Illinois POA goes to SMASH 

Carmen Vidal-Hallett, Illinois POA President and her husband Mark Hallett, Journalist and Photographer were invited to participate in a conference, known as SMASH, the first week of August of 2009. Patricia Saldana Natke, Illinois POA Vice-President and Phil Schmidt, POA member also participated in the organization and marketing of the conference dedicating many volunteer hours and professional expertise. Carmen Vidal-Hallett participated representing POA and as a professional in the field. The brainchild of this event was Federico Vidargas, architect originally from San Miguel de Allende, who is lives in Chicago.

The conference brought together a variety of professionals (architects, planners, economists, historians, journalists, engineers, environmentalists, etc… from the City and more than 5 countries) to brainstorm solutions to SMA’s urban problems and to propose a possible sustainable master plan. It was an intensive, three-day conference where  all were fully engaged and produced a number of practical potential solutions to issues, such as water management, congestion, urban development and land use, architectural preservation and economic development. To learn more, see our 6-minute slide show on the conference at We’ll share more when the conference report becomes available.

The conference was a real “SMASH”, and we hope we can replicate a similar experience in Paranapiacaba  Sao Paulo, Brazil soon!