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Designing for healthy lifestyle to be topic of this year's U. of I. Planning Institute

Melissa Mitchell, Arts Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — “Community Design for Healthy Lifestyles” is the theme of the 2005 Planning Institute set for March 3-4 at the University of Illinois.

Hosted by the U. of I.’s department of urban and regional planning and organized by its Professional Development and Outreach Program, the annual event takes place this year at the Levis Faculty Center, 919 W. Illinois St., Urbana.

“Healthy lifestyles is a topic in the national spotlight – from what children eat, concern about lack of exercise, and graphic charts depicting the national weight gain to whether community design contributes to these observations,” said program coordinator Pattsi Petrie. “This institute builds on last year’s theme, ‘Innovative Community Planning.’ ”

Now in its sixth year, the institute draws participants from the academic, government and public service sectors. This year’s program also is expected to appeal to health-care professionals as well as to all citizens interested in improving the quality of life in their neighborhoods. Of special interest for the health-care professionals, Petrie said, is a half-day workshop on March 3 on ‘The Spatial and Social Implication of Aging.” The workshop, presented by Bob Scarfo, professor of landscape architecture at Washington State University, is sponsored by Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana.

“The A-major goal of the planning institute is to offer an efficient, one-stop learning venue for both practitioners and citizen planners, and an opportunity to dialogue and network,” Petrie said. The two-day event includes lectures, panels and workshops on topics ranging from “walkable” schools and wi-fi (wireless) communities to designing communities for healthy as well as active and multigenerational living.

Also on the program are guest lectures by Richard Killingsworth, Jerome Kaufman and Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn. Other presenters include faculty members from the U. of I. and elsewhere, along with state and municipal officials, citizen planners and professionals.

Kicking off the event will be a “pre-institute” talk by Kaufman at 7 p.m. on March 2 in Plym Auditorium, Temple Buell Hall, 611 E. Lorado Taft Drive, Champaign. Kaufman, a member of the American Planning Association and a fellow in the American Institute of Certified Planners, will deliver the Louis B. Wetmore Planning Practice Lecture “The Role of Planners in the Emerging Field of Community Food System Planning.” The talk is free and open to the public.

The Wetmore lecture is named in honor of emeritus professor Louis B. Wetmore, who in the 1950s and ’60s headed what was then known as the department of city planning and landscape architecture at Illinois.

The planning institute gets under way the following day, with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. on the fourth floor of the Levis Center. At 8:30 a.m., Christopher Silver, professor and head of urban and regional planning at the U. of I., will welcome institute participants. Quinn will visit mid-morning to share remarks about the importance of community design as related to healthy lifestyles.

Concurrent morning and afternoon sessions are scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 5:20 p.m., with a lunch break, on the third floor of Levis Center. The luncheon will feature welcoming remarks by Kathleen Conlin, the dean of the U. of I. College of Fine and Applied Arts.

That evening, the venues shift: From 5 to 7 p.m., a reception honoring Killingsworth, the director of Active Living by Design, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, will be held at Civitas, the department of urban and regional planning’s Community Design Center, 112 W. Main St., Urbana. Two futuristic planning tools will be exhibited – “the CUBE,” a virtual program that displays sprawl in Kane County, and “the smart board,” a tool used to enhance decision-making.

Killingsworth will present the School of Architecture’s Max Abramovitz Distinguished Lecture at 7:30 p.m. in Plym Auditorium at Temple Buell Hall. The talk, free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by the Lorado Taft Lectureship on Art and the Center for Advanced Study.

The institute resumes on March 4 at Levis Center, beginning at 7:30 a.m. with a coffee hour, registration and informal networking. Concurrent sessions run from 8:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Co-sponsors of the institute include the U. of I. at Chicago, the Illinois chapter of the American Planning Association, and the Illinois chapter of the American Association of Landscape Architects, Carle Foundation Hospital, and Champaign County Development Council Foundation.

A complete program, as well as online registration and a fee schedule, is available on the web, or by contacting Petrie at 217-244-7424 or