Regional Development Summit Will Focus on “Growing Opportunity”

Issue Date: 
October 22, 2007

Pitt, Sustainable Pittsburgh host free public summit Nov. 16

Sustainable Pittsburgh, in partnership with the Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), will present the region’s fourth-annual Regional Equitable Development Summit.

Titled “Most Livable Region by Growing Opportunity for All,” the free public summit will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nov. 16 in the Twentieth Century Club, 4201 Bigelow Blvd., Oakland. It will feature a keynote address by David Rusk and a panel discussion on initiating reforms that will narrow the region’s racial disparities gap.

According to Sustainable Pittsburgh, the region’s sustainability is dependent on increasing social equity, so all people can live and work to their productive potential. The summit is intended to serve as a catalyst for engaging civic leaders in helping advance existing efforts for regional equity in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

“The disparities gap between Blacks and Whites in our region, among the worst in the nation, is a serious human and economic crisis that compromises quality of life and competitiveness,” said Court Gould, executive director of Sustainable Pittsburgh.

Rusk, author of Cities Without Suburbs (Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1993), Baltimore Unbound (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), and Inside Game/Outside Game (Brookings Institution Press, 2001), is a former chair of the Ways and Means Committee of the New Mexico House of Representatives and former mayor of Albuquerque.

The keynote address will serve as GSPIA’s Annual Wherrett Lecture on Local Governing.

“To truly tout ourselves as America’s most livable city—or region for that matter—we must be accountable to ensure all people of the region have an opportunity to live to their full productive potential,” said Kevin Kearns, professor of public and nonprofit management in GSPIA and director of the Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership.

The summit will feature information on the current work of some of the region’s leading champions of equitable development, as well as provide an opportunity for attendees to share their thoughts and ideas.

“The annual Regional Equitable Development Summit plays an important role in illustrating the many ways that our region’s growth and development can either narrow the disparities gap or inadvertently increase it and move us in the wrong direction,” said David Miller, associate dean of GSPIA.

Community panelists will discuss community benefits agreements, minority contracting, environment and public health, access to work, education, affordable housing, workforce development, economic development, and racial and economic inclusion.

Moderated by Sala Udin of the Coro Center for Civic Leadership, panelists will include Jane Downing of the Pittsburgh Foundation, Aimee LeFevers of Good Schools Pennsylvania, Luis Rico of Western Pennsylvania Diversity Initiative, and Tim Stevens of the Black Political Empowerment Project. A full listing of panelists can be found on Sustainable Pittsburgh’s Web site,

The summit is sponsored by the Richard King Mellon Foundation and The Heinz Endowments. To register or for more information, contact Sustainable Pittsburgh at 412-258-6642, or visit its Web site.