Up-close and Personal at Three Impressive New Urbanist Neighborhoods

CNU 17's Experiences feature face-to-face access to project teams and residents plus interactive Charter-based critiques

Tags for this image:

As reports on this site and in the media are making clear, the Denver region is leading the way in a reurbanization of America that is turning the cast-offs of automobile sprawl — dead malls, closed airports, abandoned city brownfields — into healthy, highly livable neighborhoods where a range of amenities are just a convenient walk, bike or transit-ride away. One of the reasons Denver is out front — in addition to strong elected and civic leadership, plenty of growth opportunities, and a region-wide appreciation for Colorado's natural assets — is that an earlier visit by the Congress for the New Urbanism, CNU VI in 1998, helped the region develop a progressive vision for handling growth in livable, walkable neighborhoods and linking these communities with a world-class rail system. Denver still sprawls, but not nearly as much as places as Phoenix or Las Vegas, likely a key reason it's been spared the harmful collapse in property values seen in those regions.

CNU's return to Denver offers an unprecedented opportunity to revisit the trend-setting developments envisioned during CNU VI. The three Experiences this year are new for CNU 17, exposing attendees not only to leading examples of New Urbanism but also to the teams that created them, the people that live there and the interactive critiques of fellow new urbanists joining them on site. Only a living laboratory can afford a true learning environment. Join us at Highlands Garden Village, Belmar, or Stapleton during your time at CNU 17. And more importantly, join the people most directly involved with these important projects — designers, developers, local officials, business owners, and residents.

“We hope to learn from places that were shaped by the Charter principles and understand how the principles contributed to their success. What better way to do that than to actually get out and visit a new urbanist community and meet the people who live and work there,” explains Peter Park, CNU 17 Local Host Committee Co-Chair and Manager of Community Planning and Development, City of Denver.

“We feel strongly that New Urbanism advocates need to hear from the end users of the places we create. If our projects and places don’t allow people to live differently and thrive, we aren’t succeeding," says Tom Gougeon, a CNU 17 local host committee co-chair and principal of Continuum LLC. "It will also be a chance to understand our real challenges in making sustainable urbanism work in a difficult market context. As the developers of Belmar, it is a little unnerving to know we will be graded by a large CNU audience according to the Charter principles. But we expect that we and CNU will learn things, and that opportunity will make CNU 17 more fun and more meaningful.”

HOW THE EXPERIENCES WORK:

Opening Presentation
Hear from the development team and get an overview of the place and how the Charter shaped their decisions.

Lunch with the Locals
How do residents live differently than in typical sprawl? Have lunch with the locals and hear their reasons for choosing a New Urbanist community. Find out what it’s really like to live and work there from those who really know.

Explore and Evaluate — 2 Hour Tour with Speaker Stops
What can we learn from these places? Explore and evaluate the community first hand and hear from developers, designers, residents, and business owners at designated stops along the way. View a sample handout.
Record your opinions on a Charter principle scorecard. View the Scorecard.

Share and Learn
What did New Urbanism achieve at these places? Share your experience, learn from others, and view the scorecard results at the Experience Information Exchange, hosted by the Open Source Congress. Participants will also be able to share their observations and images via Twitter and have them collected and shown at the exchange hub.

Learn more about each of the Experiences.
Highlands Garden Village mixes uses and features a range of market-rate and affordable housing on the site of a former Denver amusement park.