Watch out. A national attack on smart growth and New Urbanism is under way — organized by libertarian and free-market ideologues and led by economist Randal O’Toole.
O’Toole, director of the Thoreau Institute in Bandon, Oregon, called together 125 opponents of smart growth for a Feb.
It’s useful to have opponents. They point out your errors, and save you from re-
peating them again and again.
Unfortunately, some of New Urbanism’s and smart growth’s opponents — who gathered in late February for Randal O’Toole’s “Preserving the American Dream” conference in the nation’s capital — indulged in so many gross exaggerations and disingenuous arguments that usable criticisms were hard to come by.
After six years of outstanding service, Poticha moves on.
The Board of Directors of the Congress for the New Ur-
banism announced March 5 that Shelley Poticha, the organization’s Executive Director since 1997, will be resigning as of July 1, 2003. Ms. Poticha is leaving the organization to head the new Center for Transit Oriented Development, a national effort to encourage walkable mixed- use development in transit corridors.
“We are very sorry to see Shelley leave us,” said John Norquist, chair of the CNU’s Board of Directors and mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Since CNU was founded, the movement has in large part developed in conferences, seminars, summits, and newsletters. But every week, hundreds of urbanists are learning from intense on-line discussions. Electronic resources, both from CNU and from other urbanist allies, are absolutely crucial for ongoing education. Here are some of the best.
The CNU website is one of those places where the more you dig, the more you find.
New Urban News’s annual survey of neighborhood-scale projects finds more new developments than ever.
Neither a slack economy nor talk of war slowed the progress of New Urbanism in 2002, as the number of neighborhood-scale new urban projects in the US jumped 26 percent. Projects that have left the planning stage and are under construction grew by 28 percent.
Since the Charter of the New Urbanism was written, people have argued
about how well development projects fulfill its principles. Homebuyers, investors, and public officials all want to know if a project is real New Urbanism. Various individuals and groups offer checklists, scorecards, and other ways of grading New Urbanism. A number of efforts by CNU members are grappling with creating systems for judging projects.
Each type of emerging certification system embodies a unique perspective and goal.
For years, CNU members have sought ways to customize the organization so that it can serve specific geographical areas. Up to now, CNU has not had a method for supporting chapters. Consequently, members’ mutual education and networking remained informal. Today, chapters are on the way.
At its September meeting, CNU’s board took several steps to open the organization to increased member involvement. It created three voting ex-officio board positions, approved the creation of student chapters, and carefully moved forward with professional chapters.
The Seaside Debates: A Critique of the New Urbanism Edited by Todd W. Bressi Rizzoli, 2002, 160 pp., $45. When someone publishes the contents of a conference nearly four full years after the panelists have shut down their PowerPoint programs and gone home, it’s usually a sign that what was said wasn’t very thrilling. Sure enough, this volume — a lightly illustrated transcript of a predominantly academic symposium conducted at Seaside in 1998 — gets off to a lethargic start. But about a quarter of the way through, the comments begin to turn provocatively sharp.
The organizational meeting of the Seaside Pienza Society for Town Building and Land Stewardship took place in July in Pienza, Italy. The mission of the organization is to explore “how beautiful agricultural lands can be saved from sprawl and how compact cities with edges can make that possible,” according to Phyllis Blyweis, executive director of the Seaside Institute, which will manage the society until a nonprofit corporation can be formed.
The founders of the society were Seaside developer Robert Davis and prominent architects Ray Gindroz and Leon Krier.