What Makes a Good Congress Session?
Peter Park speaking at CNU 21
What makes a good CNU session?
- Interactivity: Participants come to learn and ask questions, not just listen to a lecture. Be sure your session proposal has an interactive element.
- All sessions allot time for Q&A. However, great sessions encourage participation throughout, by requiring an active/responsive audience; providing supplemental material; “getting to know your audience” activities; including additional visual aids; Call to Action; etc.).
- A mix of local, regional, national, and global participants.
- A diverse set of professionals (architects, planners, academics, city council members, etc.)
- Discussion/Debate: Engage audiences with new, emerging or continuous trends in (new) urbanism
- The principles of the CNU Charter are at the core of every Congress. Therefore, it is important for each speaker to read and review the CNU Charter and note its relevance in his/her presentation.
- Keep in mind, CNU welcomes controversy and debate
- Teach: Sessions should discuss lessons learned, not specific projects or companies
- Speakers are meant to teach and raise awareness of specific issues in their field, not simply champion their individual or organizational achievements
- Relate presentation to AIA and AICP Continuing Education objectives
PLEASE NOTE: Speakers and organizers need not be members of CNU, or have prior experience working with New Urbanism.
Types of sessions at CNU
Plenaries: Communal sessions featuring keynote speakers appealing to broad topics and large audiences.
Breakout Sessions: Smaller sessions that highlight specific topics in urbanism, sustainability, and many other areas. Breakouts typically have a moderator and one to three speakers. Breakouts can also take the form of single speaker sessions or debates.
Open Innovation: A series of short 6-minute presentations clustered around different topics. The Open Innovation showcases cutting edge work of members and attendees covering a variety of topics from brand new theories of urbanism still in the formation stage to completed projects available for critique.
Open Source: Open Source Congress is the DIY forum that arises annually during the Congress for the New Urbanism. You can use the time and space to talk about new ideas, find help on a thorny problem, or work on a CNU initiative.
202 Sessions: Designed for continuing education for professionals in architecture and planning fields, these sessions provide interactive, hands-on engagement with the latest ideas and trends in New Urbanism.
Initiative Meetings: Sessions that engage with CNU initiatives, featuring discussion by a panel of experts
Guided Tours: Each Congress features a variety of exciting tours designed to showcase New Urbanism, and local history.
What is the role of the session organizer?
Organizers create and develop sessions, recruit speakers, and act as the liaison between CNU and the speakers of the session. Organizers perform an invaluable role at the Congress and it is essential that you take on the leadership role, ensuring that the session(s) advance the practice of New Urbanism (see above). Organizers must first flex his/her creativity in creating an engaging session, then be able to initiate and maintain contact with all of the speakers. If you are proposing an idea or session, indicate if you can organize the session.
What makes a good title for a session?
Organizers are responsible for a title and description for their session. A good title is short, catchy, and has the ability to incite interest upon first glance. Descriptions should give a short summary of the session topic, in 60 words or less.