Call for Sessions for CNU 18

New Urbanism: Rx for Healthy Places

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Organized with assistance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "New Urbanism: Rx for Healthy Places" will present new research and innovative techniques for incorporating health impacts into land use, transportation planning, and community design decisions at a variety of scales. Share the opportunities and challenges of strengthening the link between New Urbanism and health at CNU's 18th annual Congress in Atlanta, May 19-22, 2010.

CNU 18 expects to develop sessions that integrate "health," broadly understood, into a variety of topics. We would like to hear your ideas for inspiring speakers, relevant research, exemplary projects and policies, and burning questions that members can learn from as we gather in Atlanta. Kindly remember that speaking slots are highly competitive and preference is generally given to people and projects with a demonstrable track record of innovative work. Please direct your ideas to one of the following tracks and try to incorporate specific references to health. The questions below are intended to seed, but not limit, your thinking. Also, let us know how we can make sessions more interactive and compelling.

Accompanying this call for session ideas will be a call for academic papers to be presented at CNU 18. CNU will begin accepting submissions in late autumn. Learn more about this program and its submission requirements.

Below is a listing of tracks for CNU 18: Please look these over and click here to submit your ideas for CNU 18. Deadline for call for ideas is Friday, August 14, 2009.

  • Transportation: What can the health community teach new urbanists about the impact of TODs, network efficiency, street design, mass transit and walkability/bikability? Where and in what kind of transportation infrastructure should we be investing to have the most impact on healthy places, healthy bodies and healthy wallets? How effective are street connectivity requirements? Shared parking standards?
  • Retrofitting Suburbs: As one of the grand opportunities of the twenty-first century, how do we advance New Urbanism's abilities to redevelop conventional suburbia into healthier places? What new research and case studies best document how new urban retrofits move toward a healthier society, environment and economy?
    For example: Does New Urbanism, with the benefits of greater connectivity, mixed-use, walk-ability, affordability, density and diversity, result in a decline in VMT, carbon footprint, impervious surface, and an increase in exercise, healthy diet, and economic success as a result of retrofitting suburbia? How do we direct growth at the local and regional scale to encourage retrofitting, especially in a weak economy? Is the pending and actual failure of many retail centers an immediate opportunity to initiate incremental and large-scale changes in the suburban fabric? What new urban techniques can help tame the suburban arteries and put them on a road diet toward better walkabilty and transportation choice? Can we stimulate change through public private partnerships focused on retrofitting suburbia toward New Urbanism?
  • Implementation/Finance: In addition to providing opportunities for healthy bodies and healthy communities, New Urbanism also provides opportunities for healthy wallets. The implementation track will explore the ways that New Urbanism can help developers and consumers maximize their real estate profits through investment in economically sustainable projects. How well does health sell in the permitting and marketing of new urbanism? How has the recession changed the rules for retail, financing, phasing, marketing and making the sale? How are public-private partnerships reinventing themselves for recovery?
  • Green Design: New Urbanism's attention to green design at all scales, from that of the region to the building, provides essential tools for combating climate change and promoting health. What are the benefits to human health of environmentalist programs like LEED-ND, Earthcraft Communities, and Light Imprint Urbanism? What are the best examples of buildings that are both urban and low energy? What are the innovative ways natural systems are contributing to human health and/or economic health in new urbanist projects? Who's leading the way in green campus design? What are the best examples of adaptive reuse projects regreening the city? How do you maintain historic character with modern efficient materials and techniques? What are the best examples of developments addressing the environmental challenges particular to coastal communities?
  • Quality of Life -- Design for Aging, Affordability, and Diversity: As important as where we live is how we live. Quality of life issues impact our emotional and physical health and permit us or prohibit us from living up to our full potential. Important issues include design for aging, affordability, diversity, and accessability/visitability; access to arts, culture, and healthy food; social connectivity, community building through non-profit organizations, civic responsibility, and engagement of occupants. For example, what are the best examples of designs that respond to the health needs and desires of an aging population? How diverse are new urbanist communities and what techniques are effective at building social capital and social equity at the same time? How do we best measure an urban setting’s contribution to the happiness of its inhabitants? These and other topics affect the plan of a new urban development and how people will thrive in that environment.
  • Public Space and Policy: What are the most effective ways of getting conversations going between city health officials, public works directors, city planning commissioners, and elected officials about coordinating efforts to make healthier places? What are the best practices in the design of parks and public spaces to encourage healthy living? How are changes in urban policy at the federal level going to impact life on the street?
  • Codes and Regulatory Reform: Codes have historically been legally justified on their ability to promote the health, safety and general welfare of the citizenry. Early codes focused on mitigating the negative health impacts from disease, fire and industrial pollution. Today, health has a substantially broader meaning---- opportunities for physical exercise, access to locally produced organic food, clean air (regardless of its source), etc. Yet, most codes completely ignore these health issues. This track will focus on efforts to promote, assess and implement codes that match our current expectations regarding health. How do we retrofit zoning and building codes to better protect public health and welfare given evidence of their unhealthy performance? How can Health Impact Assessments be used more widely to support zoning and regulatory reform? What are the newest innovations and evidence of effectiveness of the SmartCode?
  • Plenary Speakers: Who would you most like to hear from? What have been your favorite past plenary sessions -- and why? What are the topics you would like to see debated and discussed?
  • New Urbanism 202s: 202s are 3-hour specialized classes for advanced practitioners. Please suggest an idea for a 202 class for Atlanta.

Suggested Additional Resources for Developing your Session Proposal:

We look forward to reading your session proposal.