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MIT to host sustainable development forum

The third annual Regional Sustainable Development Forum at MIT on Monday, Sept. 23 will highlight Boston-area projects and programs that have integrated sustainable development principles into strategies for affordable housing, transportation, commercial developments and land use planning.

The day-long conference, hosted by the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, will start at 8 a.m. in Room 10-250.

"MIT is delighted to be a part of this forum. It represents two great developments: crossing disciplinary lines to promote sustainable development, and collaborating between the university community and the nonprofit sector to improve both community development practice and environmental policy research," said Phillip Clay, chancellor and a professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP).

"The issue of sustainable development has never been more important, both throughout the region and globally," said William Shutkin, a DUSP lecturer and president of New Ecology, Inc., the event's principal sponsor. DUSP is also a forum sponsor.

"This year's forum is an opportunity for leaders around greater Boston to share their best thinking and experience in creating more livable, affordable and sustainable communities," Shutkin said.

Sustainable development can be defined as projects and programs that support strong local economies, maximize fairness and efficiency in distribution of resources, and promote participatory decision-making and a healthy democracy, Shutkin said.

Sustainability also means using natural resources efficiently and productively, minimizing use of fossil fuels and toxic materials, and protecting and restoring ecosystems, the aspect of sustainable development often referred to as "green" development, he said.

Scott Bernstein of the Center for Neighborhood Technology in Chicago and Angela Blackwell of PolicyLink in Oakland, Calif., will deliver keynote remarks.

Session topics will include "Green Materials," "Selling Green Development to the Unconverted," "Brownfields to Parks," "Green Affordable Housing," "Green Commercial Development" and "Smart Growth."

Major conference sponsors include DUSP, New Ecology, KeySpan, Local Initiatives Support Corp., Lyme Properties, Main Street Resources, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative/Renewable Energy Trust, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

For more information or to register, visit the New Ecology web site, or contact Madeline Fraser Cook at 617-354-4099 x25 or

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 18, 2002.

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