So, You're On The Fence...

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You’re not sure whether you want to come to Dallas/Fort Worth in April for our 23rd annual Congress. 

Maybe the timing is off, or it’s too close to another event. Maybe the travel distance to Texas is intimidating. Or maybe you’re just thinking, “for a gathering that unites the world’s leading experts for four days of education, collaboration, discussion, and debate on the policies, designs, and emerging approaches that create great places…why choose Dallas?”

The Dallas/Ft. Worth area is filled with surprises. As our newest colleague Rob Steuteville wrote in Better Cities & Towns, “Visitors to Dallas–Fort Worth may be surprised at the growing number of hip, walkable neighborhoods in and around both cities. The New York Times last year reported on the changing demographics and market preferences in Texas in general and DFW in particular. ‘Pockets of walkable, mixed-use development have existed in Texas for years, especially in and around the major downtowns,’ writes David Muto. ‘But an influx of young adults in Texas, the nation’s second-fastest-growing state from 2010 to 2013, has given walkability advocates more visibility.’”

What are attracting people to this region? The quirks. The surprises. The unexpected—like the gritty coolness of the Deep Ellum neighborhood. Did you know that Dallas’s Fair Park has the world’s largest collection of Art Deco architecture? I love that the mayor of Fort Worth (who will be speaking Wednesday evening) holds public meetings on her bicycle. And Klyde Warren Park, which is located over Woodall Rogers Freeway, recently received an ULI award for excellence in urban open spaces and that’s the location for our closing party. 

I’m really excited that CNU 23 will put us in the heart of North Texas and I’m not alone. Jeff Tumlin called me the other day to tell me how excited he was. “Dallas is the city that best represents what’s happening with urbanism across the United States.”

As New Urbanists, we thrive on challenges and the problems that other people can’t solve. We are THE thought leaders and innovators on how our regions, cities, towns, and neighborhoods are built. The Dallas/Fort Worth area represents a tremendous opportunity for us to learn and engage on challenging issues facing not only the area but all growing metropolitan regions, many of which share many of the same characteristics as Dallas: burdensome infrastructure and underdeveloped city centers.

Our 23rd Congress will explore “Meeting the Demand for Walkable Places.” What better place than Dallas/Fort Worth to explore the divide between what kind of places Americans want to live in and what kind of places we're continuing to build? What better project than the Trinity Parkway, a proposed downtown Dallas toll road and lightning rod in the battle over the future of the city’s transportation systems, to symbolize the debate over transportation and the use of downtown land? Many cities across the U.S. have a road or highway around which the community is divided on how to address. Come to Dallas to learn and to give us the benefit of your wisdom and experience on hard issues facing communities across the country.  

In addition to the usual thought provoking and informative sessions you’ve come to expect from a Congress, we will have a number of sessions that seek to push the envelope, stir debate and dialogue, and challenge our assumptions, including:

  • Friday Night Debate between CNU founders and CNU NextGen
  • Learning the Language of Transit with Jarrett Walker and Mariia Zimmerman
  • How to Rebuild Architecture with Mark Lamster and Steven Bingler
  • Happy City Applied Workshop with Charles Montgomery
  • How to Build & Finance Small-Scale Incremental Urbanism with Monte Anderson and R. John Anderson (no relation)
  • A roundtable on the built environment and adaptation with Lizz Plater- Zyberk
  • Missing Middle Housing session and urban exploration with Dan Parolek

Finally, every day at the Congress we’ll be getting outside with planned runs, walking tours, and bike rides.   

So join us. Add your voice. Give us the benefit of your ideas and your insights. Get off the fence and register for the 23rd annual Congress for New Urbanism. Come to CNU 23 for the sessions and the content. See old friends and meet new partners.  

I can’t wait to see you in Dallas. 

Lynn Richards, President and CEO