Taking Action

OCTOBER 20-21, 2016


Join us on historic Galveston Island for Living on the Edge: Taking Action, our third annual conference on building and preserving resilient and healthy coastal communities. For 2016, the sessions highlight leaders and organizations who have implemented strategies to confront environmental, social and political challenges facing coastline communities and their cultural resources.

About the Host

Galveston occupies a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico. In its history, the Galveston community has adapted to the environment through elevating and relocating buildings and through a massive seawall construction and grade-raising project after the deadly Hurricane of 1900. After Hurricane Ike of 2008, Galveston Historical Foundation launched the Center for Coastal Heritage to explore the relationship between history and the coastal environment in communities around the country.



Adam Parris, Director of Jamaica Bay Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay (New York City)


Cathy Babcock, Save Warfleigh, Indianapolis, Indiana

Keren Bolter, Ph.D., Science Director, Coastal Risk Consulting, Plantation, Florida

Bob Brown, Program Director, Facilities Portfolio Management, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas

Jeff Carney, Director, Coastal Sustainability Studio, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Brian Fletcher, Disaster Preparedness Program Manager, Medical University of South Carolina Hospital, Charleston, South Carolina

Nicole Hobson-Morris, Executive Director, Division of Historic Preservation, Office of Cultural Development, State of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Ann Horowitz, Urban Planner at City of Alexandria, Virginia

Jill Johnston, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Dale Morris, Senior Economic Advisor at the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Rich McLaughlin, Ph.D., Harte Research Institute Chair and Professor, Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, Texas

Marilyn Montgomery, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Anne Loes Nillesen, TU Delft, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Rotterdam, Netherlands

John Lopez, Ph.D., Coastal Program Coordinator at Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, New Orleans, Louisiana

Sascha Petersen, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Adaptation International, Austin, Texas

Ned Rozell, Science Writer, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska:

Phil Wendling, Project Executive, Hammes Company, Dallas/ Fort Worth, Texas

Sheri Willey, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District, Galveston, Texas

Barbara Brown Wilson, Ph.D.,  Assistant Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning, Co-Founder of Design Futures, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

Kinder Baumgardner, Managing Principal of SWA Group, Houston, Texas.


As the conference approaches, we will feature various speakers. Check back often for updates.

anne_loes_nillesenMs. Anne Loes Nillesen
Founding Director and Landscape Architect, Defacto
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Talk Title: Coastal Protection and Landscape Design

Because of their favorable location, coastal cities are often densely populated and of great economic and ecological value. However, these regions’ vulnerability to floods is severe, and increasing due to climate change. In her lecture Anne Loes will address key decisions in drafting a regional flood risk strategy and reflect on the spatial impacts and potentials of certain choices. She will show some innovations with regard to integrated flood risk and landscape design, such as ‘building with nature’. Also she will show design proposals for the Netherlands coastal town of The Hague and for the Texas Galveston Bay area.

Anne Loes Nillesen is specialized in Landscape architecture in the domain of water and flood risk management. At her firm Defacto Anne Loes has worked on large-scale complex projects such as the Dutch Delta Program and the Bangladesh Deltaplan. She also worked on local scale coastal protection and resiliency projects and is now involved in a landscape study for a Galveston land barrier.

Science writer, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Talk Title:  Alaska villagers adapt (or don’t) to encroaching waters

About 200 villages exist in Alaska, most of them along rivers or along the ocean coast. Because of changes in protective sea-ice cover and more severe storms, village sites that have been good for centuries are now being flooded. In response, some villagers are making the immense effort to move. Some are not. Rozell gives a summary of how changes are affecting bush Alaska.

In three decades in the largest state, Ned Rozell has written more than 800 weekly newspaper stories of science for non-scientists. He has traveled all over Alaska and has seen many of the changes villagers are facing.


The event will be held at the 1859 Ashton Villa at 2328 Broadway, Galveston, Texas, 77550.


George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH): Houston’s largest airport, Bush Intercontinental is located approximately 23 miles north of downtown Houston, near the Sam Houston Tollway (Beltway 8 North). Reach the airport by phone at (281)230-3100.

