on Sustainable Development,” an all-day symposium, Friday, Nov. 15, will review themes, controversies and challenges brought to light at the summit and explore ways other communities and local planners and designers are addressing sustainable development.

The symposium is “a way to begin to appreciate our lifestyles and habits and how they affect the world,” Beatley said. “It raises questions of fairness and the ethics of how we are living.”

Beatley will give a presentation at 9:15 a.m., “Report from Johannesburg and the World Summit: Themes, Controversies, Challenges.” He is the author of “The Ecology of Place,” an examination of innovative local sustainability practice from around the country, and “Green Urbanism: Learning from European Cities,” which chronicles the experiences of more than 30 cities in 11 countries.

Gwen Hallsmith, Vermont coordinator of Earth Charter Campaign, will discuss global ethics and whether they should guide local practice and behavior. In a 9:45 a.m. talk, “Burlington Vermont: A City Pursuing Sustainable Development with a Global Perspective,” she will review the city’s progress in becoming a sustainable city, including the city’s innovative energy, food production and housing programs.

David Crockett, of the Chattanooga Institute for Sustainability in Tennessee, will highlight the decades-long revitalization of an abandoned inner city involving residents in planning and promoting public-private partnerships. Chattanooga, cited as a model of how to build a sustainable city, was able to successfully reduce air pollution, create an electric-bus system, recycle old factories and houses to bring people back downtown, create riverside walks and greenways, create a zero-emission industrial park and promote sustainable industries. Crockett’s talk, “Chattanooga: Sustainable Development in the South,” is at 10:30 a.m.

David Reynolds, of the Chicago Department of the Environment, will give a talk at 11:15 a.m., “Chicago: An Emerging Midwest Ecological City,” focusing on that city’s success in returning abandoned toxic inner-city brownfield sites to industrial, residential and recreational use.

Tim Honey, executive director of Sister Cities International, Sister Cities Network for Sustainable Development, will discuss creative collaborations between cities that can help each other with issues such as water, sanitation, energy and industrial clean up. His 1 p.m. talk is titled, “Positive Stories of Local Global Planning Partnerships.”

John Quale, U.Va. architecture professor, will give a 1:30 p.m. talk, “Planning for Solar Communities: Lessons from the Solar Decathlon.” U.Va.’s entry in the Department of Energy’s recent competition to design and build the most forward-thinking solar house won first place in the design and livability category and second place over-all. The project was an interdisciplinary initiative of architecture and engineering students.

Enrique Penalosa, former mayor of Bogata, Colombia, will give the keynote address, “Forging a Sustainable Path in Bogata.” Penalosa is internationally recognized for helping turn a troubled urban environment into a city of pride and hope, emphasizing improving the infrastructure in poor neighborhoods. Through citizen involvement, Penalosa spearheaded the successful creation of new schools, parks and public spaces. He also improved transportation by implementing a bus system, creating bicycle paths and reduced pollution by restricting automobile use in the city. He instituted a yearly car-free day with the long-range goal of having no cars during rush hours beginning in 2015. Penalosa’s talk is at 3 p.m.

The program also includes a noon brown- bag presentation by planning students who are researching the global implications of local actions, consumption and lifestyle choices. Titled “Preliminary Results of the U.Va. Global-Local Project,” students will trace global pathways of Charlottesville area food consumption, consumer goods, home building products and travel to emphasize local-global connections.

U.Va. School of Architecture faculty William Morrish, William Lucy, Beth Meyer and William Sherman will participate in a concluding panel discussion, “Planning and Design Implications of the Global Sustainability Agenda,” at 4:15 p.m.

The symposium, free and open to the public, will be held 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Campbell Hall, Room 153. Box lunches are available for $7. To order a box lunch or for details about the symposium, call or e-mail Bettie Hall in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning at (434) 924-1339 or

Timothy Beatley can be reached at (434) 924-6457 or

Contact: Jane Ford, (434) 924-4298

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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