June Williamson on the value of CNU 17

We asked a number of CNU 17 participants a few questions about why they’re looking forward to the event. This is what June Williamson had to say.

What issues and challenges are getting your attention these days? How much progress are you making?

Our book, “Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs,” came out at an opportune time, when "business as usual" in suburban development is changing forever. Ellen Dunham-Jones and I are very busy promoting the message that NOW is the time to make the structural changes necessary to prepare for a “recovery through retrofitting.” Growth is going to occur. Let's help make sure it takes place within our already built areas, repurposing failed suburban sites into forms that are mixed, walkable, urban, civic, transit-served, inclusive, and sustainable. We've been amazed by the mainstream attention our book has garnered, and we are ready to help train others to share the message of the change that is already happening.

What's something attendees will learn from your session that could give them an advantage in the field at a time when they need all the help they can get?

“Retrofitting Suburbia”
In this session we will examine and discuss in depth the more than eighty examples of retrofitting at all scales that we researched for our new book, and the menu of strategies they exemplify. Recognizing that many completed suburban retrofits are hybrid forms, we will speculate on the future course of design and development innovation in suburbs. As experienced educators and design critics, we will share our insights into the larger dynamics of suburban redevelopment to help prepare attendees to be leaders in the “big project of the next 50 years.”

Describe a topic or challenge you are looking forward to exploring at CNU 17? (And urbanists with whom you look forward to exploring it?)

I have the privilege of living in the great urbanism of Manhattan, but my mission is to face the sustainable development challenge of North American suburban form. At CNU I can interact with a group of professionals that knows much about how to enact measurable, lasting structural change to the quotidian ways we build outside of our exceptional urban cores. In particular, I'm looking forward to: streets and parking lessons from Jeff Tumlin and Greg Tung; Andres Duany and Jim Kunstler's speculations on agricultural urbanism; and carbon reduction policy advice from Judy Corbett and Peter Calthorpe.

What's a top reason people should attend this year's leading gathering of urbanists—CNU 17?

Denver is a fabulous choice for CNU 17 -- many of the most instructive suburban retrofits are happening there. The Denver region well illustrates our concept of "incremental metropolitanism." A polycentric city form is emerging around transit and large retrofitted sites which function as urbanized attractors, boosting the civic realm and reducing VMT.

Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in five action-packed days of new urbanism. Register Now.


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