NEWPORT, R.I. \u2014\u00a0Aquidneck Island Planning Commission (AIPC) will host the next installment of its\u00a0Smart Island series of public forums.\n\nThe event will be held on March 15 at CCRI- Newport Campus.\n\nEnvisioning the Housing Future for Aquidneck Island\u00a0will address the unique challenges and opportunities facing Aquidneck Island, as well as current municipal housing initiatives.\n\n\nA series of expert panels will be followed by an interactive breakout session, where attendees can actively participate in sharing their ideas for the future. According to AIPC Executive Director, John Shea, \u201cthe goal is to create an active dialogue between the municipalities, the business community, the residents - everyone. Aquidneck Island is a unique, beautiful place to call home, so we should do everything we can to plan for a smart, sustainable future.\u201d\n\u00a0\nThe attractiveness of Aquidneck Island as a place to live has driven up housing prices and has led to significant development. The rental market is tight and apartments are expensive. These and other factors have led to a persistent housing affordability problem that will require dedicated efforts to overcome. Ashley Medeiros of Connect Greater Newport said, "we have interviewed business leaders and found that workforce is the biggest barrier to growth. The cost of housing in the region is a major factor, as those working in many of our largest industries are not earning enough to live locally."\n\n\nThe event is in partnership with Connect Greater Newport and HousingWorksRI. Sponsors include the Community College of Rhode Island (Newport Campus), Discover Newport, and BankNewport. The mission of AIPC is to preserve and improve the environment, economy, and quality of life on Aquidneck Island \u00ad \u2013 to ensure that the Island remains a great place to live, work, play and thrive.\n\nThe event is free, but due to limited space pre-registration is required. Sign up at\u00a0www.AIPChousing.eventbrite.com. Coffee and breakfast refreshments and lunch is included.