Right now we have ULI Fellow Ed McMahon speaking, with comparisons between the US and European approaches to infrastructure development, increasing costs to maintain and expand our highway systems, the increasing cost of fuel, and other infrastructure issues.

He’s also touched on climate change, and the danger facing us (he quickly blew off ‘deniers’, which was nice in a room of business leaders) if we don’t reduce vehicle miles traveled. He’s talked about how many new residents the urban core has versus the suburbs – about 40,000 each in this region since 2000. That kind of split is unsustainable, and we’re charged now with changing that split.

He’s almost giving the James Howard Kunstler talk about sprawl and urban design – he’s brought up the lack of sense of place in suburban sprawl, and the impact of sprawl on our water and air.

Update 09:20: McMahon is now discussing planning. I love his quote: “Failure to plan is planning to fail.” He points out that it’s not enough to just build light rail – it’s necessary to plan transit oriented development around it.