Ruth Walker's blog
It is sometimes objected to new urbanism that it’s somehow inauthentic - that streets where the houses have front porches and communities built around a town center may have more to do with stage design than the way real people live today.
The “complete streets” idea - the concept that streets need to be designed for all users, including pedestrians and cyclists as well as SUVS and fire trucks - has caught on well in recent years. Maybe it’s caught on too well, in fact.
That was one of the messages in the NU 202 session on “Implementing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares” at CNU 19.
I came away from the Thursday morning session on “The City of Continuity: New Urbanism and Historic Preservation” with a lot of interesting ideas. But my favorite phrase was from Ann Daigle, who’s working with the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment to help train a new generation in the traditional skilled building crafts to help rebuild New Orleans. So much depends, she said, on “the quality of our joinery.”
“Knowledge is more important than space,” Harvard Prof. Ed Glaeser told an SRO audience at the Friday morning plenary of CNU 19. And that, he added, is the story of cities writ small.
Grids are the urbanists' power tools, Lee Sobel told Friday afternoon's session on "The Great American Grid." They help build great places quickly.
David Byrne, move over. There's room for more than one rock star at this Congress.
Talk about power lunching. At yesterday's Urban Labs lunch, at St. Luke's Church, a few minutes' walk from the Hilton, those of us at Table 1-A finished off our box lunches and then within about an hour sketched out a possible solution to a vexing problem of downtown Atlanta - the Downtown Connector.
Is "livability" a reckless extravagance under current economic conditions? Too purely aesthetic? Not practical enough? And what about "sustainability"? It's become the accepted language of many in the political class, as well as enlightened designers and builders. But it's not everybody's language.
This language gap surfaced during the Thursday session "Vision California: Climate Change Metrics and Mandates for Changes."
A cyclist can travel 3.5 miles on the energy of a 350-calorie slice of pizza. A car can go 100 feet.
The spirit of transformational change rolled in on two wheels Wednesday night at the opening plenary of CNU 18 at Atlanta's famed Tabernacle Theater.