As Chattanooga grapples with the question on how to use land effectively for its growing population, Armando Carbonell, Chairman of the Department of Planning and Urban Form at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, stresses the importance of collaboration in the regional land planning process.

“Cooperation and civility are the keys to planning successfully. I see that in Chattanooga. You have a spirit and a way of doing business that will work well for planning,” Carbonell said.

Carbonell spoke on campus as part of the George T. Hunter Lecture Series. This year marks the fourth year for the series, which is sponsored by the Benwood Foundation in partnership with The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, The Ochs Center, and CreateHere. Named in honor of the founder of the Benwood Foundation, the George T. Hunter Lecture Series brings speakers that address issues in the foundation’s four focus areas – Arts & Culture, Education, Environment, and Community Building.

In his lecture, Carbonell focused on the importance and impacts of planning for regional growth. He spoke of the challenges regional planners will face in the next few years.

“With a few exceptions, cities and other urban areas are getting less dense. As more people move to the suburbs, they will consume more land in the future than in the past. Now it’s more important than ever to use land effectively, “ he said.

Dealing with climate change and global warming is another hurdle cities face with regional planning.

“When we do things that cause the release of greenhouse gas, we are affecting everyone else. Cities get a bad rap as the creator of climate change, but cities emit less carbon emissions per capita than other areas. Still, the average American is responsible for 24 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. Elsewhere, it’s less than 8. There are very productive, prosperous countries with low per capita emissions, such as Sweden and other Northern European countries,” he said.

“Although 48% of people believe climate change is exaggerated, there is an opportunity for action. You can resist climate change, you can accommodate it, or you can retreat. Here, we have options. When compared to other countries, we have more options because we have more land,” Carbonell continued.

Another theme in Carbonell’s was “working across boundaries” to plan effectively.

“You can have both growth and protection of resources. The world is places and we are trying to make great places for people to live. There is real potential in this region,” he said.

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