Friday was the Congress for New Urbanism’s regional Summit sponsored by the Cascadia chapter. I was involved with CNU almost a decade ago and it was very much a cult of personalities. New Urbanism gained much of its notoriety through strong personalities involved with the movement. So it was refreshing to be in a room full of architects, planners, urban designers who were intently focused on creating complete cities in Cascadia.1
The theme for the day was Envisioning Resilient Communities and featured panel discussions such tools for measuring sustainability, the role of frequent bus service in shaping development patterns, and green infrastructure (namely rainwater management).
The keynote was delivered by Patrick Condon, a professor in Landscape Architecture from University of British Columbia. He spoke about the Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities – the title of his latest book. The seven rules are:
1. Restore the [transit]2 city.
2. Design an interconnected street system.
3. Locate commercial services, frequent transit, and schools within a five-minute walk.
4. Locate good jobs close to affordable homes.
5. Provide a diversity of housing types.
6. Create a linked system of natural areas and parks.
7. Invest in lighter, greener, cheaper, and smarter infrastructure.
There were two tours offered- one of Bothell, highlighting the transformation of this suburban community; and the other of the Seattle Waterfront, highlighting the conditions, challenges, and concepts for the new waterfront.
The day concluded with a PechaKucha-style presentation featuring two of Schemata’s own – Joseph Readdy and Grace Kim. Joseph shared the CNU’s Sustainable Street Network Principles, which he helped author and illustrate. Grace shared her vision for resilient, diverse, and sustainable neighborhoods – cohousing.
1 Cascadia is a region geographically defined as the land draining to the Pacific Ocean through the greatest temperate rain forests on the planet – primarily Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.
2 While he originally wrote “Restore the streetcar city” in his book, Patrick noted at end of panel discussion that the word streetcar caused too much controversy over the particular mode of transport and might be substituted with transit.