At the 20th Congress for the New Urbanism, a Movement Feels its Age – Design – The Atlantic Cities
The Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) has become gosple of sorts, but there’s still lots to do:
“If the first phase of CNU has culminated in a broader culture acceptance of urbanism as a force for good, the second phase will be defined by successfully pushing for policy and design reform that actually allows urbanism to get built,” says CNU president John Norquist, a former mayor of Milwaukee.
Big foundations like Rockefeller, Ford, and Kresge are supporting transit and see urbanism as the setting for advancing social justice. Others see great public health benefits. A big focus is to get at the anti-urban policies and standards and rules at the federal, state and local level, Norquist says.
If that sounds like nitty-gritty implementation, and a little bit nerdy, too, CNU has always had a mix of rock-star designers and those among the 1,500 architects, designers, planners, elected officials, developers and others expected for the conference, who like nothing better than a lengthy debate on the merits of different varieties of shade trees.
Still, as unglamorous as it is, re-writing the owner’s manual for urbanism makes sense. It’s what another architectural movement – the Congress International Architecture Moderne (CIAM), after which CNU is modeled – did. Leaders like Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius wasted little time embedding modernism in codes and academic curricula.