For Immediate Release Contact: Elizabeth Humphrey, Executive Director
May 3, 2004 Growth Management Leadership Alliance
Conan Smith, Land Programs Director
Michigan Environmental Council
Conan Smith Named VP of National Land Use Initiative
LANSING – Saturday Michigan Environmental Council Land Programs Director Conan Smith was elected vice-president of the national Growth Management Leadership Alliance. GMLA is a network of leaders from organizations that carry out programs to directly shape and implement smart growth policies and actions. GMLA members represent 28 states and the Canadian province of British Columbia and include regional powerhouses like the Regional Plan Association in New York, the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League and 1,000 Friend of Oregon.
The GMLA vice-president succeeds the current president in the following year. According to Smith, moving into a leadership role in the organization is an opportunity to help develop a national voice opposed to urban sprawl.
“We all know that land use is primarily a local issue, but opponents of Smart Growth increasingly use the national stage to undermine sustainable development,” Smith said. “GMLA is that place where the nation’s best advocates can come together to form a national response.”
Smith has worked with the Michigan Environmental Council on land use issues since 1998. As the Land Programs Director he helps build cohesive support in the environmental community for Smart Growth policies among the state’s environmental organizations and their constituents. His program focuses on helping environmental activists connect with their state lawmakers and navigate the complex mechanics of the state capital.
Considered one the Michigan’s foremost voices on Smart Growth public polices, Conan has helped build a network of land use activists advocating executive branch leadership, coordinated planning, multimodal transportation, and other Smart Growth tools for state and local governments. His work has been integral in creating conservation subdivision design standards for local governments, instituting an asset management program within the Michigan Department of Transportation, advancing regional governance opportunities and securing more than $55 million in increased funding for mass transit in the state.
In addition to his work with GMLA, Smith has served as a board member for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and 1,000 Friends of Metro Detroit.
For more information about the Growth Management Leadership Alliance, visit their website at www.gmla.org.