Portland forum will tackle sustainability and the future

Green plant and stock market graph

If everything goes as planned — not counting Google’s automated-vehicle accident in Arizona last week — you’ll be sitting behind the wheel of your own self-driving car sooner than you think. But as with any new technology, how will advancements such as this not only fit into our culture but also affect our economy?

That is exactly what the Green Business Initiative Student Association hopes to answer in its 10th annual symposium, “Future Technology and the Emerging Green Economy,” at the UO’s White Stag Building in downtown Portland on April 14.

The association, one of the first student organizations of its kind, includes law students from the University of Oregon School of Law and graduate students from the Lundquist College of Business. For the conference, it has gathered experts and leaders from across the Pacific Northwest to discuss green transportation, green energy, urban agriculture, urban development and what a green economy might look like, among other topics.

Nico Larco, associate professor of architecture and a nationally recognized expert in sustainable urban design and development, will present the keynote address on the effects of emerging technologies on city form, design and development, and what consequences they will have on sustainable cities.

“The growth of emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles and e-commerce are going to have dramatic effects on cities, and these changes will not all be positive,” Larco said.  “Anyone interested in sustainability needs to be paying attention or much of the hard-fought progress we have made over the last few decades may quickly be undone.”

Other notable speakers include Andrew Dick, director of connected and automated vehicles at the Oregon Department of Transportation; Jeff Allen, executive director of Drive Oregon; Angela Goldsmith of the Oregon Sustainable Agriculture Land Trust; and Michael Russo, professor of sustainable management at the Lundquist College of Business, who will discuss if sustainability is economically viable.

 “There is no doubt that technology will become a prime mover of the green economy,” Russo said. “The opportunities for transformational innovation will span all industries and all economies.”

The symposium is open to the public and runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the White Stag Building, 70 NW Couch St. For more information and to register at no cost, visit https://orgreenbusiness.com/symposium-2017/.

By Laurie Notaro, University Communications