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School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin to host symposium Sept. 19 on the future of Texas

The School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin will host a symposium Sept. 19 to discuss ways to plan for the future of Texas and improve the quality of life.

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AUSTIN, Texas—The School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin will host a symposium Sept. 19 to discuss ways to plan for the future of Texas and improve the quality of life.

Business and community leaders, architects, planners and conservationists from across the state are expected to participate in the symposium, titled “The Future of Texas City-Regions.”

The symposium will be conducted from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Town Lake and will highlight one of the most pressing questions of the new millennium: “As our cities grow into major metropolitan regions, how do we plan for the future of Texas?”

“We are living in the first urban century,” said Dr. Frederick Steiner, dean of the School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin. “For the first time in our history, more than half the world’s population live in metropolitan regions. As a result, the design and planning of cities and regions are crucial to our futures. Some city-regions will prosper and be exporters of knowledge, others will struggle and be importers of knowledge.

“The successful city-regions of the future will be engaged in the creation of knowledge capital, the enhancement of social capital and the preservation of natural capital. The professions of architecture and planning can play a central role in shaping prosperous, healthy and beautiful metropolitan regions. This task is especially important for Texas because its cities are among the fastest growing in the nation.”

Keynote speaker Robert D. Yaro will set the stage for two panel discussions by examining the inherent composition of a great city-region. Yaro will draw on his experience as president of the Regional Plan Association (RPA) headquartered in New York and chair of “The Civic Alliance to Rebuild Downtown New York.” RPA is the nation’s oldest independent metropolitan research and advocacy group.

Speakers from Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso and Lubbock will then address the dramatic population growth and urbanization their own communities are experiencing, as well as discuss a variety of best practices for facing the first urban century.

The symposium will examine what makes up the “great city-regions” across the nation and in Texas and what challenges they face over the next 40 years. While the trends and forces of growth and change in city-regions seem too large to guide and shape as a whole, some areas are finding ways to prepare for growth and to retain the characteristics of urbanism and quality of life residents desire most. The symposium will highlight existing urban planning and design tools that can help communities cope with inevitable growth and change—even changes that are quite unlike those of the past several decades.

“The Future of Texas City-Regions” will address specific questions regarding quality of life in Texas, such as:

  • What specific challenges will the different city-regions in Texas face as they deal with urbanization and demographic changes in the coming decades?
  • What patterns and consequences of suburban sprawl can we anticipate in the future, and how will they affect the sustainability of our environmental resources?
  • How can regional organizers effectively develop and promote a regional vision?
  • What role can design play in the development of sustainable metropolitan regions in Texas? What are successful design examples here or in other states?
  • How can existing organizations working at the local level (community development, corporations, chambers of commerce, environmental groups, preservationists, etc.) effectively collaborate on wider regional initiatives? What are useful models for this?

For more information and to register online, visit The Future of Texas City-Regions Web site.

For more information contact: Jennifer Eshleman, 512-471-6029.