More Than Talking Heads: Congress for the New Urbanism Promotes Healthy Cities and People

The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), which I helped to plan this year, is in Atlanta next week, May 19-22. It's the 18th year of the event bringing the nation's most prestigious proponents and creators of livable, sustainable communities to the city for two days of networking, collaboration, education, tours and special programs. Anyone who would like to discuss development practices and public policies, learn from recent innovative work and advance new initiatives to transform communities, is welcome.

See an excellent video: SPRAWLANTA.

CNU is an urban design and development movement dedicated to developing community oriented principles of traditional town and city planning in contrast with the prevailing system of formless sprawl. New urbanist developments are walkable, provide a diverse range of housing options, encourage a rich mix of uses, and provide welcoming public spaces (read the CNU charter). If you are developer, architect, landscape architect, town planner, urban designer, engineer, environmental consultant, transit/transportation planner, bike and ped advocate, housing specialist, real estate broker, regulator, government official, or interested member of the public, you should check it out.

This year's conference is titled New Urbanism: Rx for Health Places and has been organized with assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of the strategies that the CNU promotes to make communities more livable, energy efficient and better positioned for economic success are the same ones health officials promote to make places healthier. Studies have shown that there are numerous health, social, environmental and economic benefits that come from a more connected way of living that flourishes in towns where people can walk, bike, and interact with their neighbors.

There will be a number of impressive speakers at the conference, but one particular highlight will be David Byrne, front man for Talking Heads. David will speak about how cities reveal themselves differently when traveling on a bicycle as opposed to a car. In addition to David's musical talents, he has spent the past several years writing the Bicycle Diaries, a book chronicling his use of a bicycle as his main form of transportation.

I hope to see you at the congress.

Posted in Beyond Parking on May 12, 2010

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