EplerWood International will participate in the Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) program organized by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) working to assist the community of Coral Bay, St. John, in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) May 28-June 1, 2013.

Coral Bay has a growing number of vacation homes and rental villas making it one of the fastest growing coastal communities in the USVI. The SDAT team will work with the Coral Bay community to give new life to its community visioning program, which was originally launched in 2005.

“Poor land-use planning, sporadic regulation of development and limited funding to effectively manage growing tourism impacts are typical not only of Coral Bay, but challenges faced in the entire Caribbean region and throughout the world,” states Epler Wood.

Communities across the U.S. apply to receive assistance from the SDAT program which brings together architects and professionals to provide a roadmap for communities seeking to improve their sustainability.

Megan Epler Wood will join the architectural and planning team to provide sustainable tourism expertise, while seeking to benefit from their experience in land use planning. The lack of land-use planning for tourism growth around the world is an issue that EplerWood International seeks to address in its consulting assignments worldwide.

Cristienne de Souza, a graduate student in Sustainability and Environmental Management (SEM) at Harvard University Extension will join the team on special invitation from Megan Epler Wood, who teaches the course Environmental Management of International Tourism in the program. De Souza wrote her final paper on an Assessment of the Hotel Sector’s Impact on Local Water Supplies in Southeast Florida- an outstanding paper that qualified her for this assignment.

“This unique opportunity for a student in the SEM program at Harvard University Extension to join a team of top professionals to discuss environmental planning is a testament to the targeted opportunities our students have to address real world problems in our program,” states Epler Wood.

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