Sunday, March 8, 2015

ET Index Livability Annual Report 2015 Meeting (03.06.2015)

This week I attended the East Tennessee Annual Report meeting. My first internship was for PlanET so it was interesting to see the livability report and how over the course of a year, so many unique projects had been occurring in the region. I think meetings like this are very important as they function both as a manner of citizen engagement but also serve to notify local government officials to real issues affecting the public and ways to sustainably combat environmental problems. The quality of data and available information about the infrastructure were incredibly powerful. Networking and speaking with local Chamber of Commerce members as well as the Mayor were particular highlights of the meeting for me.

Working for the Smart Communities Initiative, we are doing similar work from the background and it has been very valuable to be engaged with projects like this from the ground up. I can’t even begin to express how wonderful it has been to see projects potentially be implemented by the group I work for in rural cities and help to solve livability issues that cities are struggling with. I feel this experience has been an incredible opportunity and many of the skills I am learning now will greatly influence my life path and decisions I make in the professional realm of design. I hope to continue being involved in civic projects and combat community issues through my work in the future. Seeing what groups like PlanET have done for the community and how local officials are working towards a more sustainable future is so exciting and promising. The potential for change is there-- we just have to harness it.

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