Regional summit January 26 to focus on open space planning and economic growth

Research Triangle Region, N.C. – Business, government and nonprofit leaders and others who work in planning open spaces and promoting economic development are invited to attend a Jan. 26 summit in Raleigh to hear results of a regional open space inventory and learn how open space planning can support economic development.

The summit, “A Green Future for Economic Development: The Dollars and Sense of Open Space,” will be held 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the McKimmon Center at N.C. State University. Online registration is $30 through Jan. 19, 5 p.m.; $40 through event day.  Register online at

“Open space preservation can promote vibrant economic development and attract the talented workforce needed for our knowledge-based economy, while saving money and improving the quality of place and the health of our citizens,” said Pam Wall, vice president of product development for the Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP), which leads the regional quality-growth initiative.

The summit will feature keynote addresses by national experts in linking open space planning for economic development. They are: Chuck Flink, founder and president of Greenways Inc., a leading authority on planning, design and implementation of greenway and trail systems and facilities; and Edward T. McMahon, senior resident fellow and Charles E. Fraser Chair for Sustainable Development and Environmental Policy at the Urban Land Institute, an expert in open space planning to promote economic growth.

Workshop sessions will provide participants with information, tools, resources and examples of success to guide their efforts to pursue green economic development and open space planning.

The summit is part of a 15-county regional strategy to promote sustainable, quality growth that resulted from the February 2009 Reality Check event. That visioning exercise yielded three guiding principles communities should follow to promote quality growth: improving regional transit; creating vibrant town centers; and preserving green spaces, agricultural land and resources, especially water supply and quality.

Additional sponsors are Triangle Tomorrow and the Urban Land Institute Triangle; lunch sponsor IBM ; breakfast sponsor Fern Hill Farms; program sponsors Bert’s Bees and York Properties; and supporting sponsors Audubon Environmental Inc., Sig Hutchinson Communications, Triangle ULTRA and Triangle Community Coalition,  LS3P Associates LTD.  Sponsorships are still available. For information, contact Rosemary Wyche at or (919) 840-7372 ext. 14.

For more information on the summit, contact Wall at or (919) 840-7372 ext. 24.

The Research Triangle Regional Partnership is a public-private partnership that coordinates economic development for the Research Triangle Region, home of The Research Triangle Park and the 13 central-North Carolina counties of Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Moore, Orange, Person, Vance, Wake and Warren. The quality-growth initiative focuses on a 15-county region that also includes neighboring Alamance and Wilson counties. To learn more or get involved, contact RTRP at (919) 840-7372 or or visit





Sarah Slover

Graduate Program Coordinator

Department of Forestry & Environmental Resources

North Carolina State University

Box 8008

Raleigh, NC  27695