On the Park Bench:
A Public Square Conversation

  • From parking lot to urban tour-de-force
    <strong>UCLA Weyburn</strong>&nbsp;<em>Los Angeles, California</em>

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • Crosstown_Concourse_2018_Charter_LooneyRicksKiss
    From former warehouse to "vertical village"
    <strong>Crosstown Concourse</strong>&nbsp; <em>Memphis, Tennessee</em>

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • Southside
    Ten acres that transformed a city #thisiscnu

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • Historic arcade houses young professionals
    <strong>Microlofts at The Arcade Providence</strong>&nbsp;<em>Providence, Rhode Island</em>

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • Expanding options for a car-oriented suburban area
    <strong>Village of Providence</strong> <em>Huntsville, AL</em>

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • A mixed-use center for town and gown
    <strong>Storrs Center</strong> <em>Mansfield, CT</em>

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • Mercado District | Tucson, Arizona
    A timeless place from the ground up. #thisiscnu

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • A unique building becomes a hub for historic neighborhoods
    <strong>Ponce City Market</strong> <em>Atlanta, GA</em>

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • Jazz Market New Orleans Audience Seating
    Jazz Market New Orleans Audience Seating
    Trumpeting a cultural revival
    <strong>Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market</strong>&nbsp; <em>New Orleans, Louisiana</em>

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

In this unprecedented era, CNU is launching a new webinar series to provide a platform for members and allies to discuss, engage, debate how we as a movement can respond to new challenges. On the Park Bench: A Public Square Conversation, builds off the success of Public Square: A CNU Journal, which discusses best practices while illuminating cutting edge issues in urbanism worldwide. To complement this online resource, On The Park Bench presents interactive conversations with thought leaders in New Urbanism and allied industries, providing an opportunity for the audience to engage in real time. Powered by the Congress for the New Urbanism, Public Square and On the Park Bench are built to add depth and rigor to the practice of urbanism and improve our capacity for creating inclusive, resilient places—places that people love.

All live On the Park Bench webinars qualify for one CEU credit from AICP (click here for more on tracking and reporting). Additionally, CNU-A members can earn one CEU credit for all live and recorded On the Park Bench webinars (click here for more information on tracking and reporting).


September 1, 2020
Bring Back Main Street with Small-Scale Manufacturing:
The Who, the Why, and the How

Click Here to Watch the Webinar

Too many places are stuck in a default model of economic development strategies left over from the 80’s. People and places are being left behind. It doesn’t have to be that way. Join this training to learn about how we can flip the model on economic development and do it in a better way. One that invests in people and places. One that focus on action now and not just long-term plans. This training will show you how to build a strong and resilient economy through concrete steps to include all types of talent in your entrepreneurship efforts, why (and how) to focus on small-scale manufacturing businesses as a catalyst, and how new real estate models for main street (and downtown) can be essential to your success.

Ilana Preuss is the Founder & CEO of Recast City, author of forthcoming book, Recast Your City, and co-author of Discovering Your Maker Economy and Made in PLACE: Small-scale manufacturing & neighborhood revitalization. Through Recast City, she partners with local leaders to bring main street back to life, bring business back to downtown, and build an inclusive and resilient economy. She is passionate about making great places and sees that small-scale product businesses are a missing piece in today’s mixed-use development, commercial property repositioning, and local economic development strategy. Preuss’ passion for great places grew out of her experience working with big and small cities all over the country when she led the technical assistance program at the U.S. EPA Smart Growth Program, and as the Vice President & Chief of Staff at Smart Growth America.

This webinar is available for 1 CNU-A continuing education credit if viewed live or recorded. By registering for this event you also agree to sign up for the Recast City list.


