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Last Updated: 11/29/2022

Fresh Water and the Great Lakes Economic Future

On November 10, 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago hosted a symposium to explore the increasing value of the Great Lakes region's fresh water and associated habitat to its residents. As the nation's population and income have grown, the recreational use of lakes, wetlands and other open spaces has increased. How much will the recreational use of the Great Lakes grow and in what ways?

A related set of policy issues involves how the Great Lakes region can or should respond to rising demand for clean water, recreation and adjacent development. Investment in preservation and cleanup of Great Lakes waters present one set of policy options, as do other decisions concerning regulation, land use policies and consumptive uses of the waters.

The conference also investigated the region's legacy of fresh water treatment technology. Can the region's water treatment firms and its university researchers become a global center in providing its services to a world where clean fresh water is becoming increasingly scarce?

Monday, 11/10/08
7:30 AM
Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:15 AM
Welcome and Opening Remarks
William A. Testa, Vice President and Director or Regional Programs, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
8:30 AM
Session I
Mark Partridge, Professsor and Swank Chair in Rural-Urban Policy, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, The Ohio State University
John Austin, Executive Director, The New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan, and Nonresident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
John Braden, Director of Undergraduate Programs and Professor, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Q&A and General Discussion
David Albouy, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, University of Michigan, and Faculty Research Fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research
10:45 AM
Session II
Recreation and Retirement Communities: The Midwest and the Demographics of Tomorrow
Steven Deller, Professor, Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Donald Holecek, Professor and Director, Travel, Tourism and Recreational Resource Center, Michigan State University
Urban Waterfront Revitalization
David Ullrich, Executive Director, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative
Urban Waterfront Developments Around the World
Ann Breen, Co-director and President, The Waterfront Center
12:00 PM
Keynote: The Blue Water Economy - Great Lakes Protection and Michigan's Economic Transformation
John Cherry, Jr., Lieutenant Governor, State of Michigan
1:30 PM
Session III: Panel Discussion: Clean Water's Industrial Legacy
Sammis B. White, Professor, Department of Urban Planning, and Associate Dean, School of Continuing Education, University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee, and Freshwater Cleanup Technology Cluster
John Austin, Executive Director, The New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan, The Great Lakes as Freshwater Research Center
Gil Pezza, Sector Manager—Water Technologies Cluster, Michigan Department of Economic Development
3:00 PM
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