The Green Column #27

Meeting of the Minds 2010 Convenes in Omaha,
a First for the Midwest

June 6, 2010—Host to the Meeting of the Minds 2010 leadership summit, Omaha and Lincoln will provide a platform for an unusual gathering of political, business and nonprofit sector leaders—all convening to discuss innovative approaches to sustainability in our cities and communities.

The mayors of Omaha and Lincoln, and their new offices for Sustainability Coordination have been active participants in attracting and organizing this trend-setting conference. The 2010 summit marks the first gathering of sponsors, partners and stakeholders in the Midwest. Previous annual meetings have convened on the east and west coasts.

The Meeting of the Minds 2010 leadership summit, Connecting the Dots: The Innovations We Need for Sustainable Cities will be held on June 16-18, 2010 in Omaha at the Qwest Center. Participants will have an opportunity to devise better formulas for small and large cities.

The two-and-a-half day meeting will incubate strategies for a sustainable future based on new principles for economic, environmental, social, technologies, and public policy development.

To promote this “rethink” of urban and regional development, Urban Age Institute and Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities join forces with global partners to convene the 2010 Meeting of the Minds. Toyota, Siemens AG, Cemex, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Urban Land Institute, Jones Lang LaSalle, Gallup, United Nation’s Habitat and Global Compact Cities Programmes, Regional Plan Association and Metropolis are among the summit’s many esteemed partners.

The summit will connect approximately 200 city and national government leaders with private sector and design professionals throughout the many informational and networking opportunities.

Meeting of the Minds 2010’s opening sessions will feature lessons learned from four cities—two American cities and two cities in the Netherlands—grappling with sustainable urban development. Charles Rutheiser, Senior Fellow in the Anne E. Casey Foundation’s Civic Sites and Initiatives Unit, and Gabriel Metcalf, Executive Director of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, will present on the experiences of Baltimore and San Francisco, respectively.

Saskia Ruijsink, Specialist in Urban and Regional Management at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, will introduce a new short film detailing how Rotterdam and Delft are dealing with climate change.

Zerofootprint Foundation’s CEO, Ron Dembo, will showcase the Re-Skinning Awards’ winning projects. Each prize winner demonstrates innovative retrofitting energy technologies and systems for existing urban buildings, ready to be applied in today’s market. Each winner’s work features replicable solutions that are designed to enhance both the efficiency and livability of the world’s existing housing stock.

Representatives of the Joslyn Institute will present their unique strategies and Nebraska models for education for Sustainability Leaders and their system of Sustainometrics for measuring community progress toward becoming a sustainable community.

Sustainability Coordinators from the largest cities in the Midwest will gather for their first-ever meeting and they will lead two breakout sessions on sustainability at the city level. One will concentrate on integrating sustainability into the community’s comprehensive plan. A second session will focus on the energy-efficiency imperative facing cities.

A third session will feature the Living Labs for Best Practices scattered around the world’s cities, chaired by Neal Peirce (Washington Post Writers Group). A fourth session, chaired by Barbara Hewson (Chief of the Urban Finance Branch of the United Nations Habitat Programme), will lead a debate on smart financing for affordable housing.

In conjunction with the first Regional Energy Innovation Summit, convening on June 16 in Omaha, a special evening program will intermingle guests of the White House Office of Social Innovation and the Kauffman Foundation with leaders from this Meeting of the Minds 2010. Howard Buffett, Policy Advisor in the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, will share findings from the Energy Innovation Midwest Summit during Thursday’s discussions.

Live broadband video streaming of the presentations on June 17, 18, and a post-conference publication of the events and recommendations will be available to the public during and after the close of the summit.

The co-conveners of the 2010 Meeting of the Minds are:
Urban Age Institute
The Urban Age Institute is an independent nonprofit working to support innovators based inside the world’s cities. It publishes Urban Age Magazine and delivers programs around the globe. Visit for more information, and

Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities
The Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities, based out of Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska, engages both the local and international community to promote an integrated approach to sustainability through education, public visioning and partnership. Visit for more information.

For more information on the 2010 annual program visit

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