Fishel Town Hall highlights Smart Growth at Museum of Natural Sciences, March 30

For immediate release ‐ February 17, 2017

Contact: Jon Pishney, 919.707.8083. Images available upon request

WRAL's Greg Fishel

RALEIGH, N.C. — Half of humanity, nearly 3.5 billion of us, live in cities. By 2030, almost 60 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas with 95 percent of that expansion happening in the developing world. Rapid urbanization puts pressure on fresh water supplies, sewage, the natural environment, and public health. Learn about the challenges that cities are facing around the globe and in particular here at home when WRAL chief meteorologist Greg Fishel leads a new Town Hall discussion — “Smart Growth: Making Our Cities Sustainable” — at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Thursday, March 30, 7–8:30 p.m. Fishel will be joined by Vatsal Bhatt of the U.S. Green Building Council and Kenneth Bowers, Director of Planning for the City of Raleigh. Find out how we can overcome a variety of challenges and help our cities continue to thrive and grow, while improving resource use and reducing pollution and poverty. The event is free.

Vatsal Bhatt consults with the U.S. Green Building Council as the director of cities and neighborhood developments, where he helped conceptualize and make operational the LEED for Cities program. As a senior energy policy analyst at the Brookhaven National Laboratory he has worked on various national and international assignments on energy systems analysis and low-carbon development for the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, universities, foundations, and international governments. Bhatt has led the USDOE’s U.S.-India-China Cities Partnership for 2007-2014 and provided technical assistance to the governments of India and China and state and local governments on low-carbon urban growth strategies and EcoCity planning and implementation. He serves as a senior policy advisor to USDOS managed US-China EcoPartnerships Secretariat.

Ken Bowers joined the City of Raleigh as Deputy Planning Director in 2006, was named Interim Director of Planning and Development in April 2014, and became Planning Director in January 2015. During his tenure with Raleigh he has overseen the preparation and adoption of a new 2030 Comprehensive Plan, a new development code and zoning map to implement the plan, and numerous area plans and studies for our fast-growing city. Prior to joining the City of Raleigh, Bowers was a consultant and Principal with the firm of Phillips Preiss Shapiro Associates in New York City, where he prepared plans, market studies, and economic strategies for public, private and nonprofit clients in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut region and beyond.

This Town Hall addresses the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, which focuses on ensuring the development of inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities. This program is part of a series at the Museum ― The Nature of Science: A Town Hall with Greg Fishel ― inspired by Albert Einstein’s view that “To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.” The series is designed to provide in-depth discussions with leaders from around the globe, as they explore the major scientific and environmental issues of our time. Comments and questions from the audience are encouraged.

Doors to the WRAL 3D Theater open at 6:30 p.m. All guests are invited to attend a coffee and dessert reception following the program from 8:30 to 9 p.m. in the Museum’s Natural Treasures Gallery. This program is made possible by the Friends of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and Capitol Broadcasting Company.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (11 and 121 W. Jones St.) in downtown Raleigh is an active research institution that engages visitors of every age and stage of learning in the wonders of science and the natural world, drawing them into the intriguing fields of study that are critical to the future of North Carolina. Hours: Mon.– Sat., 9 a.m. –5 p.m., and Sun., noon–5 p.m. Visit the Museum online at Emlyn Koster, PhD, Museum Director.

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