August 25, 2020
Equity-Driven Planning
Click Here To Watch the Webinar

As New York City Parks Commissioner, Mitchell Silver oversees the management, planning and operations of nearly 30,000 acres of parkland. He is known for the innovative projects he has worked on, including the Community Parks Equity Initiative, Parks without Borders, Cool Pools and Creative Courts. Prior to returning to his hometown of New York City, he served as the chief planning & development officer and planning director for Raleigh, North Carolina. He was also president of the American Planning Association from 2011 to 2013, the first African American to hold the title. One of the nation’s most celebrated urban thinkers, Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver was elected to Planetizen’s list of 100 Most Influential Urbanists in 2017, and the Urban Times named him one of the top international thought leaders of the built environment in 2012.

We take a deep dive into the variety of ways that equity, inclusivity, and diversity can enhance and enrich the urban realm with Mallory Baches, Director of Strategic Development for CNU, and Mitchell Silver, New York City Parks Commissioner.

This webinar is available for 1 CNU-A continuing education credit if viewed live or recorded.


August 12, 2020
Housing Affordability & Access
Click Here To Watch the Webinar

Well before the impacts of COVID-19, cities and towns across the country were faced with an escalating housing crisis. In 2018, the National Low Income Housing Fund identified that full-time minimum wage workers cannot afford a two-bedroom apartment in any county in the country, and research suggests that both renters and homeowners felt cost-burdened long before the pandemic and its economic effects. Yet housing policy, local land use regulations, NIMBY (“Not In My Back Yard”) opposition and market forces converged with a pandemic to exacerbate already untenable housing costs for far too many. While the solutions to these problems are not simple, their importance strikes at the heart of the work to create more equitable, inclusive, and just communities.

If housing is a human right, and if diverse cities demand diverse housing options, then our methods for providing housing must adapt. During this webinar, Mallory Baches, Director of Strategic Development for CNU, will moderate a discussion between a panel of speakers from across the country representing a breadth of experiences and expertise in addressing housing affordability, access, and the both personal and collective economic impacts of housing. Together, they’ll explore the housing issues that cities are contending with, including the growing eviction rate across the country, state and local housing regulatory reform, innovations in housing provision across diverse needs and demographics, and more.

This webinar is available for 1 CNU-A continuing education credit if viewed live or recorded.


August 4, 2020
Decoding DOT: Navigating Transportation
Click Here To Watch the Webinar

Incorporating transportation and good design is essential for successful new urbanist projects. However, the path to implementation isn’t always clear – especially when navigating DOTs and career transportation officials. From level of service to traffic modeling, it can take an insider’s knowledge of engineering to get the job done when building walkable places.

Join us Tuesday, August 4th for the first webinar since our summer hiatus. A panel of New Urbanist engineers, including Norm Marshall (Smart Mobility Inc.), Norman Garrick (Civil Engineer, U Conn), Gary Toth (Project for Public Spaces), and Lucy Gibson (Toole Design), will share their perspective on building walkable places, as well as their experience working with DOTs to unravel some of the more enigmatic practices.

This webinar is available for 1 CNU-A continuing education credit if viewed live or recorded.


May 28, 2020
The Public Realm: International Edition
Click Here To Watch The Webinar

The impact that COVID-19 has had on cities around the world has not been uniform. Neither has the varying responses to the global pandemic. While some cities are transforming their streets into open-aired restaurants or closing them to cars in an effort to make it easier for pedestrians to physically distance, others are shutting down public space entirely. And these unique responses impact the experience of their people – depending on their community support, the design of their neighborhood, their access to housing and jobs, as well as many other factors.

But one thing that remains true across the board is that cities aren’t going anywhere, and public spaces will have to be adapted to meet the needs of a new normal.

We hope that you’ll join us Thursday, May 28th for the ninth and final webinar before CNU 28.A Virtual Gathering. Please note the day change; this webinar will be held on Thursday at noon EST instead of our regular Tuesday.

