Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine, attended a 3-day conference in Denver, CO last week, sharing and learning about smart growth policy, practices and projects across the country.
Smith served as moderator and panelist in a 2-hour workshop entitled, “Unlocking the Potential of Commercial Strip Development-Innovative Approaches and Real-Life Challenges”. Lessons from GrowSmart Maine’s research effort entitled “Implementing the Vision: Practical Steps to Transform Commercial Strips into Mixed Use Centers” were featured, as well as Jane Lafleur, Executive Director, Friends of Midcoast Maine (also a GSM board member) leading a discussion of smart growth efforts in Rockland Maine. Other panelists bringing a national perspective and Rockland experiences were Ellen Dunham Jones, AIA, Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, Georgia Tech; Dan Burden, Director of Innovation and Inspiration, Walkable and Livable Communities Institute and Joseph Minicozzi, Principal, Urban Three LLC.
The plenary sessions on transportation options, healthy communities and vibrant economies and climate change adaptation plans provided diverse, fascinating perspectives on important issues. Dozens of breakout sessions covered all aspects of smart growth and the impact of growth and land use on our economies, communities and environment.
In addition, Smith attended an on-the-ground workshop, "Riding the Rail to Reinvention: Art, Business and Livability along the New W Line", which explored the costs and benefits for communities along a newly opened light rail line leading from downtown Denver to a 55-acre innovative district for businesses, shops and residences adjacent to the Lakewood Federal Center.