Time to Retool

Pace-setting green architect and urbanist Doug Farr on why you should attend CNU 17 (video)

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Doug Farr, author of Sustainable Urbanism and principal of Farr Associates (3 LEED-Platinum awards), kicks off a series of interviews with CNU 17 participants with the message that the Congress represents a prime opportunity for everyone involved with the planning and development of walkable neighborhoods. "The cooling off period is a time to retool," says Farr.

"CNU is unique among conferences. What you get is the big picture, how the little pieces come to create great places, sustainable places," he continues. "It's the longer term thinking. It's the bigger, more strategic thinking. It's focused on the end of sustainability that is also about quality of life and is the kind of attractor that Americans insist on. Americans don't like denial, they don't like discomfort. Urbanism is convenient. It offers choices. So we have the facts on our side."

Among sessions Farr promises he won't be missing are appearances by Robin Rather and Carol Coletta on communicating the sustainability benefits of urbanism in ways that motivate people, in part by showing them how urbanism pays off economically. He'll participate in a series of sessions: a Sustainable Urbanism seminar on Wednesday, a LEED-ND rollout on Thursday, a rollout of sustainability modules for the SmartCode on Friday.

Farr guarantees "fireworks" on another session on which he'll participate: "To LEED or not to LEED," on whether glass buildings can be truly green. "As the standards are tightened a traditional approach to buildings and to ur banism is only going to be more and more favored. It didn't start out that way, LEED was able to certify as “good green building practices” a lot of glass-box buildings that just weren't that good. That will be less and less."

There is opportunity in urbanism, he concludes. "I think these times, as hard as they are economically, are the times of the most hopefulness I've seen in years. I've always been interested in the same two things -- cities and sustainability. Finally those issues are coming into the mainstream. I'm seeing that in RFPs that we're getting from developers and from cities.

Join Doug at CNU 17. Register now for early registration savings.