Laura Hall 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 Laura Hall had to say.

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

Unlike in any period in the last 50 years, and despite the economic downtown, many city planners are eager to create long range plans and codes that are based upon true urbanism. It’s as if these planners have been released from sprawl purgatory and can finally plan and design walkable towns and cities as they have throughout most of our pre-1950s urban history. Restrained municipal budgets present them with challenges to realizing these goals but they also present a unique opportunity.

Highly evolved and tested town-planning models created by new urbanists over the past two decades are now available for the asking. With development applications in cities down and more time available for in-house planning, some city planners have begun to seize this moment by using the model SmartCode and other new urbanist tools to help them plan and code for a different future for their cities themselves. What an opportune time in history for city planners!

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?

“Implementing the SmartCode—The Real Fun Begins”
For nearly two decades, new urbanists have spent their days designing and their nights and weekends trying to convince cities and developers to change their planning model from sprawl to urbanism. However, the ‘why do a form-based code’ and ‘what is a form-based code’ are no longer necessary; the planning world now largely embraces new urbanism. Planners, cities and developers are now demanding the ‘how-to.’ That’s what they will receive in Friday’s session, ‘Implementing the SmartCode.’ They will learn from presenters who have written codes and who have been embedded in local government how highly tested form-based codes have transformed sprawl models with great success.

What role do new urbanist solutions have to play in the recovery and in addressing major challenges we face?

Climate change is demanding new forms of development and redevelopment from planners. This demand is immediate and not presently met with a supply of tools. The economy is restricting municipal and development budgets. With development applications down, city planners finally have the time to breathe and to create long range plans. New urbanists are being called upon to not just create walkable plans and codes as they have been doing for two decades. Now, with the economic and environmental crisis bearing down on us all, and with an urgent sense of haste as a result, new urbanists will be training the planners to create the plans and codes themselves. It’s a different opportunity than the one of the past 20 years but one of the highest importance and value now.

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

What the next 100 years of planning might look like (i.e., DPZ’s ‘Settlements for the 21st Century’).

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

A crisis is a terrible thing to waste, as we hear a lot these days. Planners have time now—they can train themselves in the tools of the trade for what will undoubtedly be billed as the century that stopped sprawl. CNU 17 will give them two decades’ worth of models, experience, resources and tools to make this leap for themselves. They can’t afford to miss it.

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


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