Architects, engineers, planners, entrepreneurs, city officials, educators and students will join to explore ‘green’ solutions for the critical issues facing today’s American shrinking cities at SOS2012, October 5-6, 2012, on the campus of Lawrence Tech.
Post-industrial shrinking cities, like Detroit, face unique challenges. They have become embroiled in economic turmoil fueled by the loss of jobs and the resulting loss of a sustainable tax base as both residents and manufacturers flee to other cities and manufacturing moves to other countries. Additional to the loss of tax revenue and lack of jobs, there are other challenges, e.g., aging infrastructure, inadequate mass transit, deteriorating and increasingly abandoned buildings, etc.
The conference location, Southfield, borders Detroit, which could be considered the poster child of the nation’s shrinking cities. Problems abound, but on the positive side, Detroit was one of only two American cities ranked in a list of 10 emerging sustainable cities to watch in 2012 by GreenGoPost.com founder and editor, Leon Kay. This city is situated in the heart of the Great Lakes region containing 90 percent of the United States’ fresh water and one fifth of the fresh water in the world. It encompasses an exceptionally large land area with around 40 areas now cleared of buildings and beginning to be farmed. Unemployed workers and manufacturing infrastructure sit idle waiting for ingenious transformation with sustainable energy supply to jump start a sustainable economy.
Conference Chair, Associate Professor Janice K. Means, proposes that optimal solutions to shrinking city challenges lie in applying sustainability principles in the best interest of people, prosperity and the planet. “Of course we must look at energy conservation and RES*, but we also need to address solutions for appropriately using and maintaining clean water, eliminating hunger, adding jobs, creating a new paradigm for transportation, designing for potentially extreme weather and climatic changes, and skillfully reusing and readapting our infrastructure, buildings and their components whether they be factories, houses or abandoned train stations.”
Therefore, the conference topics to be explored will be:
Net Zero Energy
Great Lakes Basin/Fresh Water
Embodied Energy/Adaptive Reuse
Regional Food Systems/Urban Farming
Sustainable Infrastructure (water, sewer, electrical grid, mass transit)
Sustainable Design for Extreme Conditions (tornados, flooding, earthquakes, climatic change)
As with previous SOS conferences, attendees will have opportunities to connect with vendors, government and other non-profit groups as well as professional society representatives in the Green Expo.
This conference is hosted by Lawrence Tech’s Center for Sustainability with the assistance of Lawrence Tech student groups. Financial and endorsing sponsors will be recognized on this web page, in the final program and through SOS2012 communications.