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U of M Will Host Conference on Livability and Transportation May 13-14 University News
For release: April 27, 2010

For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901/678-2843

The University of Memphis’ Papasan Public Policy Institute will host “A Livable Mid-South: How Transportation Can Enhance Socio-economic Development and Quality of Life” May 13-14.

The conference will begin with a screening of the PBS documentary Blueprint America: Beyond the Motor City at 7 p.m. May 13 in the University Center Theatre. The film explores how America’s decision to invest in highways and automotive infrastructure has come, in some cities, at the expense of accessible metro transit systems, historic preservation, local ecology, safe biking and walking, and urban vitality. A panel discussion will follow the film.

The May 14 sessions will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in The Zone of the FedEx Institute of Technology. Speakers will include U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen; Aaron Woolf, producer of Beyond the Motor City; Scott Bernstein, president of the Center for Neighborhood Technology; and Leslie Blakey, executive director of the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors.

There will be breakout sessions, with box lunches provided, at 11:30 a.m.

“From diapers to golf clubs, the things we buy have to find a way to our stores,” said Sean Ellis, associate director of the U of M’s Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute. “Keeping freight movement in the conversation about livability makes sense for every community, but especially for Memphis. We are excited to be a part of the discussion of how Memphis can improve livability for its citizens.”

Dr. Marian Levy, associate professor and director of the U of M’s Master of Public Health program, added, “Transportation planning, green jobs, pedestrian safety, and walkable neighborhoods all work in synergy to impact public health through healthier communities and improved quality of life.”

The conference is open to the public at no charge. Seating is limited, however, so early registration is encouraged. Registration is available online at, by phone at 901-678-4966, or via email to

Parking is available in the Fogelman parking garage on Innovation Drive.

The event is co-sponsored by the University’s Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute, Division of City and Regional Planning, and School of Public Health.

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