Our 2010 Innovation Conference will be held in New York the first week of October, and I think you’ll find our speakers will inspire and delight you. As usual this year we’re looking at larger buildings that have achieved amazing things with a high level of technical expertise, but that’s not uncommon for the conference. Here’s what’s new: For the first presenters will be taking an in-depth look at what makes urban environments green.

 Our keynote speaker is David Owen, a staff writer for The New Yorker. His book, Green Metropolis ably (and aptly) challenges the commonly held notion that large cities are inherently wasteful, using New York City as a case study. David’s a great speaker and a prolific author, and I’m very excited to have him.

Bob Forest, AIA, of Adrian Smith +  Gordon Gill Architecture in Chicago and  Roger Frechette II of PositivEnergy Practice will present their firms’ Decarbonization of Chicago Plan, a study of how the Loop could easily be transformed into one of the nation’s greenest urban areas. It’s terribly interesting, there’s really never been anything like it, and I frankly don’t think it has gotten the attention it deserves.

Asia is one of the few places on earth where new cities can be built from the ground up, and where sustainability can fortunately be planned in from the start. New Songdo City is a such a large-scale urban development, and is under construction right now..  James von Klemperer, FAIA, the Design Principal of KPF, will tell us exactly how the firm put green into the city’s DNA. By the way, look for a major feature story on New Songdo in the October issue of RECORD by our contributing editor Naomi Pollock.

No Innovation Conference would be complete without something so futuristic that science fiction author Isaac Asimov might have written about it, and that’s exactly what Spanish architects M. Rosa Cervera and  Javier Pioz of the International Workshop on Bionic and Architect will present with their Be-Bionic City Tower. It’s the first model for a self-sustaining vertical city, planned to be 1228 meters tall (that’s 4028 feet for those of you used to the United States Customary System of measurement). It’s really something to see.

I’ll have more on the rest of our speakers next week, but meanwhile check this page for the full program. It’s going to be great and I hope to see you there.

By the way, this year we'll have a preconference workshop, BIM + Lean + Green = The Future of Construction. It's being put on by McGraw-Hill's own Steve Jones and will be well worth attending. Check here for details.