Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Environmental Innovation in Urban Planning

Date and Time
Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Sanford Rhodes Conference Room (223), Duke University
Environmental Innovation in Urban Planning


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A panel of experts and practitioners will present examples of how innovative cities are integrating ecosystem services into urban planning. The panel will discuss what worked, what didn’t, and lessons learned for the transferability of their approaches to other cities. Speakers will also provide insights into environmental policy and market tools that have been tried.

The event is co-sponsored by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke's Ecosystem Services Working Group and the Nicholas School of the Environment.


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Panel 1: Environmental Information and Policy Tools
9-9:50 a.m.

  • Will Allen, GIS mapping the provision of ecosystem services
  • Jeff LeJava, transferable development rights
  • Bobby Cochran, compliance and voluntary ecosystem service markets

9:50-10 a.m.

Panel 2: Environmental Innovation in U.S. Cities
10-11 a.m.

  • Mitchell Silver, Raleigh North Carolina
  • Mami Hara, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Dale Lyons, Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Robert Garcia, Los Angeles, California


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Will Allen is the director of strategic conservation planning for The Conservation Fund in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He is responsible for the Fund’s team that designs comprehensive green infrastructure plans, develops decision support frameworks for land use decision making, and supports mitigation and environmental stewardship project evaluation. Recent work includes conservation planning work in metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, and Nashville.

Jeffrey LeJava is adjunct professor and managing director of innovation at Pace Law School’s Land Use Law Center for Sustainable Development where he researches, writes and lectures on transit-oriented development, local food production, sustainability and the interplay between land use and climate change. Jeff brings a great mix of practitioner and scholar, having worked in the trenches of designing and implementing an ecosystem conservation program using ecosystem services based TDRs: the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection & Planning Council. 

Bobby Cochran is executive director of the Willamette Partnership, a nonprofit coalition of business, environmental, and other leaders working to enhance the pace, scope, and effectiveness of restoration in the West. The Partnership specializes in the design and operation of emerging markets and payments for ecosystem services. Ultimately, the Partnership works to change the way people view and value nature, insert that information into investment decisions, and use those relationships to shift the networks needed to achieve conservation at scale. Bobby has worked on market-based policies for Defenders of Wildlife and the State of California, Clean Water Services—an Oregon water resources utility, and for the Asian International Rivers Center in Yunnan China. 

Mitchell Silver is chief planning & development officer and planning director for the City of Raleigh, North Carolina. Mitchell is also president (2011-2013) of the American Planning Association (APA).

Mami Hara is the first deputy commissioner at Philadelphia Water. Mami coordinates policy, strategic planning and programs at Philadelphia Water. She also oversees the management of 2000 staff who provide safe and affordable drinking water and integrated storm water and wastewater services to over 2.3 million people. She is a noted urban planner and sustainability expert, formerly in private practice, leading large scale civic initiatives and waterfront projects in the US and abroad. At Philadelphia Water, she is advancing programs such as Green City, Clean Waters and investments that integrate sustainable water management and urban sustainability. Mami has degrees in Design of the Environment from the University of Pennsylvania and Landscape Architecture from Harvard University. She has taught at University of Pennsylvania’s School of City and Regional Planning and the Architecture Department of Temple University and is an advisor to several design advocacy and planning organizations.

Dale Lyons is director of freshwater programs at The Nature Conservancy. Dale leads the New Mexico Chapter’s efforts to conserve and restore freshwater biodiversity statewide. Prior to joining The Nature Conservancy, Dale spent 6 years as a water resource manager for the City of Santa Fe’s water utility, where he developed a rate-payer supported watershed investment program to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire and protect the Santa Fe River. 

Robert Garcia is an attorney who engages, educates, and empowers communities to achieve equal access to public resources. He is the executive director, counsel, and founder of The City Project, a non-profit legal and policy advocacy organization based in Los Angeles, California.