Flourishing Beyond the Legacy of Oil

The symposium brought together students, academics, government, legal, and planning representatives, and industry professionals, to talk about the future of cities like Philadelphia, as they deal with the transforming influence of oil and other energy sources. We were joined by 18 experts speaking from their professional perspectives about the impact of oil, who have hands-on experience redesigning the city of Philadelphia for a sustainable future.

Invited Guests

Christopher Barr: Principal, Post & Schell, P.C.

Robert Bereskin: President, Bereskin & Associates

Genie Birch: Professor, Department of City and Regional Planning, University of Pennsylvania

Steve Cobb: Director of Legislation, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, City of Philadelphia

Thomas Dalfo: Vice President, Philadelphia Economic Development Corporation  

Harold Y. Finigan: Energy Investor

John Haak: Senior Planner, Philadelphia Planning Commission 

Dennis Hardy: Naval Research Laboratory, retired.

Donna Henry: Executive Director, Southwest Community Development Corporation

David Hughes: Associate Professor of Anthropology, Rutgers University

Sara Pantelidou: Geologist, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

Harris M. Steinberg: Executive Director, PennPraxis, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania

Joe Syrnick: President, Schuylkill River Development Corporation

Peter Trueblood: Retired, Chevron Corporation

Paul Ugor: Professor, Centre of West African Studies, University of Birmingham

Joanna Underwood: President, Energy Vision

Tom Washbon: Industrial Development Manager, Norfolk Southern Corporation

Bill Westhafer: Principal Architect, Environetics®

Conference Details

Friday, January 18th, 2013

Katharine Hepburn Teaching Theater, Bryn Mawr College
101 North Merion Avenue,
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010


8:30-9:00      Registration
9:00-9:30      Opening remarks - Carola Hein,

                     of Growth and Structure of Cities 
9:45-10:45      Concurrent Panels
10:45-11:15    Coffee Break
11:15-12:15    Full Symposium

12:15-1:30     Buffet Lunch

1:45-3:15       Design Exercise
3:15-3:45       Coffee Break
3:45-4:50       Reporting Out

4:50-5:50       Closing Remarks – David Ross, Professor of Economics

The Concurrent Panels session will be student-moderated and focus on a series of questions around the issues of oil and energy in the 21st century. These conversations will give participants a sense of the vigorous sharing of information that has delighted the students, faculty, and guest speakers all semester long.

Enriched by the conversations of the morning, participants will be invited to reconvene for the Design Exercise session, in which they will be assigned to one of six planning teams that will try to imagine and create a practical vision of Philadelphia flourishing beyond the legacy of oil.

Reporting Out session provides a chance to share the fruits of the brainstorming from Design Exercise, and discuss major lessons among all students, guest speakers and the general audience.