Sara Bronin: Planning and Zoning for Resiliency: The Hartford Example
Sara Bronin is a Mexican-American author, professor, attorney, and architect. She is the Thomas F. Gallivan Chair of Real Property Law at University of Connecticut (UConn) Law School and serves as the faculty director for the UConn Center for Energy and Environmental Law. She researches and publishes in the areas of property, land use, historic preservation, and renewable energy law. Among other public service positions, Bronin chairs three City of Hartford, Connecticut, commissions: the Planning and Zoning Commission, which recently drafted and adopted award-winning changes to the zoning, subdivision, and inland wetlands regulations; the Climate Stewardship Council, which drafted and adopted a citywide Climate Action Plan; and the Energy Improvement District Board. She also serves as vice chair of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation and previously chaired the Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association and the Connecticut Urban Legal Initiative. Bronin has served as an expert witness and as a consultant. Among consulting projects, she helped lead development of the 360 State Street project, a mixed-use, transit-oriented, LEED Platinum project in New Haven, Connecticut. Bronin is a licensed architect and won several awards (including the Connecticut American Institute of Architect's top award for residential architecture) for the design and rehabilitation of her downtown Hartford brownstone. She was educated at Yale Law School, the University of Oxford (Rhodes Scholar), and the University of Texas.
Once the richest city in the country, Hartford has become a textbook example of urban disinvestment in post-industrial America. Despite its difficulties, Hartford is positioning itself as a model for urban sustainability and environmental stewardship through progressive planning and zoning initiatives. With the implementation of an innovative form-based zoning code, the City of Hartford is seeking to boost economic growth while preserving historic character, encouraging smart growth, and promoting public health and sustainability. Additionally, the city has built on the momentum of its zoning overhaul by convening a group of local stakeholders as the Hartford Climate Stewardship Council and adopting Hartford's first-ever Climate Action Plan. Bronin will discuss the community engagement and politics surrounding these efforts while discussing the substantive innovations Hartford adopted.