September 21, 2010

Local and National Water Experts Gather for “The Permeable City: Designing for Water”

Wednesday, September 22, 6-7:30 pm. Free and open to the public.

University of Pennsylvania, Houston Hall, Class of ’49 Auditorium, 
3417 Spruce St., Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA — On Wednesday, September 22, local and national experts gather at the University of Pennsylvania for an engaging panel discussion on how water will play a role in cities in the coming decades, and how America’s urban centers can plan for better water management.

Few problems are as vexing to cities as water, with everyone from Forbes to the Global Policy Forum to T. Boone Pickens declaring water to be “the next oil.” This expert event discusses how water shapes urban life, from innovations in waterfront redevelopment to creative stormwater management strategies to delivering clean water amid ever-tightening EPA regulations.


The authoritative panel includes Marilyn Jordan Taylor, Dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Design (moderator); Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, City of Philadelphia (respondent); Gary Hack, Professor of City and Regional Planning, University of Pennsylvania School of Design;Aaron Koch, Policy Advisor for Water, New York City Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability; Howard Neukrug, Director, Office of Watersheds, Philadelphia Water Department; and Anuradha Mathur, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, University of Pennsylvania School of Design, and co-author ofSOAK: Mumbai in an Estuary and Mississippi Floods: Designing a Shifting Landscape.

“Nearly every city has either too much water or not enough of it, so how can we plan now for smart water management that treats this precious commodity not as a threat but as an opportunity?” said Eugénie Birch, Co-Director of the Penn Institute for Urban Research. “If we manage water well, cities like Philadelphia can become world leaders in its use and planning. If we don’t, then 50 years from now, you’ll see the same kind of global conflict around water as we do now around oil.”

“THE PERMEABLE CITY: DESIGNING FOR WATER” is presented as the opening event of the Northeast Regional Session of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, a two-and-a-half-day closed-door convening that pairs U.S. mayors with planning and design experts to find unique solutions to urban problems. Mayors traveling to Philadelphia for the event include the Honorable Linda Balzotti, City of Brockton, MA; the Honorable Ryan Bingham, City of Torrington, CT; the Honorable Michael Bissonnette, City of Chicopee, MA; the Honorable Kim Bracey, City of York, PA; the Honorable Richard Gray, City of Lancaster, PA; the Honorable Jeanne-Marie Napolitano, City of Newport, RI; the Honorable Dana Redd, City of Camden, NJ; and the Honorable Antonia Ricigliano, Township of Edison, NJ. The Mayors’ Institute on City Design (MICD) is a National Endowment for the Arts leadership initiative in partnership with the American Architectural Foundation and the United States Conference of Mayors. Since 1986, the Mayors’ Institute has helped transform communities through design by preparing mayors to be the chief urban designers of their cities. This Northeast Regional Session of MICD is convened by the Penn Institute for Urban Research, co-directed by Eugénie Birch and Susan Wachter.

“THE PERMEABLE CITY: DESIGNING FOR WATER” is free and open to the public. The event begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, September 22, with a cocktail reception preceding the event from 5-6 p.m. Reservations requested by emailing Walk-in registration based on availability.

For more information, interview requests or press photos, call Jeffrey Barg, Penn Institute for Urban Research, at 215.573.8386 or email


Media Contact:

Deborah Lang
Communications Director

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