GreenTown presents Future Cities: Climate strategies for sustainable communities

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. — Seven Generations Ahead and a5 inc. announced today that Future Cities: Climate Strategies for Sustainable Communities will be held here, Friday, Sept. 10, 2010, at Grand Valley State University's Eberhard Center.

The event, presented by GreenTown: The Future of Community and held in conjunction with the U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan's "Green Buildings of West Michigan," a tour of 40 LEED certified buildings, will feature keynote addresses from Mayor George Heartwell of Grand Rapids, Doug Farr of Farr Associates, and Director Rebecca Humphries of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

Designed to help the public and private sectors create sustainable communities, GreenTown brings together mayors and elected officials, city managers, public works directors, planners, developers, architects, engineers, zoning and code officials, educators and many others interested in learning how a community can become greener, healthier and more prosperous.

"Ideas and innovations within the private sector can be introduced to an open-minded public audience," said a5 Principal John Harris. "Since 2007, GreenTown has been successful in serving as a vehicle for these sectors to discuss how they can create sustainable communities."

During Heartwell's tenure in office, city government has been organized around the triple bottom line of economic strength, environmental stewardship and social equity, improving the overall quality of life within the surrounding community and Western Michigan region.

"With more leaders becoming interested in sustainability, the task before us now is to work strategically and collaboratively to generate actions that lead to measurable results," said Gary Cuneen, executive director of Seven Generations Ahead. "Future Cities is that ideal opportunity for local government, business and community leaders to learn, plan, and take action together."

Doug Farr, author and founder of Farr Associates Architecture and Urban Design Inc., will detail his firm's sustainable urban design practice and his insights gained serving as the inaugural chair of LEED-Neighborhood Development.

Humphries, as head of Michigan's DNRE, is actively implementing an ecosystem-based strategy for resource management aimed at protecting and enhancing the sustainability, diversity and productivity of the state's natural resources.

Future Cities: Climate Strategies for Sustainable Communities will feature case studies and best practices from speakers in the field of sustainable development. General sessions will feature a discussion surrounding the future of energy and economy, introducing the latest sustainable efforts of the region, and the impact of green jobs on our new economy. Afternoon sessions will include four breakout tracks, providing attendees with the opportunity to experience specialized topics. These breakout tracks include: climate strategies for sustainable communities; community design and building; healthy food, little waste; and the outdoors.

Click here for the full program, along with registration information.