Sustainability scholar to give doctoral hooding address May 10

Timothy Beatley
Timothy Beatley

Timothy Beatley, a pioneering researcher in the field of “green urbanism” and sustainability, will be the keynote speaker for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s 2014 Doctoral Hooding Ceremony.

The event is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. May 10 at the Dean E. Smith Center, 300 Bowles Drive.

A Carolina alumnus, Beatley is the Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning within the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture. He received his doctorate in city and regional planning and his master’s degree in political science from UNC-Chapel Hill, his master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Oregon and his bachelor’s degree in city planning from UVA.

Beatley joined the UVA faculty in 1986. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia presented him with a 2011 Outstanding Faculty Award for his teaching and research excellence.

He has written or co-written more than 15 books on topics as diverse as nature’s influence in sustaining a high quality of community life and workable approaches toward reducing the ecological “footprint” in cities and towns. The American Planning Association has recognized his book Ethical Land Use as one of its “100 Essential Books in Planning.”

His most recent book is Biophilic Cities: Integrating Nature into Urban Design and Planning, published in 2011. He begins his book by discussing that while young adults might not lack genuine interest in nature, for most of them “nature is fairly abstract and rather general.”

He goes on to write, “There are many reasons to worry about our loss of intimate contact with nature, and they come together to create a compelling argument for a new vision of what cities could be. …A biophilic city is a city abundant with nature, a city that looks for opportunities to repair and restore and creatively insert nature wherever it can.”

Beatley also has collaborated on a documentary film, titled The Nature of Cities, about sustaining a vital connection to nature within city life, and that film has been shown on PBS stations nationwide.

“Tim Beatley continues to advance knowledge that is helping us navigate significant challenges in our increasingly urban world,” said Steve Matson, dean of The Graduate School at UNC-Chapel Hill. “With compassion and clear vision, he puts forward carefully considered ways to sustain quality of life in communities across our country and beyond. We look forward to his inspiring message to our doctoral graduates.”

During the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony, each participating doctoral graduate will be called to the stage to have the hood of the commencement regalia conferred by his or her adviser or dissertation committee chair.

The Graduate School also presents the annual Faculty Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring to a faculty member who has: encouraged graduate students to establish their own records of scholarly activity, provided a supportive environment that brings forth the very best from students, and achieved a successful record of graduate degree completion among students he or she has advised.

Family and friends are invited to the ceremony, as well as the public.