Smart Growth Summit marks 8th year

The eighth Louisiana Smart Growth Summit, which kicks off Monday, has become an annual event that allows representatives from the private and public sector a chance to exchange ideas about development.

More than 800 people are expected to attend the three-day event, which will largely be held in the Shaw Center for the Arts in downtown Baton Rouge.

“If nothing else, it’s a springboard for dialogue and conversation,” said Tim Basilica, spokesman for the Center for Planning Excellence, which sponsors the event. “It’s a physical event that hopefully starts a more robust conversation about a lot of these topics.”

Some of the topics set for discussion include what led IBM to build its service center in downtown Baton Rouge, an update on efforts to develop passenger rail between Baton Rouge and New Orleans and making communities more bike friendly.

“We’re trying to determine how to translate smart growth for Louisiana,” Basilica said. “We have really unique problems with coastal erosion and transportation.”

One problem that isn’t unique to Louisiana is how to deal with a boom in the energy industry. A panel discussion will be held on how communities should best handle the estimated $100 billion in industrial construction — most of it set to happen in south Louisiana. Rep. Vicky Steiner of the North Dakota Association of Oil and Gas Producing Counties, an area that saw a similar boom thanks to fracking, will be one of the panelists.

The goal is to use planning to have a “boom without a bust,” Basilica said, with housing that scales up and down to accommodate the thousands of workers who are temporarily needed to build large-scale projects. One of the ideas is to allow the temporary housing to be reused for emergency preparedness.

“The housing can be boxed up and moved to other parts of the state,” Basilica said.

The summit will kick off with a speech Monday evening from Andres Duany, the Miami architect and planner who led development of the downtown Baton Rouge master plan 15 years ago. The outspoken Duany will look back on the master plan and discuss his newest concept “lean urbanism” — highly environmental development with decentralized planning and light legislation.

Victor Dover, a leading expert on urban planning and sustainable development, also will speak Monday evening.

The 2013 Smart Growth Summit events include:

KEYNOTE EVENT: 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday; Manship Theatre. Featured speakers are Duany and Dover.

WELCOME: 8:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Tuesday; Manship Theatre. Duany will discuss lean urbanism and Dover will talk about street design.

PEDAL POWER: 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday; Manship Theatre. A panel discussion on how to make communities more bike friendly.

SMART GROWTH FOR DUMMIES: 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday; Hartley/Vey Workshop. An introduction on the principles of smart growth.

SMART DEALS: 1:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Tuesday; Manship Theatre. A discussion of what it took to get IBM to build an office in downtown Baton Rouge. Participants include Stephen Moret, Louisiana Economic Development secretary; John G. Davies, president and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation; Cameron Art, IBM vice president and service line leader; and Charles Landry, attorney at Jones Walker.

H2OVERVIEW: 1:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Tuesday; Hartley/Vey Studio. A panel discussion on the urban waters movement in New Orleans, which ultimately aims to improve water quality and revitalize communities.

ALL ABOARD: 4:35 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Tuesday; Manship Theatre. A discussion of the potential for passenger rail in Louisiana, including an update on the Southern Rail Commission.

MAKE IT WORK: 4:35 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Tuesday; Hartley/Vey Workshop. A panel discussion on financing mechanisms available for public and private community development projects. This event is also part of Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week.

VACANT TO VIBRANT: 10:40 a.m. to noon Wednesday; Hartley/Vey Studio. An overview of best practices in blight removal and redeployment of properties.

BOOM WITHOUT BUST: 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday; Manship Theatre. An overview of the impending boom in industrial construction projects across south Louisiana and the opportunities and challenges they produce.

CHALLENGING CONVENTION: 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday; Hartley/Vey Studio. A panel discussion on new online tools that can be used for community planning and implementation efforts.

TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE: 1:45 p.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday; Hartley/Vey Studio. A panel discussion on how Louisiana universities are partnering with community groups to design and build innovative projects.

For the complete list of events and speakers, go to

Online registration has closed. Registration will re-open for $110 at the conference at 8 a.m. Tuesday at the Shaw Center for the Arts. The keynote event on Monday evening is free and open to the public. Additionally, the conference is free for students and educators, sponsors and CPEX members.