VOL. 132 | NO. 38 | Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Mid-South Mayors’ Council Announces Lineup for RegionSmart Summit
By Patrick Lantrip
The Mid-South Mayors’ Council, an initiative of Urban Land Institute Memphis, has release the lineup for its second annual RegionSmart summit, which will be held at the Halloran Centre for Performing Arts & Education on Thursday, April 27.
More than 300 economic and community development officials and political leaders, including more than 20 city and county mayors from the around Mid-South, attended last spring’s inaugural RegionSmart summit to discuss the future of the region.
“In the first year of RegionSmart, we were attempting to do something bold and frankly unprecedented,” Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, a member of the RegionSmart planning committee, said. “While our individual municipalities have seen a lot of success over the past several years, we’re going to be missing some really transformative opportunities if we don’t start thinking, planning and behaving as one Mid-South region. Talented workers and major employers don’t see political boundaries. They just want to be in a metropolitan area that has quality jobs and reliable employees, respectively. Driving that conversation is what RegionSmart is all about – and judging by the sell-out crowd we had last year, we’re clearly onto something.”
The summit will follow last year’s format and focus on three main topics of broad regional importance: workforce development, transportation and land use.
“If we can successfully approach all three of those topics as a region, every block, neighborhood, town and city in the Mid-South will thrive,” Luttrell said.
Confirmed speakers at this year’s RegionSmart summit include Jim Johnson, who will reprise his presentation from last year about the demographic trends that are shaping the future of the U.S. and the South; Peter Kageyama, who is renowned for his exploration of “the love affair between people and their cities;” Ellen Dunham-Jones, a charter member of the Congress for the New Urbanism, Georgia Tech professor and “architectural theorist” who has spoken around the world about the emerging field of sprawl repair; and Michael Randle, whose “Randle Report” has been a go-to tip sheet for political and economic news in the South for years.
Additional speakers, including local experts who will offer responses to each speaker from a unique regional perspective, will be confirmed soon.
“More and more, businesses and political interests are realizing what friends and neighbors across the Mid-South have known for years – when we cooperate and collaborate, we become stronger,” Somerville Mayor Ronnie Neill said. “RegionSmart is about finding those specific points of cooperation and collaboration, and using them as a force multiplier that enhances economic and community development outcomes for the whole metro area. That’s the way of the future, and RegionSmart is leading the way.”
Once again, the summit will conclude with a Call to Action for every attending mayor to keep working on.
Tickets for the 2017 RegionSmart summit and full agenda may be found at http://RegionSmart.org. Prospective sponsors should contact Anna Holtzclaw at 901-674-2786 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
2017 RegionSmart sponsors include the Delta Regional Authority, Looney Ricks Kiss, Belz Enterprises, CBIZ MHM, Shelby County Government, Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) of Memphis and Shelby County, Gill Properties, A2H, Bass Berry Sims, Boyle Investment Co., Baker Donelson, the city of Memphis, Evans Petree, Fisher Arnold, Loeb Properties Inc., Poag Shopping Centers, SSR, SunTrust Bank and Tipton County. The official media sponsor of RegionSmart is The Memphis Daily News.
ULI Memphis, which was founded in 2007 by some of Memphis’ most respected architects, developers and land planners, aims to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.