|Hello there, |
CNU first met in Alexandria's Old Town in 1993. As that was nearly 20 years ago, let's review what's happened since then.
In its first three years, CNU produced the Charter of the New Urbanism, the design standards for HOPE VI and - perhaps most important to mayors and other city officials - projected a positive view of urbanism.
Think back to the early 1990s and almost every association with cites and urbanism was negative. Environmentalists fetishized nature. Big name architects were copying Philip Johnson's glass house in a rural context. Even pro-city organizations like the US Conference of Mayors were lined up in DC highlighting their own pathologies, declaring impending doom as a cause for federal aid.
Almost alone at the beginning, CNU emphasized the benefits of urbanism. CNU designers set out to reclaim the techniques of place making and community building; to reconnect the design professions with each other; and to engage a public that had become disillusioned and hostile to development with a beneficial ideal of urbanism.
CNU brought forth public charrettes, form-based codes, the Smart Code, the Transect, LEED-ND, the CNU Canons, the ITE/CNU Designing Walkable Urban Thorougfares manual, the recently released Sustainable Street Network Principles booklet, and a long list of books from CNU member authors that have had a major impact on design and the perception of urbanism.
Urbanism has gone from being despised to a market niche, and most recently, a market trend. And now, we aren't doing this alone. We have allies like the Urban Land Institute, the Institute of Transportation Engineers and many other design, development and environmental groups.
We should reflect on our accomplishments at CNU 20, but not for very long. That is because CNU members still have much work to do removing government obstacles to urbanism, providing productive design advice, building value into old cities, retrofitting aging suburbs, and spreading acceptance of urban solutions to design challenges. Let's never forget that urbanism can help save the world.
See you in West Palm.
John O. Norquist
CNU CEO & President
Early Registration End Wednesday, April 4th!