CNU June 2009 e-Update
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1. House Transportation Bill Needs Your Help -- Take Action Now!
Make one call to Congress to make sure transportation spending delivers
You may have read in the news that Representative James Oberstar (D-MN), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, recently released the long-anticipated first draft of the Surface Transportation authorization bill to replace the expiring SAFETEA-LU legislation. The bill is a good start, but as it stands today, it leaves out a few things, including something crucial: Clear national performance targets.
With Congress moving quickly on transportation, we need you need to go the extra mile today to make sure that Congress gets the message. Our partners at the Transportation for America coalition organized a national call-in day to help strengthen the bill. Please call your representative's office right now. It will make a real difference, and it only takes about one minute:
What will $450 billion in transportation spending achieve? Without over-arching goals and targets -- such as reductions of vehicles miles traveled, CO2, and household transportation costs -- there's no way to be sure billions of dollars in transportation spending will truly deliver clean, affordable and smart transportation.
The bill has a lot of what CNU members and other Transportation for America supporters have been pushing for, but today, it still falls short. We can do better. We can't keep pouring our precious tax dollars into the same old flawed transportation system that leaves us stuck without options. Let's tell Congress to make transportation funding smart, clean, and accountable starting TODAY.
We need you to pick up the phone -- make one simple call -- and speak up for transportation reform.
2. Call for Sessions for CNU 18 -- Send Us Your Ideas
New Urbanism: Rx for Healthy Places
Organized with assistance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "New Urbanism: Rx for Healthy Places" will present new research and innovative techniques for incorporating health impacts into land use, transportation planning, and community design decisions at a variety of scales. Share the opportunities and challenges of strengthening the link between New Urbanism and health at CNU's 18th annual Congress in Atlanta, May 19-22, 2010. Watch our CNU 18 video to learn more about the focus of next year's Congress.
CNU 18 expects to develop sessions that integrate "health," broadly understood, into a variety of topics. We would like to hear your ideas for inspiring speakers, relevant research, exemplary projects and policies, and burning questions that members can learn from as we gather in Atlanta. Kindly remember that speaking slots are highly competitive and preference is generally given to people and projects with a demonstrable track record of innovative work. For descriptions of session track, see the Call for Sessions.
Deadline for call for ideas is Friday, August 14, 2009.
3. CNU Debuts New Accreditation Program to Recognize Professional Excellence
Accreditation Exam Registration Now Open
The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) is proud to announce a new professional accreditation program to recognize the talent within the new urbanist movement for creating walkable, sustainable places. The accreditation program seeks to elevate the practice of the principles of New Urbanism and to develop a premier standard of professional excellence in the design of the built environment. Professionals who meet the requirements of accreditation will be recognized as CNU-Accredited. The accreditation credential can be used for business identification, reference criteria, and optional credits within the LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) rating system.
CNU has partnered with the University of Miami School of Architecture to launch the first phase of this program using an online exam developed by leading new urbanist experts. The CNU Accreditation program will be frequently updated to reflect the depth of New Urbanist knowledge and practice. Participating at this stage will help the program evolve based on lessons learned and feedback from this first phase.
Professionals can take the exam online during three access windows that will be scheduled each year. The next exam access window is Oct. 5 - Nov. 23, 2009. Registration for this exam window opened June 8, 2009, and closes Aug. 6, 2009.
Visit http://www.cnu.org/accreditation to learn more and register now.
4. HUD Secretary Donovan Names CNU's Norquist to UN World Habitat Day Honorary Committee
Group meets in DC to begin preparing for international event dedicated to "planning our urban future"
CNU President and CEO John Norquist was in Washington D.C. Wed. night for a dinner hosted by US Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and UN Under-Secretary General Anna Tibaijuka.
Norquist joined other members of the Honorary Committee for the UN World Habitat Day, an international event held each October "to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, the basic of all right to adequate shelter...and to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat." After programs in recent years in Angola, the Netherlands, and Mexico, this year's event will be hosted by the Obama Administration in Washington DC on October 5, 2009. Tibaijuka is Executive Director of UN Habitat.
