One of the most important takeaways from CNU (Congress for New Urbanism) 23 for me was the feeling of community. Some of the featured “thinkers” from this website were in attendance and when I talked to them, they were engaged and present. I was star-struck. There was also a collective sense of purpose around building sustainably in terms of for the pedestrian and not for the car. I could tell that people took this charge seriously and wanted to do there part to help mitigate the negative affects of climate change and create environments that are more equitable and enjoyable for everyone.
The following are some quotes that stood out, many of them from the skillful orator Andrés Duany:
– “We refuse to simplify,” as New Urbanists. We are an “elite organization that embraces complexity.” (Duany)
– We can “save nature by making places that humans love.” (Ibid.)
– In terms of market demand for New Urbanist/walkable places, “our agenda is to level the playing field, not to impose.” (Ibid.)
– “Community trumps privacy for baby boomers and millenials.” (Todd Zimmerman)
– “The street is the most important public space.” (Victor Dover)
– “We’re not designing for communities, but with ” (Dr. Antwi Akom)
We have a lot of work to do as city planners, architects, developers, entrepreneurs, etc., but I feel that CNU is a well-equipped organization to address some of the greatest challenges of our time.