CNU 17: Experience Denver's New Urbanism and Catch Up on Transportation Reform

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CNU 17

early registration grace period ends thursday, may 14

Register now for big savings!

CNU appreciates everyone who has already registered and taken advantage of special early rates. But with more content going up all week at, the full list of continuing ed credits just now finalized, and the CNU video contest winner (and partner promotions) reaching many new eyeballs, we knew people would appreciate a grace period to learn about the Congress and register at the best-possible rates. So the early registration deadline was extended to Thursday, May 14, at 11:59 p.m. EST. Register Now!



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

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.

Read Full Story...


Walking, Riding, Biking, and Driving the New Urbanism

CNU 17 continues the push for transportation reform

It’s what gets us from point A to point B and—at this year’s Congress for the New Urbanism—it’s taking center stage. Transportation profoundly affects surrounding development. Whether you’re walking, biking, riding, or driving the New Urbanism, transportation reform is sure to be a red-hot issue at CNU 17.

2009 has already been a big year for CNU’s transportation initiatives. It all kicked off with Network Dialogues at the Charlotte Transportation Summit this past fall that focused on the many benefits of sustainable transportation networks, anchored by CNU’s Transportation Networks Initiative that concludes that cities with tightly-woven, networked streets have a much lower incidence of traffic accidents and a much faster response time for emergency crews. The debate—which made its way to Capitol Hill this winter—will continue in full force at CNU 17.

Transportation reform is crucial in the struggle for walkable, new urbanist communities. The traditional “level of service” standards for major thoroughfares will be placed under the microscope, making way for more thorough evaluations of the efficiency of our nation’s streets. To unsnarl traffic issues, cases will be made in favor of freeway teardown in several of our nation’s cities, using as a blueprint CNU’s adopted list of “Freeways without Futures.” Transit-oriented development will be explored as a viable alternative that replaces our automobile-centric lifestyle with a sustainable approach to transportation.

Here are just a few of the sessions that are sure to spark the transportation debate:

Implementation Strategies for Transit-Oriented Development
Though the real estate market in the US has come to a virtual standstill, one market that remains viable is Transit-Oriented Development. In fact, evidence is emerging that housing and mixed-use development within walking distance of high quality transit service has retained its value during the downturn and is expected to remain solid. This is good news for Denver which is about to add dozens of TODs. Whether you call it "walkable urbanism" or TOD, the diversity, flexibility, affordability and location efficiency of these places is likely to help them remain attractive and priority locations for public investment. 

Come hear from the nation's leading TOD implementers about cutting edge research and techniques for linking transit and development, including presentations on market analysis, value creation and value capture, working with transit agencies, structuring public-private partnerships and building great places.

From Policy to Technique: Complete and Connected Streets
Hear the national perspective and the new urbanist perspective on Complete Streets policies, with a focus on leading-edge implementation strategies from the communities of Boulder and Colorado Springs. Following the presentations, a moderated panel discussion will explore the nuances of design and level of service issues relating to accommodating bicycles, pedestrians and transit modes within various Transect zones.

Reducing CO2 emissions through Parking and Transportation Demand Mangement
People driving to and from most buildings produce more CO2 emissions than the buildings themselves. In order to meet our nation’s CO2 reduction targets, we can’t just build green buildings and invest in cleaner vehicles – we must reduce our Vehicle Miles Traveled. Learn how cities are reducing congestion, saving the planet and saving money through investments in the demand side of transportation economics.

F is for Fantastic: New Directions in Transportation Level of Service
As cities work to bring about a new generation of healthy urban places, the importance of streets as forces shaping the urban environment is leading to development of new tools for evaluating transportation network performance. This session focuses on emerging “Level of Service” practices around the country, including work underway in California.

Cost Savings for Freeway Teardowns: Replace, Prevent, Remove
Cities recognize the importance of streets as major forces shaping the urban environment is leading to development of new tools for evaluating transportation network performance. This session will provide an overview of emerging “Level of Service” practices around the country, including work underway in California to refine the way this issue is addressed in environmental documents.

Why we need Sustainable Transportation Networks (STN)
The current economic crisis and the reality of global climate change require that we get the most out of our existing transportation infrastructure. This session continues the CNU Initiative for Sustainable Transportation Networks’ exploration into transforming our existing and future transportation networks to reduce VMT. Session attendees will learn about the many virtues of a well-connected network of streets, and how these networks benefit emergency responders and improve the efficiency of transit. Speakers will also address recent research into the connection between street network characteristics and their role in road safety. The session will conclude with a review and discussion of position statements for STNs developed at the 2008 CNU Transportation Summit in Charlotte, N.C.

