|REASON #5: OPPORTUNITIES FOR COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE HEALTH, POLICY, PLANNING, AND DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITIES DON'T GET ANY BIGGER THAN THIS
The Congress for the New Urbanism's cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on CNU 18 brings together two of the most-respected authorities on improving community design and community health. It reflects mounting evidence that walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods enjoy significant health advantages. With health officials joining urbanists from a range of disciplines on plenary sessions, panels and initiative working sessions, CNU 18 New Urbanism: Rx for Healthy Places will likely be the biggest event ever dedicated to collaboration on public health and the built environment. And rest assured, it won't slight other important ways that new urbanist strategies add value, making cities and towns more energy efficient, more economically resilient, and smarter in their treatment of natural habitats, water, farm land and other resources.
Driving home how the relationship between our built environment and our health is rising on the national agenda, a two-hour PBS documentary on the topic is in the works, produced by the Media Policy Center. As you'll see from watching this YouTube trailer, it features inspiring footage of CNU 18 plenary speaker Dr. Richard Jackson, now the Chairman of Environmental Health Sciences at UCLA's School of Public Health. The tenacity new urbanists have shown in reforming urban design have their public health corollary in the pioneering efforts of Dr. Jackson during his nine years as Director of the CDC's National Center for Environmental Health, where he worked closely with Dr. Howard Frumkin, the honorary chair of CNU 18 and a fellow plenary speaker.
"In 2001, members of Congress thought I should be fired because I
dared suggest that how we were building America might be bad for our health - that it
might be making us overweight, unfit, depressed and lonely," Jackson relates. Be sure to hear him describe the "Eureka moment" he had while driving to a CDC Directors' meeting, when he saw an elderly woman struggling in the 95 degree heat to carry grocery bags along a stretch of Atlanta's Buford Highway lacking sidewalks. During the meeting, he couldn't shake the image of the woman and the thought that if she collapsed or was hit by a truck, a resulting report of "heat exhaustion" or "vehicle-related trauma" would capture none of the conditions related to the built environment that put her at such risk - as he recounts them, "lack of sidewalks, lack of public transportation, poor urban planning, failed political leadership!"
The array of policy makers and experts in healthy placemaking who will join him at CNU 18 in Atlanta from May 19-22 will demonstrate the profound difference he's made in his career - and the opportunities for even broader impact that come from strengthened collaboration. Join Dr. Jackson at CNU 18 and register now to lock in early registration savings. (Securing your place at the headquarters hotel is a good idea too.) If you wait for all 5 of our reasons, you'll be cutting things awfully close.