  • Directions from Bush Intercontinental to Galveston (54 Miles): Begin at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Terminal Rd S and go East for 0.6 miles. Bear left and go Southeast for 300 feet. Turn left on Greens Rd and go East for 2.4 miles. Turn right on Eastex Fwy, US-59, US-59 N and go South for 0.6 miles. Bear left on ramp and go South for 1000 feet. Continue on Eastex Fwy, US-59 and go South for 14 miles. Bear right on ramp at sign reading “I-45 to Galveston / Dallas” and go South for 0.6 miles. Continue on I-45 and go Southeast for 45 miles to Galveston Island.

William P. Hobby Airport (HOU): Houston’s second largest airport, Hobby Airport (HOU) is located approximately seven miles south of downtown Houston, near I-45/Gulf Freeway, the major highway heading from the City to NASA and Galveston Island. Reach the airport by phone at (713)640-3000.

  • Directions from Hobby to Galveston (31 Miles): Begin at William P Hobby on Lockheed Ave and go North for 0.2 miles. Turn left on Convair St and go West for 200 feet. Turn right on Telephone Rd, TX-35 and go North for 0.3 miles. Turn right on Airport Blvd and go East for 2.4 miles. Turn right on Gulf Fwy and go Southeast for 0.6 miles. Continue on ramp at sign reading “I-45 S” and go Southeast for 0.3 miles. Continue on I-45 and go Southeast for 35 miles to Galveston Island.


  • The Tremont House, A Wyndham Grand Hotel
    2300 Ships Mechanic Row, Galveston, TX 77550
  • Harbor House Hotel and Marina
    Pier 21, Galveston, TX 77550
  • Hotel Galvez and Spa, A Wyndham Grand Hotel
    2024 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston, TX 77550
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Galveston Beach
    1702 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston, TX 77551
  • La Quinta Inn Galveston East Beach
    1402 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston, TX 77550
  • Four Points by Sheraton Galveston
    2300 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston, TX 77550


Taxi Companies

  • Busy Bee: (409)762-8429
  • Jeff’s Cabs & Shuttle Service: (409)621-5222
  • Tropical Taxi: (409)621-4000
  • Yellow Cab Company: (409)763-3333
  • Most national taxi companies service Galveston from William P. Hobby Airport and George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Rental Agencies

  • Car: Enterprise Rent-A-Car, 800.RENT.A.CAR; (409)740-0700
  • Golf Cart Rentals: DCP Parking & Golf Cart Rentals, (409)599-4016


We hope you’ll consider staying an extra couple of days to have more fun in Galveston. You should consider visiting:


Wed Oct 19
5:30 – 7:00PM

Join us for an evening social on the ANICO Observation Deck. The ANICO building, located at One Moody Plaza, is Galveston’s skyscraper. The observation deck affords spectacular views of the Gulf Coast, Galveston Bay and Galveston Harbor, Downtown, several historic districts and the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) campus.  As you connect with conference participants over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, don’t miss out on the sunset view at 6:44PM!

*This social event is included with conference registration, however, participants must register by Fri Oct 7 to get access to the observation deck.


Thu Oct 20

Join us for our Keynote Speaker Dinner at the Garten Verein, an octagonal building constructed in 1880 as the centerpiece for German culture and heritage in Galveston. Coastal Catering will provide an excellent dinner, while Adam Parris, Director of the Jamaica Bay Science and Resilience Institute, provides an in-depth perspective on success stories and challenges of building coastal resiliency in New York City.

*This social event is included with conference registration. Guests not attending the conference may purchase dinner tickets for $25.


Fri Oct 21

Join us for Oktoberfest, Galveston’s premier fall festival, on Fri Oct 21 and Sat Oct 22. Although this event is organized separately from the Living on the Edge Conference, the back-to-back timing of these events this year is spectacular. Oktoberfest kicks off in historic downtown Galveston at 5:00PM on Friday, providing an excellent venue for conference participants to unwind while enjoying music, food and drinks.

APA_TXAIA-logoCE Credits available


Dr. Hal Needham
Galveston Historical Foundation

Amber Anthony
UTMB Center in Environmental Toxicology
Sealy Center for Environmental Health and Medicine

In Partnership By:

ghf utmb

Sponsored By:

  aiahouston    APA_TX buildingsolutions