Mike Lydon, Founder and Principal at Street Plans Collaborative, will moderate a discussion between a panel of international speakers representing a breadth of experiences from the pandemic. Together, they’ll explore topics like open streets and the repurposing of street space, the impacts on various communities through an equity lens, the psychological and physical impacts on residents, and how our collective trust in returning to the public realm will shift as we emerge into a new normal. Our speakers include:

  • Marcela Guerrero Casas - Founder and former Managing Director of Open Streets Capetown from Bogotá, Colombia
  • Maria Sitzoglou - European Commission Urban Expert for OASIS Schoolyards Project and Advisor for the 100 Resilient Cities program from Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Robin Mazumder - Neuroscientist from University of Waterloo, Canada
  • Charles Brown - Founder of Equitable Cities, Senior Researcher with the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC), and Adjunct Professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers from New Brunswick, NJ


May 19, 2020
Adapting to the Crisis:
The Public and Private Response

Click Here To Watch The Webinar

In the midst of what some are referring to as the Great Pause, it’s clear not all communities are facing equal hardship. Some are reeling from grave human and economic losses, while others are also dealing with mandated closures that delay much needed work. Existing challenges, such as housing affordability or economic resiliency, may prove to be exacerbated by the multi-faceted punch of the COVID-19 crisis. The need for work in the placemaking fields is greater now than perhaps ever – but the global pandemic may have shone new light on the what, when, how, and even why of that work.

Megan O’Hara, Eric Wobser, Marina Khoury, and Matthew Petty discuss how their city-building work has evolved, and how they are adapting their practices in response to the sudden change from “business as usual.”


May 12, 2020
Subscribing to the Future:
Planning for the Declining Ownership Society

Click Here To Watch The Webinar

One likely outcome of COVID-19 is a post-pandemic acceleration of existing trends—the rapid movement from the impossible to the inevitable in a variety of fields. One trend that seems poised to accelerate is the decline of ownership—not just of big ticket items like housing and vehicles, but of everything down to the clothes on our backs. A shift to rental and subscription models will alter the economy significantly, including in the public realm and the built environment. U.S. tax policy continues to favor home ownership, but shifting attitudes toward ownership will require new settlement patterns and new policies to support them. What will be the impact on housing, policy, neighborhood and urban design?

Join us Tuesday, May 12th for the seventh webinar in our series, On the Park Bench. We’ll be joined by Todd Zimmerman, Director Emeritus of Zimmerman/Volk Associates; Tara Gupta, founder of Map-Collective.com and Anamakos; Jerry Reimer of Urban Village Development; and Louis Nequette, Principal and Founder of Nequette Architecture & Design.


May 5, 2020
National Town Builders Association + On The Park Bench:
The Pandemic's Impact on Real Estate Development

Click Here To Watch The Webinar

National Town Builders Association + On the Park Bench: The Pandemic’s Impact on Real Estate Development Social distancing requirements across the country have changed the way people interact with the physical space that surrounds them – from how they navigate their neighborhoods, shop for necessities, search for entertainment, and what they expect from local businesses. In less than two months, there has been a rapid shift in demand for different types of places, presenting new challenges for real estate developers of any scale. In addition to changing consumer demands, some are struggling to obtain permits for their projects, experiencing construction delays or moratoriums, and staring down potential diminishing returns on investments.

While the long-term effects on real estate development might be difficult to anticipate, the immediate effects are clear: developers will need to adapt in order to weather this storm.

Join us on Tuesday, May 5th for the sixth webinar in our series, On the Park Bench. We’ll be joined by a group of developers from the National Town Builders Association, including: Monica Johnson, NTBA Director, New Urban Connections; Rob Parker, NTBA Board Member, Pinewood Forest; Aaron Lubeck, NTBA Board Member, TND Partners, LLC; and Grant Humphreys, NTBA Board President, Carlton Landing.


April 28, 2020
The Local Government Response
Click Here To Watch The Webinar

As the current health, economic, and social crises have coincided, local governments are on the front lines of confronting the impact of COVID-19. Forced to adapt in real-time to the changing needs of their communities and the expanding restrictions that social distancing requires, our cities are playing a dynamic role in the collective response to the virus. Yet they face uncertain futures, with revenue shortfalls arriving just as the expansion of services is most needed.  What are the design and delivery challenges that our cities must contend with today as well as in the coming years, and how will local governments adapt to those challenges in innovative and responsive ways?

