Learn and Do. Urban Labs at CNU XV.

Urban Labs Bring New Urbanist Renewal to a Historic Philadelphia Neighborhood and Make a Lasting Impact Beyond the Conference Room.

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Urban Labs are a rare opportunity to practice New Urbanism within the context of CNU XV. Attendees can participate in one of four Labs all located in Francisville, a distressed neighborhood in Lower North Philadelphia. "It's a chance for national consultants in New Urbanism to work together with Francisville stakeholders to help shape the imminent future of this changing neighborhood," says Sandy Sorlien, a Philadelphia native and co-leader of the Urban Labs.

Francisville is ripe for redevelopment. "The timing is good," says Sorlien. "There's an astounding amount of cleared ground in
Francisville right now. It's scary to think of the possibility of suburbanization and inflated real estate value in a place with so
much history and character. The urban structure is fascinating because the center blocks are rotated 45 degrees off the regular
street grid of Philadelphia. It was William Penn's "Vineyard," meant to catch the sun on the gentle slope there."

Attendees have four Urban Labs with four different opportunities to choose from. All Urban Labs will take place Wednesday, May 16, 2007.

Coding For Neighborhood Evolution is an all-day lab. Congress attendees and locals will learn to customize a SmartCode based on Francisville in an intense charrette-style studio session. In the afternoon, teams will map regulating plans. (8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

People and Process is a morning lab. Participants will collect and facilitate a meeting with Francisville local residents and stakeholders to gain perspective while offering their expertise in the form of design and non-design solutions. (8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)

Ridge Avenue Retail Resurrection, an afternoon lab, will team up participants with local economic development expert Jim Hartling to examine the Ridge Avenue Corridor. Riots in the 1960s caused merchants to leave and they have not returned. Analyze the site, talk with stakeholders, and prescribe some solutions. (12:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

Creating Living Urban Spaces: Christopher Alexander's Hands-On Techniques, is an all-day lab. Participants will use techniques developed by Christopher Alexander, his students, and collaborators, such as: mapping feeling, poetic visioning, creating a language of centers, sketching and full-scale mock-ups, to create a vision of neighborhood spaces in Francisville and design one of them in detail. (8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

The Urban Labs are a fantastic opportunity to implement the Charter of New Urbanism in the field and engage with other new urbanists. Urban Labs require pre-registration and a ticket. Read full descriptions of the Urban Labs and sign up when you sign up when you Register.