LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio to Present Mayors’ Institute on City Design in December

Jeff Carney, director of the Coastal Sustainability Studio

Jeff Carney, director of the Coastal Sustainability Studio

The LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio (CSS), a trans-disciplinary program of the College of Art + Design, College of Engineering, and School of the Coast & Environment, will present a regional session of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design on December 11-13.

LSU was one of two institutions selected through a nationwide competitive process. This is the first time the institute will take place in Baton Rouge.

The Mayors’ Institute on City Design is a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the American Architectural Foundation and the United States Conference of Mayors, with support from United Technologies Corporation. Since 1986, the Mayors’ Institute has helped transform communities through design by preparing mayors to be the chief urban designers of their cities.

The event consists of a two-day, closed-door workshop attended by eight mayors from around the nation. Each mayor will present a case study on a design project or planning issue affecting his or her city. Nationally renowned experts in architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, transportation planning, and real estate development then pose possible solutions.

The session will open in Baton Rouge on December 11, with opening remarks from Louisiana Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne; Jennifer Hughes, design specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts; Trinity Simons, director of the national Mayors’ Institute for City Design; and Jeff Carney, director of CSS and associate professor of architecture at LSU.

“CSS has developed a reputation for innovatively addressing complex design challenges, and we are honored that the National Endowment for the Arts recognized this and selected us to present this important program,” said Carney. “We are shaping new initiatives in community design, sustainability, and resiliency, and sharing this approach will greatly benefit other cities and states. The Mayors’ Institute will also complement LSU’s focus on the coast. Working with experts brought in by CSS will help mayors improve and sustain their communities in dynamic environments affected by climate change, land loss, sea level rise, and other serious issues.”

Mayor Kip Holden, who attended the Mayors’ Institute in 2006, will serve as host to the visiting mayors. He said, “It is my pleasure to welcome the prestigious Mayors’ Institute for City Design here, to America’s Next Great City–Baton Rouge. My staff and I look forward to welcoming the visiting mayors and discussing the design issues affecting their cities. As an alumnus of the institute, I understand how influential it can be in guiding mayors to plan and shape a community’s future in a positive, sustainable way. Design and planning efforts in Baton Rouge have resulted in unprecedented growth and progress.”

The LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio is unique in that it brings together disciplines that normally work separately so that it can respond to critical coastal issues in the most comprehensive way. Many previous coastal protection and restoration efforts have been solely engineering or science based, leaving out the human element. CSS offers a new paradigm, allowing designers such as architects, landscape architects, and city planners to have a voice in the process.

CSS staff and board members helping to organize the Mayors’ Institute include:

  • Lynne Carter, CSS associate director and associate director of Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program
  • Robert Twilley, director of Louisiana Sea Grant
  • Jori Erdman, director and professor of LSU School of Architecture
  • Elizabeth Mossop, professor at LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture
  • John R. White, associate director of the Coastal Studies Institute and associate professor of oceanography and coastal sciences
  • Clint Willson, professor of civil and environmental engineering
  • Laura Larkin, CSS coordinator
  • Katrina Durbak, Patrick Michaels, Emily Powell, research fellows
  • CSS graduate and undergraduate students

For more information about the Mayors’ Institute visit

For more information about CSS visit

Media Contact:
Laura Larkin

Coordinator, LSU CSS