The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) meeting started in Seattle yesterday. For coverage, you can see the liveblog here. For those visiting the city this week, our guide to urbanist sightseeing in Seattle, written for Rail~Volution in 2013, has been kept up to date.

8 Replies to “Welcome, CNU Attendees!”

  1. New Urbanism is the New Colonialism, the New Imperialism, the New Manifest Destiny. Why don’t you all Sea-Exit your way out of Seattle and don’t let the door hit your collective pancake fannies on the way out.

    1. Err, New Urbanism is none of those things. It wants to build more affordable housing and more transit so poor people aren’t stuck in outer suburbs, where there is increasingly less access to services and jobs.

      1. Yes, it is all of those things. You know the ideology of New Urbanism is in its death throes when it’s proselytizers have to resort to using buzzwords from Tumblr blogs and claims such “exclusionary zoning is (LITERALLY) institutionalized racism” to justify upzoning… while simultaneously upzoning/incentivizing, mowing down, and rebuilding the CD, Rainier, Colombia City, Beacon Hill and displacing the communities you claim to care about.

        You people are hypocrites. You know any cause or concept is losing ground and losing popularity once people have to resort to “that’s raycist!” as an argument to convince people your opinions on zoning and land-use on worth supporting. Pitiful!

      2. No one here said anything about racism. If New Urbanism is dying, then why is dense transit oriented urban living more popular then ever?

        A lot of people want to live in those places, so if you don’t want to displace people, you have to increase the supply of housing there.

      3. New Urbanism (capitals) is a specific organization, the one that organized this conference. Has it specifically called anyone a racist? New Urbanism is for a return to walkable neighborhood design, as was universal before 1945. The CD is an example of what it likes. CNU-affiliated developers have mostly focused on greenfield developments in the suburbs: the Issaquah Highlands is the best example in our region, followed by Redmond Ridge, parts of Beaverton Oregon, etc. The Bellevue-Redmond axis is perhaps affiliated with New Urbanism, I’m not sure.

        New urbanism (lower case) is a more general movement that has the same basic principles (though they sometimes disagree on what exactly they are). It’s more diverse and has no leader, so what one person says another person can’t be responsible for. To me new urbanism is about walkable neighborhoods and frequent gridded transit; in the city it’s the same as old urbanism. In the suburbs it’s a return to streetcar-suburb design, which means building things to pedestrian scale rather than car scale. Other proponents have slightly different and sometimes incompatible definitions.

        As to racism and redevelopment in the CD, the most you can say is that some new urbanists (lower case) believe not upzoning creates de facto white privilege, regardless of whether those homeowners intended it or not. Ignoring the de facto effect still excludes the have-nots, regardless of the intention. Seattle had a population of 200,000 in the 1920s. That was fine for bungalow houses. Seattle’s population is now 670,000 and the region’s is approaching 4 million, and housing prices are rising rapidly because there’s not enough housing for the population or new jobs. In that environment it’s unconscionable not to increase the number of units through infill development and upzoning. It doesn’t have to be midrise tower breadboxes. There are lowrise models we could follow, like Boston and Paris and Edinburgh. You can fit a lot of people in a few stories if you have lots of buildings and not a lot of dead space between them. You can still have trees and parks too, you just can’t have large setbacks everywhere and excessive unused “open space” between each house and more parking spaces than people.

    2. Don’t feed the trolls unless they say something interesting.

      I wanted to attend the CNU conference but it was out of my price range. I’m checking the live blog every few hours.

      1. Don’t feed the trolls even if they do say something interesting. It’s just not worth the time and effort.

        But welcome to the CNU attendees. Unfortunately there will only be about 1 day of good weather for them to enjoy, but hopefully they will have a good stay.

  2. Be sure to take at least one ferry trip (either downtown to Bainbridge or Bremerton), as the scenery on a clear day, especially this time of year, is very good. At least parts of two snow capped mountain ranges (Cascades and Olympics) may be visible.

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