GreenTown: The Future of Community | Creating Healthy, Sustainable Communities

GreenTown Comes to Valparaiso


Statewide sustainable community experience to be held September 27-28 at Valparaiso University

June 27, 2012, Valparaiso, Indiana—The City of Valparaiso will host GreenTown: The Future of Community, an event designed to create healthy, sustainable communities, on September 27-28, 2012. The conference, which will attract hundreds of people from the public and private sector from around Indiana and the Midwest, will take place at Valparaiso University in the conference center at Harre Union.

“Vibrant and visionary—that’s Valparaiso,” said Jon Costas, Mayor of Valparaiso. “Increasingly, we are working more closely with partners in the community to foster a sense of cooperation. Together we can make our communities stronger for generations to come. By hosting GreenTown in Valparaiso on the campus of Valparaiso University, we are making a case for a stronger future.”

According to Valparaiso University President Mark Heckler, Valparaiso is an excellent choice to host GreenTown because of the cooperative spirit between the University and the city. The University, he says, is driving toward the goal of a sustainable campus, making buildings energy efficient, developing a car-sharing program and building a solar furnace, — the nation’s first at an undergraduate institution. “We are working on ideas and solutions — big and small. As we learn, the next generation does, too, making them leaders in the future,” Heckler said. “At the same time, these ideas will make Valparaiso a community where people want to live and work.”

Co-produced by a5 and Seven Generations Ahead, GreenTown has been a catalyst for sustainability around the Midwest since 2007, with events held in such communities as Chicago, Oak Park, Elgin, Aurora and Lake County in Illinois; Grand Rapids, Michigan and Terre Haute, Indiana. In addition to connecting the dots between government and the private sector, GreenTown fosters community sustainability planning and implementation.

Keynote speakers for GreenTown include:

- Richard Jackson, Professor and Chair of Environmental Health Sciences at UCLA, is a physician, author and advocate for healthy, sustainable communities. Jackson’s recent book, Designing Healthy Communities, and his public television program of the same name, argues that the built environment has a huge impact on human health—and that the trend has made us less healthy over the past three decades.

- Adrian Scott Fine, Director of Advocacy for the Los Angeles Conservancy, will talk about the importance of historic preservation in communities. He is a former director with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The complete GreenTown agenda will be posted by August 1. Sessions will cover:

  • Green economy
  • Sustainability planning and implementation
  • Local food, healthy living
  • Clean water
  • Complete streets
  • Green infrastructure
  • Energy

…and more.

Pre-conference workshops will take place in the afternoon on Thursday, September 27 and include:

*Towns & Gowns: How Towns and Higher Education Collaborate to Develop Healthy, Sustainable Communities

Led by the Indiana Green Campus Network, this workshop will bring together leaders from colleges and universities around the state of Indiana.

*Making Sustainable Midwestern Landscapes

Led by the Midwest Ecological Landscape Alliance, this workshop will teach participants how to create healthy landscapes for people and planet and profit.

*The Natural Step: Leading the Way to a Sustainable Future

Led by Mike Keen, Professor of Sociology, Director of the Center for a Sustainable Future, Indiana University South Bend, this workshop utilizes the Natural Step framework to drive sustainability.

In addition to the City of Valparaiso and Valparaiso University, GreenTown is supported by: Valparaiso Economic Development Corporation (VEDC),?Porter County Economic Development Alliance (PCEDA), Northwestern Indiana Regional ?Planning Commission/MPO (NIRPC) and Indiana Dunes Tourism.

Sponsors include Andrews LeFevre Studios, Cardno JFNew,?Conservation Design Forum,?Davey Tree Expert Company,?Elara Engineering,?Pizzo & Associates, Ltd., Recycled Granite and Unilock.

Sponsorships and exhibitor slots are available through Charles Colley at

To learn more or to register, go to

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About the City of Valparaiso

Valparaiso is a progressive community of nearly 32,000 citizens, located just minutes from the south shores of Lake Michigan. The city is dedicated to retaining its historic charm as it embraces the future in projects that combine progress and preservation. Recent examples include downtown redevelopment that features vintage looking lighting and infrastructure alongside a state-of-the-art sound system and a new city park with modern pavilion and bubbling splash pad. The city was the first in the state of Indiana to introduce the use of roundabouts on a state roadway, increasing efficiency and reducing accidents. The city has also recently introduced both an intra-city bus service and a daily express bus to and from Chicago, reducing automobile traffic and resulting pollution. Valparaiso remains committed to a green lifestyle by adding miles to its pathway system each year, continuing to increase its recycling diversion rate annually and working aggressively to conserve water and protect waterways. Valparaiso was recently selected as Community of the Year for the state of Indiana by the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce. To learn more, go to

About Valparaiso University

Valparaiso University is a comprehensive independent Lutheran university with more than 4,000 students on its campus located in Northwest Indiana, an hour from Chicago. Valpo is a community of purpose-driven, service-minded and ethical individuals who embrace the pursuit of truth with freedom, humility and compassion. Valpo has been identified as one of the top master’s-level institutions in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report magazine for the past 22 years. Valparaiso University offers 110 undergraduate academic programs through the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Engineering and Nursing. Valpo also has a distinguished honors college, a School of Law and more than 40 degree and certificate programs in its Graduate School and Continuing Education Division. Valpo has been recognized for its commitment to outstanding teaching, preparing thoughtful leaders with strong cross-cultural skills and global awareness, and dedication to serving others. To learn more, go to

About a5

a5 is a brand consultancy that tells its clients’ stories in a clear, concise, consistent and compelling manner. Based in Chicago with offices in Grand Rapids, St. Louis and Tampa, a5 works with communities, non-profits, healthcare, financial services and consumer products to get results. a5 co-founded GreenTown in 2007 and now works on branding, sustainability planning and comprehensive planning for communities, including Flint, Michigan and Oak Park, Illinois. To learn more, go to

About Seven Generations Ahead

Founded in 2001, Seven Generations Ahead’s mission is to promote the development of ecologically sustainable and healthy communities.   SGA works with local government, community and private sector leaders to help communities make the changes they need to create a healthy and sustainable future.  Through community-wide sustainability planning and implementation, educational conferences and consulting, and school-based zero waste and farm to school programming and consulting, SGA is a catalyst for local community solutions to global environmental issues.  SGA’s planning, implementation, education, and consulting work covers a broad range of sustainability topic areas, including: energy efficiency and renewable energy; transportation; community development; waste reduction; water conservation; green business development; local, sustainable food and healthy eating; open space and ecosystem enhancement; and sustainability education. To learn more, go to