This year's World Habitat Day will focus on the theme of improved urban planning so that our cities can manage and reduce the impacts of climate disruption, the economic crisis and urban poverty around the world. "It's a very timely theme," said Norquist. "Through its Sustainable Communities Initiative led by Secretaries Donovan and LaHood, the Obama Administration is showing its awareness that our future neighborhoods must be more walkable, urban, diverse, and energy-efficient. As big an issue as it is domestically, it's even more important internationally."
Other members of the Honorary Committee in attendance at last night's dinner include Paul Farmer, Chief Executive Officer of the American Planning Association, Amy Liu, Deputy Director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, and Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation. Besides HUD, the Obama Administration's Office of Urban Policy was also represented at the event.
At the dinner, Donovan spoke about how the principles behind the Sustainable Communities Initiative relate to the goals of UN Habitat. Norquist said the U.S. must take the lead in creating a more efficient, sustainable and livable built environment so it doesn't continue to export the sprawl model to places like China, compounding the problems of world oil dependency, climate change and transportation inequity. He used the opportunity to offer Donovan CNU's support for the joint sustainability effort and suggested CNU and experts from within its ranks would welcome opportunities to collaborate. Work could include helping officials from HUD, DOT, and other departments develop operating principles, design criteria, and staff education programs to support the joint program's vision of communities with high-quality diverse housing, lower transportation costs, proximity to jobs, and healthier energy-efficient development patterns. CNU provided design guidance in the development of HUD's Hope VI public housing revitalization program in the 1990s and has since partnered with the USGBC and NRDC to create LEED for Neighborhood Development, the first certification system in the U.S. for extending green building to the scale of the neighborhood.
5. CNU 17: The Reviews Roll in (and So Do the Presentations)
CNU's annual Congress proved to be just what the real estate, planning, and development fields needed — and what the journalists and bloggers who cover those fields were asking for too.
As observers search for signs of life and direction in these struggling sectors — and seek solutions to economic, environmental, and energy challenges — media and blogger interest in the Congress ran high. New York City public radio's the Takeaway featured a week's worth of dispatches from the Congress produced by Atlantic-contributor and New Yorker-alum Matt Dellinger, the Huffington Post ran three reports by Frank Gruber, and Streetsblog, the Austin Chronicle, altweeklies.com, and Denver's Westword and Denver Post all filed multiple stories about the Congress. Tim Halbur of Planetizen reported "Thunder and Excitement at CNU 17" and Amy Cortese of the New York Times highlighted the conference in a column on transit-oriented development and downtown revitalization breathing life into real estate markets. Excellent reports by talented journalists at our own CNU blog captured many valuable insights.
At CNU, we'll be working to get as many Congress presentations and plenary session video clips posted as possible. They are starting to appear now in our presentations library and will be packaged for convenient viewing at cnu17.org. The pace will pick up as our post-Congress team of summer interns start their terms and get up to speed. So please be patient. What we post will be worth the wait.
And if you didn't get a chance to tour the great examples of New Urbanism in Denver, you'll want to check out the Colorado Project Book, produced by the CNU Colorado chapter for CNU 17. Watch for online sales details in the next e-Update, or to get your hands on a copy now email Korkut Onaran, chair of the Colorado chapter, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. Emergency Response Initiative Seeks Fire Code Change
Proposed amendments seek flexibility
Seeking to improve overall public safety, street network connectivity, and emergency response times, the Congress for the New Urbanism’s Emergency Response & Street Design Initiative has filed proposals with the International Code Council for new fire code language and a new appendix to the international code.
The proposed amendment to Section 503 of the International Fire Code — developed by Carl Wren, chief engineer with the Austin, Texas, Fire Department, and Rick Merck, senior fire protection engineer with Montgomery County, Md., Fire & Rescue — would empower local fire code officials to be flexible on the code’s current mandate that roads potentially accessed by fire equipment have at least 20 feet of unobstructed space.
The proposed new performance-based appendix — authored by Patrick Siegman, a principal at Nelson\Nygaard Consulting in San Francisco, and Peter Swift, president of Swift & Associates in Longmont, Colo. — would be available to local communities for adoption. If they did so, the appendix would supplant parts of the existing fire code. This is key, Siegman notes, because in specifying dimensions for "fire apparatus access roads," the fire code currently “specifies the key dimensions for many, if not most, public and private streets.”
