CNU Salons

Biloxi Must Not Waver in Community-Based Renewal, Says Pulitzer-winning Sun Herald

With its editorials and ongoing coverage, the Sun Herald of South Mississippi proves again and again that the Pulitzer committee made a wise decision in awarding the paper the top prize in journalism. With a compelling and carefully detailed December column, Sun Herald publisher Ricky Mathews astutely analyzes post-Katrina rebuilding in Biloxi, the Mississippi Gulf Coast's most closely watched city, and calls for exceptional leadership from city leaders to overcome the epic damage caused by Katrina.

Attending Global Place: Practice, Politics and the Polis?

The University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning is hosting a two-day interdisciplinary symposium on January 4-6,2007 in Ann Arbor Michigan. Global Place: Practice, Politics, and the Polis will bring together two dozen renowned architects, urban planners, researchers and scholars from around the world. The centennial conference will address questions and opportunities that architecture and planning face in an increasingly urbanized, media-driven and commoditized world.

Heather's Haifa (Educational) Holiday

Haifa is Israel’s third largest city (pop. 260,000) set on a hill above the Mediterranean and serves as Israel’s largest port. It holds socially diverse population including Arabs, Jews, Christians and a major Baha' i shrine. There are three distinct neighborhoods along the hill: The port or industrial area, the business district (Hadar) and the Carmel district at the highest point where the conference took place. Israel’s only subway the Carmelit runs up and down through the Haifa hillside. The city is also home to a number of universities, including the University of Haifa and the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology and a number of student and professors attended the conference.

Great Squares

I'm in the midst of what seems like a never ending research project on some of the great Georgian squares in London. I am trying hard to understand as much as I can about the design of squares, and the Georgian squares of London are more of a vehicle as opposed to an endorsement. I am working on several actual projects currently that include “squares” and so my interest is particularly keen with regard to dimensions that work and those that do not. But the other issue I am exploring is the connectedness of squares in predominately mixed use districts, and that too makes the London squares in Belgravia, etc. potentially helpful since you can “kick the tire” on twenty differently shaped squares in roughy a half mile radius. Plus, the average walking distance between the London squares surveyed is only 586 feet - I think a very remarkable frequency for an area very much developed by thoughtful speculators. Noteworthy.

Senior housing and New Urbanism

Two of the fastest growing segments of the housing market are New Urbanism and senior housing. Judging by the inquires we get at CNU headquarters, many people are curious about how these two segments are intersecting. Although we've found a few examples of New Urbanist senior housing, New Urbanism's commitment to giving people many choices in housing type, price, and style means that many active seniors find non-targeted New Urbanist developments to fit their lifestyle well. In fact, CNU published a white paper, The Coming Demand, which details how seniors (particularly Baby Boomers) will help to lead the market shift towards New Urbanism in the future.

Guardian reports on successful highway removal (and Braess' Paradox)

The Guardian, a leading British newspaper, reports on how Seoul, a city of nearly ten mllion people, rediscovered its heart underneath a highway carrying 160,000 cars a day:

Tyson's Corner Sprawl "Real Urban Experience?" -- Suburban Soul -- Washington Post

Steven Pearlstein from the Washington Post lauds Tysons Corner for its suburb grit in his article "Suburban Soul: Reston Is Hot Property, but Tysons Hums With 'Messy Vitality.'" While I would tend to agree that the best places evolve over time, creating that "messy vitality," I think Pearlstein is missing the mark here trying to apply that philosophy to sprawl. Reston will evolve over time, becoming more messy -- and more valuable. But I think without urban retrofit, Tysons will just continue to get plain messy.

Jim Kunstler

Mark Givens interviews the always provocative Jim Kunstler in the latest issue of MungBeing, an online magazine, about not only "The Long Emergency" and New Urbanism, but also his paintings, music, and novels.

CNU Transportation Summit Tours Prospect New Town

On the last day of the CNU Transportation Summit in Boulder this past weekend, attendees had the opportunity to experience Prospect New Town by mingling with the local folk during a wine tasting and social house tour for CNU and local residents. In true transportation summit form, we chartered a "Hop" bus from the City of Boulder out to the TND, which was planned by Duany Plater-Zyberk and is known for its diverse architecture.

Visitable townhouses

Recently, I've been taking some time while touring New Urbanism to look out for examples of accessible townhouses. A growing number of New Urbanist designs for townhouses are accessible or visitable by people using wheelchairs. CNU wants to document these buildings to help educate our members about simple ways to incorporate visitable houses into New Urbanist streetscapes.