David Byrne Rides Into CNU 18 Opening Night Lineup

After bicycling the world's cities, musician-author has message to share about how to grow them

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Talking Head and two-wheeled-urbanist David Byrne will join the opening session of an Atlanta Congress dedicated to exploring the health, social, environmental, and economic benefits of the more connected form of living that flourishes in walkable, bikable cities and towns. It's another major sign that CNU 18 is on track to be a meeting place of top thought-leaders and action-leaders from the worlds of urbanism, public health and government. CNU 18: Rx for Healthy Places will run from May 19-22, 2010 and is being organized in cooperation with the CDC, headquartered in Atlanta.

Byrne's new book Bicycle Diaries chronicles how his use of bicycles as his primary form of transportation (and folding bicycles wherever he travels) taught him to view the world and its cities differently. A wry and insightful essay in the Wall Street Journal this fall about his "dreams of a perfect city" showed why he's connecting with audiences over issues of urban life and transportation as well as music. In it, he championed elements such as "human scale" and "mixed use" as essential to great cities. As was the case when he joined NYC transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Cong. Earl Blumenauer in DC last week, Byrne will welcome the opportunity for lively on-stage engagement with cutting-edge urbanists such as Ellen Dunham-Jones, Charles Brewer and Scottie Greene. Georgia Tech architecture professor Dunham-Jones is CNU 18 chair and co-author of Retrofitting Suburbia; Brewer is the founder of Mindspring and developer of the CNU Charter-Award-winning Glenwood Park in Atlanta; and Greene has used enhanced bicycle networks and other urban strategies to energize the Buckhead area of Atlanta in his role as executive director of the Buckhead Community Improvement District.

"Riding his bicycles through the cities of the world, David Byrne is out front among the voices from diverse worlds — the arts, economics, music, public health — who are seeing connections between how we build neighborhoods, how we get around and how well we live," says John Norquist, CNU President and CEO. "Whether its songs such as 'Once in a Lifetime' or other forms of art and writing, he's been a shrewd observer of modern life so it's a real joy to see him turn his eye to the built environment and the communities it supports."