CNU XV Day 3

Follow the Congress Online, including reports on Calthorpe, Rendell, regionalism, developers, parking, affordability, and more

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By Ben Brown

A busy Friday at the 15th annual CNU Congress was sandwiched between two popular plenary sessions. Peter Calthorpe’s evening presentation updated arguments for regional visioning. Calthorpe, whose firm developed regional plans for Portland, Los Angeles, and Dubai, among other clients, recently completed an ambitious post-Katrina regional plan for southern Louisiana. Read more about Calthorpe’s evening plenary here.

The morning was a dialog of New Urbanist reaffirmation via a talk-show format hosted by marketing guru Todd Zimmerman. He moderated a “Doing Well by Doing Good” discussion with three successful developers – Vince Graham, Jay Noodle, and John Westrum. The session was a reminder that, despite naysayers among conventional suburban developers, New Urbanist projects not only strengthen communities, they also serve bottom lines.

It was Graham, whose company developed the signature New Urbanist community of I’on in South Carolina, who contributed one of the most famous observations of New Urbanism, a perspective he reiterated Friday morning. Developers whose principal amenities are privacy and exclusivity “shoot themselves in the foot,” said Graham, when they’re pitching only exclusivity and privacy. They risk diminishing the value of their project with every home or lot sale. New Urbanist developers selling community, on the other hand, add value with each sale. The morning talk show provided fresh examples of that classic maxim.

During concurrent sessions, attendees got updates on progress in Mississippi and New Orleans on rebuilding after the 2005 hurricanes, including a presentation on what might be the development of the Charter Award-winning Louisiana Speaks Pattern Book and Planning Took Kit for south Louisiana. And here are links for our contributors’ blogs on a broad sample of sessions and related topics:

“Myth of the Parking Shortage”

“New Urbanism for All: Meeting the Affordability Challenge”

Water management issues

“Village Green/Green Village: An Approach to Civic Ecology”

China and India

Cities vs. Burbs

And for a catch-up on Philadelphia tours earlier in the week: “Funky Manayunk” and Old City.