7. What's New @ CNU.org
Here's a sample of what's happening at CNU.org:
If you haven't experienced CNU.org yet, it's time for you to see what you're missing. Please take a moment to log into our site and learn about the features it has to offer. Please read our Login Instructions to get started.
Visit http://www.cnu.org/features to learn more about the website.
8. Brownfields 2009, November 16-18 -- Registration Open
Brownfields 2009: Sustainable Communities Start Here
The National Brownfields Conference is the largest, most comprehensive conference focused on cleaning up and redeveloping abandoned, underutilized, and potentially contaminated properties in the nation. Registration is free and by signing up you gain access to over 150 educational sessions, including lively panel discussions, dynamic roundtables, outstanding plenary sessions, special trainings, film screenings, and more. The conference has plentiful networking and business development opportunities including the Brownfields Transaction Forum and the Brownfields 2009 Exhibit Hall. While you are in New Orleans experience the city with mobile workshops and walking tours. Whether you’re a newcomer to the world of economic and environmental redevelopment, or a seasoned professional looking to make new connections and increase your business, Brownfields 2009 offers something for you.
9. 2010 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference -- Call for Session Proposals Deadline Tomorrow
The Call for Session Proposals for the 2010 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference will close tomorrow, June 26, 2009.
The Submittal Form and Instructions are posted on the conference web site and are available to download. This form should be used to submit any proposals for breakouts, workshops, trainings, tours, or networking activities.
To access the form and instructions, visit http://www.newpartners.org/session_proposals.html.
10. Your Help Needed: Survey for Urban Infill Research Study
The link below will direct you to a brief online survey. This survey is part of a National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) study to develop guidance and a methodology for the preparation and review of transportation impact analyses (TIAs) of infill development in urban or urbanizing areas. You can help support this effort by answering a few brief questions.
Why this is important
Higher density, mixed-use redevelopment and infill development are smart growth concepts that are an increasingly common form of development subject to environmental review and often traffic impact studies. However, there is a lack of standardized guidance and trip and parking generation data for preparing these studies.
Why your help is needed
The first phase of this study involves collecting information on current infill development definitions, infill traffic and parking generation data and estimation methods, TIA analysis methods and agency review procedures. Kimley-Horn and Associates, on behalf of NCHRP, would like to survey those involved in various aspects of infill development in order to collect this information. Your responses are completely confidential and will be used to identify valuable information and resources regarding the current state-of-the-practice of analyzing the impacts of infill development.
Thank you for your time. Please click on the link below to complete the survey:
11. Form-Based Codes Institute: Webinar and Upcoming Training
Want to preserve or increase the quality of our communities? Because Form-Based Codes can require rather than recommend the vision elements that make for good urbanism, FBCs are being adopted at an ever increasing rate throughout the U.S. The mission of the Form-Based Codes Institute (FBCI) is "to advance the knowledge and use of, and develop standards for, Form-Based Codes as a method to achieve a community vision based on time-tested forms of urbanism." Perhaps the most important way FBCI advances knowledge and standards for FBCs is through its 3-course series, taught by nationally recognized practitioners.
Learn How Form-Based Codes can Transform Cities and Towns: A Recorded Webinar
Save the date for the following Form-Based Code training. Visit the Form-Based Codes Institute website for more information and a full list of events.
FBC 301: Completing, Adopting and Administering the Code
Registration for these courses is available at www.formbasedcodes.org. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust Scholarships of $500 each are available for representatives from not-for-profit historic preservation organizations or public organizations with oversight authority for historic preservation as well as students and faculty from schools of architecture.
12. National Charrette Institute: Upcoming Trainings
Visit the National Charrette Institute (NCI) website for details on upcoming trainings. Current CNU members receive a 10% discount on NCI registration fees for public trainings held in Portland. All NCI trainings in the United States will qualify for AICP credit hours.
Charrette System™ Certificate
Management and Facilitation™ Certificate
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Congress for the New Urbanism