De Lange Conference will bring together mayors, scholars, activists
HOUSTON -- (Feb. 12, 2009) -- For the first time in human history, most people now live in cities. The way we organize ourselves in this new, more crowded reality will have lasting effects on the lives of a majority of the world's population.
To discuss how cities can be more livable environments, a panel of international mayors will headline a conference at Rice University March 2-4. Houston Mayor Bill White will be joined by Mustafa Syed Kamal, mayor of Karachi, Pakistan, Antanas Mockus, former mayor of Bogotá, and Shuki Forer, mayor of Rehovot, Israel, to discuss innovative solutions to urban problems at the annual De Lange Conference. This year's theme is "Transforming the Metropolis: Creating Sustainable and Humane Cities."
The worldwide urbanization trend poses social, ecological and economic questions for the 21st century. In addition to the mayors, experts from a wide array of fields will debate globalization, governing, engineering, education, architecture, transportation, planning, technology, climate change and the role of faith communities in building better cities.
Among those experts are Ray Anderson, founder and chair of Interface, Inc. and one of Time magazine's 2007 "Heroes of the Environment," and Majora Carter, an environmental activist and executive director of Sustainable South Bronx. Anderson will give the after-dinner keynote at 7:30 p.m. March 2. Carter's keynote will come the following evening, also at 7:30 p.m.
The first day of the conference will also feature a panel discussion on a variety of issues facing urban development. Perry McCarty, the Silas H. Palmer professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, will join Amy Myers Jaffe, the Wallace S. Wilson Fellow in Energy Studies at the Rice's Baker Institute for Public Policy, for a dialogue on cities' use of water and energy.
Other speakers will look at the social consequences of urbanization. Elijah Anderson, professor of sociology at Yale, will discuss ethnographic and demographic challenges. Joel Kotkin, presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman College, will give a presentation titled "Do We Need a Middle Class?"
Cameron Sinclair, co-founder and executive director of Architecture for Humanity, will present the keynote speech Tuesday morning on "Strategies of Hope." Sinclair is co-editor of "Design Like You Give a Damn: Architectural Responses to Humanitarian Crises."
Later, a panel on design frameworks for sustainable and humane cities will feature Alejandro Gutierrez, associate director of London-based Arup and the design leader on four major city expansions in China including the world's largest eco-city, Dongtan. He will be joined by David Crossley, president of Houston Tomorrow.
Other architects who will speak Tuesday include Lars Lerup, dean of Rice's school of architecture; Peter Calthorpe, principal of Calthorpe Associates; and Ken Yeang, principal of Llewelyn Davies Yeang. William Mitchell, professor of architecture and Media Arts and Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will speak on urban infrastructure Wednesday morning.
Two religious leaders, Wayne Gordon, founding pastor of Lawndale Community Church in Chicago, and Harvey Clemons, Jr., pastor of Pleasant Hill Ministries in Houston, will address neighborhood revitalization efforts.
The De Lange Conference is organized and hosted by Rice's Center on Race, Religion and Urban Life, Scientia Institute, the Center for the Study of the Environment and Society, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the School of Architecture and the Rice Design Alliance, the Department of Sociology, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy and the University of Houston College of Architecture.
This conference is supported by the De Lange Endowment at Rice University, given by C. M. and Demaris Hudspeth, in memory of her parents, Albert and Demaris De Lange.
For more on the conference, go to http://www.delange.rice.edu/.
The three-day event will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Shepherd School's Alice Pratt Brown Auditorium on the Rice University campus, 6100 Main St. For directions, go to http://www.rice.edu/maps/maps.html.
Members of the news media who want to attend either event should RSVP to Franz Brotzen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-348-6775.