Dale Medearis

"Global Environmentalist"

Dale Medearis

If you send air quality experts from to Cairo to work on primarily local environmental issues, it's very difficult to justify how that will improve air quality in Los Angeles, or water quality in the Great Lakes, or redevelop contaminated land in Seattle or New York. But finding innovations that work abroad and bringing them to the United States is what Dale Medearis, now an Environmental Planner with the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, has championed throughout his career. A 20-year veteran of the Environmental Protection Agency in the Office of International Affairs where he worked with urban sustainability issues and Western Europe, Medearis was a Humboldt fellow, studied in Vienna, and lived and worked in Bonn and Berlin with a think tank now called Ecologic. "My experiences awakened in me a very strong appreciation for the advances taking place in Europe that could be transferred to the United States," says Medearis. "There's very little connection here between the domestic environment, energy, climate work, and the international. We just don't take ideas from abroad that could be applied in this country."

In Helsinki, Medearis will meet with senior planners and the senior environment climate and energy officials to discover what has worked best in Finland's comprehensive approach to environmental challenges. He looks to transfer ideas about community energy planning, holistic approaches to energy and climate planning that blend land use, transportation, energy efficient building, and building codes with metrics that allow policy and structure to mature over the short term. "We just completed a transportation study and Helsinki is highlighted here as a leader in regional transportation planning and reducing climate emissions. I would love to work more closely with the Finns because they embody in their pioneering accomplishments in the environment and sustainability where we need to look for answers now."

The Northern Virginia Regional Commission


Reetta DeWan

Exhibition coordinator, Helsinki City Planning Department

Helsinki is essentially a maritime-flavoured city with a particularly rich shoreline. During his visit to Helsinki Dale Medearis will be introduced to the urban projects of the city's future waterfront development areas when he meets the town planning architects and the management of the Economic and Planning Centre of Helsinki. The visit will also include field trips to the new suburban districts of Arabianranta and Eco-Viikki as well as delightful experiences of nature in the parks and recreational areas in the heart of Helsinki.

The Helsinki City Planning Department is responsible for the city's structural and aesthetic development, town planning, as well as the planning and control of traffic. As an expert unit in management and deployment, the Economic and Planning Centre of Helsinki serves the top management of the city and the city departments. The Centre operates as the City Board's overall executive organ for planning, preparing and monitoring, e.g. site development, housing programmes and industrial policy.

The visit to Helsinki will be hosted by the Helsinki City Planning Department and the Exhibition and Information Centre Laituri. Mr Medearis's stay will be hosted by exhibition coordinator Reetta DeWan.

Helsinki City Planning Department, Exhibition and information centre Laituri