February 12, 2008 — Peter Newman, professor of sustainability at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, will give the annual Harry W. Porter, Jr. Visiting Professor Lecture at the University of Virginia School of Architecture on Friday, Feb. 15 at 5 p.m., in Campbell Hall room 158.
Newman’s lecture, "Cities as Sustainable Ecosystems: Making Cities a Positive Force for Sustainability," will discuss the information in his latest book, "Cities as Sustainable Ecosystems," co-written with scholar Isabella Jennings, (Island Press, 2008). Newman conducted research for the book while participating as a Fulbright Fellow at U.Va. in 2006-07.
A renowned Australian planner, author and educator, Newman invented the term "automobile dependence" to describe how we have created cities where driving is mandatory for basic transportation. For 30 years, since he attended Stanford University during the first oil crisis, he has been warning cities about preparing for peak oil. Newman’s book with Jeff Kenworthy, "Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence," was launched at the White House in 1999.
Newman is perhaps best known for his work in reviving and extending the city's rail system in Perth, which is heralded as a model for how car dependent cities can evolve toward sustainable transport. From 2001–03 Newman directed the production of Western Australia’s Sustainability Strategy in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet. It was the first state sustainability strategy in the world. In 2004–05 he served as the Sustainability Commissioner in Sydney, advising the government on planning issues.
The Harry W. Porter, Jr. Chair Distinguished Visiting Professorship is established at the School of Architecture in honor of the "unforgettable" Harry Porter, former dean of architecture and Architect for the University, as well as the founder of the program in landscape architecture, whose career at U.Va. spanned more than two decades.