UConn News HomeUConn News

Conference Explores Urban Sprawl in Connecticut
(Released: 04/19/01)

By Allison Thompson, Office of University Communications

HARTFORD, Conn. -- As Connecticut's population grows, officials must find ways to accommodate new residents while controlling any ill effects of the state's boom. An April 24th conference at the University of Connecticut School of Law will explore how Connecticut can successfully do this.

During Sprawl and Its Enemies: The Experiences of Two Cities, the Ninth Annual Gallivan Conference on Real Property Law, speakers will discuss efforts to control urban sprawl in Portland, Ore., and California's Silicon Valley, and consider what Connecticut can learn from their experiences. The conference will take place from 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Starr Reading Room at the School of Law, 55 Elizabeth St., Hartford.

"Portland and the Silicon Valley each have been working to control the negative effects of sprawl for more than 25 years," says Terry J. Tondro, a professor of law. "In the past several years, many other states have begun programs, but none have had the lengthy experience of successes and failures as Portland and the Silicon Valley."

For more than 20 years, growth in Portland has been restricted to the area inside the Urban Growth Boundary. Outside that line, the lack of strip malls, parking lots and office complexes results in acres of open space.

Silicon Valley, which has flourished because of the presence of high-tech companies, is fighting to control growth. The Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group, a private organization that sponsors mass transit and highway improvement projects, affordable housing construction, and controlled municipal growth in the area, is an important part of the efforts.

Connecticut, which experienced a population increase of 3.6 percent from 1990 to 2000, can learn from both areas' experiences. While the population in cities such as Hartford and New Haven declined during the last decade, the population in areas considered suburbs of New York has increased. Fairfield County, for example, gained 55,000 new residents during the past 10 years and is now the state's most populous county. During the same time period, Middlesex County's population grew by 8.3 percent, making it the state's fastest growing county. Many of the cities in those two counties are beginning to contend with high home prices, traffic congestion and other urban sprawl issues that Portland and the Silicon Valley have already struggled with.

"Connecticut's empty spots are being filled in, not its already developed areas. Tobacco fields, once expansive open spaces except for the occasional barn, have been replaced with expanses of often look-alike housing developments," Tondro says. "We need to create a picture in our minds of how Connecticut will look in the future, which cannot be the Connecticut of the past. We hope this conference will stimulate some thinking about what that future picture will look like."

The conference begins at 8:45 a.m. with welcoming remarks from Law School Dean Nell Jessup Newton and Tondro. From 9 to 11 a.m., a panel of experts will discuss growth in Silicon Valley. Carl Guardino, the president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group, will lead the discussion.

From 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m., a second group will discuss efforts to control urban sprawl in Portland. Robert Stacey, the former planning director for the city of Portland and former executive director of policy and planning at the Portland region's transit agency, will be the principal speaker. Stacey is now a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

At 1:15 p.m., Henry R. Richmond, founder and former executive director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, an organization dedicated to protecting Oregon's quality of life from the adverse effects of growth, will give the keynote address. Richmond also founded the National Growth Management Leadership Project, a consortium of 25 statewide land-use policy reform organizations, and the American Land Institute.

Conference Schedule

8:30 a.m. Registration & Coffee

8:45 a.m. Welcome and Introduction
Nell Jessup Newton, dean, University of Connecticut School of Law

Terry J. Tondro, Thomas F. Gallivan Jr. Professor of Real Property Law, University of Connecticut School of Law

9 a.m. Panel Discussion: Silicon Valley
Carl Guardino, president and CEO, Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group

Emil H. Frankel, attorney and former commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation

Michael P. Meotti, president of the Connecticut Public Policy and Economic Council and chair of the Connecticut Economic Conference Board

Susan J. Bryson, visiting lecturer at Yale Law School and chair of Wiggin and Dana's Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Department

Hank Dittmar, president and CEO of Great American Station Foundation, which promotes community and economic development

11 a.m. Break

11:15 a.m. Panel Discussion: Portland, Oregon
Robert Stacey, Loeb Fellow at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, former planning director for the city of Portland, and former executive director of policy and planning for the Portland region's transit agency

Vicki Been, professor at New York University Law School and the co-author of Land Use Controls

Robert D.Yaro, executive director of the Regional Plan Association, co-author of A Region at Risk, author of Dealing with Change in the Connecticut River Valley, and a Harvard University lecturer

Jefferson B. Davis, member of the Connecticut General Assembly, house chair of the planning and development committee

1 p.m. Break

1:15 p.m. Lunch
Henry Richmond, founder and former executive director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, founder and chairman of National Growth Management Leadership Project, founder and president of American Land Institute

April 2001 Releases
UConn News Homepage