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A quarter-century of working for a sustainable Virginia and region

U.Va.’s Institute For Environmental Negotiation Celebrates Anniversary And Founder’s Retirement At Nov. 19 Symposium

November 2, 2004 -- When the University of Virginia’s Institute for Environmental Negotiation began 25 years ago, the term “environmental negotiation” was still being defined, said Richard Collins, IEN founder and professor of planning in the School of Architecture. Today, the institute has participated in more than 300 projects to help sustain the environment in Virginia and the Southeast, including passage of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, work on issues involving watersheds, streams and forestry, and re-use of Superfund and Brownfield sites.

To recognize its previous success and address its role in the future of Virginia’s environmental health, IEN and the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning will hold a symposium on “Dialogue and Design: Paths to Sustainability” on Friday, Nov. 19.

The symposium is a retrospective in that “we are bringing people to participate who have worked with IEN since its founding, and also looking forward to what the institute can do for Virginia and the region to help in terms of design, dialogue and sustainability,” said Frank Dukes, director of IEN. Many of the nearly 100 interns who worked with the institute over the years also are expected to attend. 

The symposium honors the retirement of Collins, who established the IEN in 1981 with funding provided by the Virginia Environmental Endowment.  

“The institute was an experimental program that strengthened [U.Va.’s architecture] school’s environmental programs,” Collins said. Since the 1980s, planners have become more of brokers, mediators and advocates for our natural resources.

The institute’s activities range from one-day mediation sessions with concerned parties who have a stake in the outcome of the deliberations, to long-term projects that involve: research, educational programs and workshops, mediation and dispute resolution, leadership training, strategic planning, design or publications. These projects have resulted in numerous outcomes, including the passage of the Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Act, and work on issues involving watersheds, streams, forestry, farming, transportation, land conservation, historic preservation, urban revitalization, community expansion and growth, health, and Superfund and Brownfield site re-use.

Today the IEN is doing the same type of activities, but with greater experience from those involved, Collins said.

 “I also see us being more proactive and convening deliberations on various issues rather than waiting for others to seek us out,” Dukes said. 

For details about the symposium, contact Christine Gyovai at (434) 924-0285, christineg@virginia.edu, or visit www.virginia.edu/ien/symposium.htm.

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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