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Reality Check Hampton Roads II to Take a Second Look at Managing Regional Growth

Robert GrowRobert Grow

More than 300 community leaders gathered at Old Dominion University last May to collectively predict the region's future, during an innovative event known as Reality Check Hampton Roads.

Representatives of various interest groups - from developers, to environmentalists, to academics - gathered around tables and "planned" the next 25 years of growth for the region. Sponsored by the Urban Land Institute Hampton Roads District Council, ODU's E.V. Williams Center for Real Estate and Economic Development (CREED) and the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, Reality Check was a real-time simulation where stakeholders had to work together to find a shared solution to manage regional growth.

On Thursday, May 16, that event will be revisited at ODU's Ted Constant Convocation Center. Reality Check Hampton Roads: Advancing the Vision will offer an opportunity for participants at the 2012 event to hear the results and developments that have taken place since that landmark gathering. First-time participants are also welcome.

"We were proud to participate in Reality Check Hampton Roads as one of the event sponsors," said John Lombard, Chair of ODU's Department of Urban Studies and Public Administration and CREED executive director. "This region, like many growing urban areas in the United States, faces a challenge of managing sustainable growth, to position the region for economic success for the long term."

This year's event, which will run from 3-5 p.m., features a keynote address by Robert J. Grow, president and CEO of Envision Utah, a partnership of public and private groups that work together to keep Utah "beautiful, prosperous and neighborly" for future generations.

The event also includes a panel called "Advancing the Vision." The panelists are Chris Bonney, chair of the Hampton Roads Center for Civic Engagement; Dwight Farmer, executive director of the Hampton Roads District Planning Council; Florence Kingston, director of the Department of Development for the city of Newport News; John Peterson, vice chair for mission advancement with the Urban Land Institute; and Bob Fenning, ODU's vice president for administration and finance.

The afternoon programs will be followed by a cocktail and networking session at 5 p.m.

During the original Reality Check event, participants, in groups of 10, added another 350,000 residents to the region (the projected growth in Hampton Roads by 2035) by placing Lego blocks on a map. The real-time aspect of the exercise forced participants to quickly reach a consensus on how and where to permit development, keeping in mind the need to avoid protected areas, like wetlands, and to keep infrastructure development in pace with population growth.

At the May 16 event, the collective decisions made by last year's Reality Check participants will be discussed and compared to the region's existing growth plan.

To be part of this dialogue about the future of Hampton Roads, register at Sabrina@rubincommunications.com. Parking for Reality Check Hampton Roads: Advancing the Vision is free and available in the Constant Center South Garage at 43rd Street.

ODU's E.V. Williams Center for Real Estate and Economic Development is a member-based organization whose mission is to connect the multidisciplinary analyses, innovative curriculum and research under way at ODU with students, industry and the public sector interested and engaged in the real estate and economic development communities.

CREED maintains a comprehensive collection of information, including detailed demographic and real estate data, and employs the latest in geographic information and mapping software. The center publishes annual real estate market reviews on the office, industrial, retail, single-family and multifamily real estate markets. CREED also offers various pertinent and timely programming, including the annual Hampton Roads Market Review and Forecast, to benefit the real estate and economic development communities of Hampton Roads.

For more information visit the CREED website at http://ww2.bpa.odu.edu/creed/#. Follow CREED on Facebook at www.facebook.com/oducreed.