New Urbanism and the Transportation Reauthorization
Both New Urbanism and Smart Growth agree that the federal transportation bill has failed to support our vision of sustainable communities. The upcoming reauthorization is an opportunity to get things right. How does this impact local leaders? How do we mobilize our members? This session will bring together the key messages from CNU with responses from political leaders.

Street Design & The Fire Code: Fire and Design Professionals find safety in the grid
CNU’s Emergency Response & Street Design Initiative unites New Urbanists and firefighters to find common ground and shared solutions for conflicts that arise over street design. What benefits arise from highly connected street networks? How is this impacting neighborhood planning efforts? Learn about proposed changes to the International Fire Code, and the latest research on street design, emergency response times and traffic and fire safety.

Living Streets: The Right of Way and Beyond
Under the banner of "Living Streets," Denver is leading a regional movement attacking conventional practices in street design, corridor planning, infrastructure investment and private corridor development. Elsewhere, innovative street designs are supporting urbanism, ecological functions and multimodal movement in the right of way. Come hear about Denver's work and learn about success stories from Lansing to Los Angeles.

The Street Manual Hits the Streets: Now What?
The recently re-titled manual, Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach, is a significant product of CNU’s project for transportation reform. Now that the manual is approaching the final “balloting” stage, how can we make it work for us? This session will provide an update of the current status of the manual, and the views of several practitioners in planning, design and policy to discuss these and other questions.

Be a part of the conversation at CNU 17. Register now at


Take Me Out To the Ball Game -- CNU 17 BASEBALL PICNIC

Join other CNU 17 attendees for a special baseball picnic at one of the great neighborhood-friendly civic buildings, Coors Field. Colorado Rockies vs. Seattle Mariners. Our reserved picnic area is in batting-practice home-run range, starting at at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, game time 1:10 p.m. Copious picnic buffet. $40 before May 14, $45 after. Register, or modify your registration, here:

Many CNU members know that Philip Bess, the Director of the Graduate Program in Architecture at Notre Dame and a longtime CNU member, is the author of City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense About Cities and Baseball Parks. In Boston in August 2000 he directed and coordinated the successful "Save Fenway Park!" design charrette. Here's the rave review Phil wrote about Denver's Coors Field the year it opened, for the April 2, 1995 Op-Ed page of the Denver Post. Phil will be attending our picnic and the beginning of the game, so come and talk inside baseball with the Ballpark Maven.

Full review:

"Coors Field [is] the best big league baseball stadium to be built since Yankee Stadium in 1923.... Coors Field is an aesthetic and urban success.... It gets the interior details almost effortlessly right. From the small foul territory that puts lower deck seats closer to the action, to the seamless way in which the seats angle back toward the infield as they extend down the foul lines. From the deep green color of the seating and railings and fences and batters' eye and steelwork, to the single purple row of upper deck seats at 5280'. From the relative visual de-emphasis of the luxury seating, to the comparatively gentle slope of the upper deck. From the liberal use of stairs in conjunction with ramps, escalators, and elevators, to the placement and detailing of the ramps themselves...

"On the exterior, notwithstanding a few clumsy details, Coors Field is simply the best and most urbane facade in baseball today. Its masonry "kit of parts" (sandstone, brick, pre-cast concrete, ornamental terra cotta columbines) is employed with impressive dexterity, creating both ornamental pattern and appealing rhythms of light and shadow, solid and void....

"Equally impressive however is how Coors Field works urbanistically on those sides where it is built up adjacent to the Denver street grid."

Another CNU baseball fan in attendance will be notorious rabble-rouser Sandy Sorlien, who says: "As I write this on May 8, the Colorado Rockies are dead last in their division and the Mariners are losing to the Twins 11-0 in the 7th. But think about it, gang: What could be more fun than hanging out at an intimate urban ballpark with a festive crowd on a post-Congress Sunday afternoon with dogs and beer and new urbanist pals? And regardless of the team records, anything can happen. ANYTHING. A pitcher named Jakubauskas or Marquis might throw a historic no-hitter. Or there might be 6 homers in the thin Denver air, all of them landing in our outfield picnic area. Personally, I have immense respect for the Rockies. They beat my Philadelphia Phillies, incipient World Champions, three straight games to knock them out of the playoffs in 2007. Assume nothing."

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Congress for the New Urbanism
140 S. Dearborn St., Ste. 404
Chicago, IL 60603, USA
TEL 312.551.7300
FAX 312.346.3323