Join Kerry Hayes, Dan Baisden, Julie Mayfield, Jacob Lindsey, and Monica Carney Holmes as we discuss what their respective cities are facing in the wake of these crises.


April 21, 2020
Lessons from the (Last) Recession
Click Here To Watch The Webinar

One of the impacts of the current global health crisis has been a massive economic slowdown across sectors, a precursor to a downturn not seen since the Great Depression. In an ever changing landscape, it remains unclear how these economic changes will impact the fields of urban design, architecture, and placemaking. This can be triggering as so many in our industry experienced a similarly uncertain future during the Great Recession of 2008. However, there are lessons that we learned from the last recession that could be applied now, experiences and stories that can help CNU members and their firms navigate these troubling times.

In the fourth webinar in our series, On the Park BenchFrank StarkeyMary MaddenJoe Minicozzi, and Kevin Klinkenberg discuss what they learned during the last recession.


April 14, 2020
When the Public Realm Is All You Have: COVID-19 and Homelessness
Click Here To Watch The Webinar

In communities throughout the U.S., public spaces, including parks, plazas, and even sidewalks, have become a “home” for thousands of people. This phenomenon has become commonplace in nearly all major urban areas and has led to a variety of responses from elected officials, planners, and even private citizens; efforts that are at times both compassionate and punitive. In the face of a public health crisis, these efforts become especially important.

This webinar will highlight strategies that can address the complex challenges presented by the use of public spaces in a manner never anticipated by city planners, architects, and designers - to “house” those in need. A humane, far-sighted response begins with design and continues with ongoing engagement as well as support services that people truly need and embrace. Presenters will also address what homelessness can mean in the age of social distancing and “shelter in place” orders.

Speakers include Steve Coe, Principal of Steve Coe Consulting; Elena Madison, VP of the Project for Public Spaces; Carol Caraballo, VP of Behavioral Health Services at Thriving Mind South Florida; and Julia Orlando, Director of Health & Human Services Center at the Housing Authority of Bergen County, New Jersey.


April 7, 2020
Virtual Public Engagement: Developing a More Inclusive Approach to Charrettes
Click Here To Watch The Webinar

Effective public engagement is the cornerstone of the traditional charrette process. Though it is incredibly important to successful planning, it also requires a significant time commitment from participants. In recent years, many firms have sought ways to increase engagement from underrepresented groups and bring in new voices. Virtual public engagement has been gaining traction in a number of different venues, including new tools and techniques that may be a requirement for urban design and planning firms wanting to continue their work in the age of social distancing. By transcending the need to gather in person, virtual charrettes offer an innovative opportunity to bridge the gap among stakeholders and hear from a more diverse audience.

Victor Dover, Principal-in-Charge at Dover, Kohl, & Partners, discussed the virtual strategy he has used to ensure broader and more inclusive engagement. Kim DeLaney, Director of Strategic Development & Policy at Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, spoke about a recent virtual charrette the council hosted.


March 31, 2020
New Urbanism for a New World: Perspectives from Laurie Volk, Seth Harry, Mike Lydon, and Ashleigh Walton
Click Here To Watch The Webinar 

Laurie VolkSeth HarryMike Lydon, and Ashleigh Walton joined CNU CEO Lynn Richards to address the enduring power of urbanism to create community. New Urbanism has always been about creating people centered places that are socially just, economically robust, and environmentally resilient. With social distancing at the forefront of attempts to contain the spread of COVID-19, many are wondering if dense, urban living will come under scrutiny and result in a pattern of city-dwellers fleeing for suburban havens once again. Yet others have noted the importance of walkable urbanism in easing the transition to social distancing and traditional neighborhoods supporting a feeling of connectedness in the face of unprecedented solitude. Three generations of New Urbanist leaders joined us to discuss the continued and essential role of New Urbanism in a new world paradigm.

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