Ex-Pittsburgh mayor and APA leader to speak uptown

The former mayor of Pittsburgh and the current president of the American Planning Association – who happens to be Raleigh’s planning director – are keynote speakers Thursday at a symposium in uptown Charlotte for urban design and planning professionals.

The symposium, “Resilient communities, innovation for change,” will discuss the capacity for communities to manage change and improve their quality of life while using fewer resources and creating less waste and pollution. Raleigh’s Mitchell Silver will open the program at 8 a.m. Former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy, now a senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute, will give the closing keynote at 10:45 a.m.

Murphy, mayor from 1994 to 2006, is credited with leading the reinvention of Pittsburgh’s economy following the decline of the steel industry. When he took office in January 1994, Pittsburgh was suffering from a severe economic downturn and a deteriorating physical environment. During his tenure, for example, former industrial sites were transformed into residential neighborhoods and riverfront public space, including walking and biking trails that wind through the city.

After Mitchell’s presentation, Charlotte City Council member David Howard will be part of a five-member panel addressing questions about urban design innovations and resilient cities. Other panel members will be local developer Clay Grubb; architect and planner Terry Shook; Deborah Ryan, an associate professor at the UNC Charlotte School of Architecture, and Nathan Taft, director of acquisitions for Jonathan Rose Companies.  UNC Charlotte Architecture Professor David Walters, director of the university’s Master of Urban Design Program, will be moderator.

The symposium is a first of this sort for the UNC Charlotte Master of Urban Design program. Other sponsors are the Charlotte chapter of the Washington-based Urban Land Institute and the UNC Charlotte Belk College of Business Master of Science in Real Estate.

The event is 7:30-11:30 a.m. at the UNC Charlotte Center City Building at Ninth and Brevard streets. Registration is required, at http://charlotte.uli.org . For more information, telephone 1-800-321-5011, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays, or click here.