CNU XIII: The Polycentric City


CNU XIII offered members the chance to focus on one of the major challenges and opportunities facing New Urbanism today -- the advent of the Polycentric City, complete with its multiple downtowns, edge cities, urbanized corridors, and new town centers. With Los Angeles experiencing a rediscovery of centers ranging from downtown to Pasadena and Culver City -- and questions about what to do with the vast tracts of undefined sprawl between them -- the program used four topic threads to explore the role of New Urbanism in shaping such regions. A transportation thread navigated between the limitations of automobile dependency and the difficulties and promise of expanding transportation alternatives in multi-centered metropolitan areas. An environment thread explored the value of incorporating green strategies in walkable, transit-friendly urban settings as responses to the problem of limited resources and degraded natural environments. A physical design thread emphasized the form of reurbanization, including suburban retrofits and town centers, form-based codes as a strategy for shaping infill development, creative use of building typologies, and the application of the Transect to polycentric regions. An implementation/policy thread explore New Urbanism's response to social and demographic trends including slow-growth cities, the burgeoning immigrant population, and a shortage of affordable housing. Some of CNU XIII many highlights included Jan Gehl on creating irresistible public spaces, Bill Hillier on the new science of space syntax, Elizabeth Macdonald, Peter Park and John Ellis on razing freeways and raising valuable neighborhoods, Ben Hamilton-Baillie on the benefits of introducing the idea of 'shared space' to street design, and John Norquist, Ray Gindroz, Dan Solomon, and Howard Husock on devising housing affordability policies for the subsidy-lean future. View a PDF copy of the CNU XIII Program for a list of speakers and sessions at CNU XIII Pasadena.