Monday, March 30, 2009

The New Urbanism: conference in Dallas and results in my 'hood

Just heard the early episode of "Think" (hosted by Krys Boyd, KERA 90.1 FM radio) today, which featured a guy by the name of Andrés Duany, who is active in the New Urbanist movement here in the States. He's here in the D/FW this week for several North Texas events sponsored by the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU).

Here's the mission statement/blurb off the CNU website: "Congress for the New Urbanism is a nonprofit organization aimed at curbing sprawl and re-establishing compact, walkable, and sustainable neighborhoods and cities. The North Texas Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU-NTX) works to further this mission through education, networking, and outreach within the North Texas region."

AND--here's the lowdown on the event Duany (and others) will be featured speakers for:


When: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 -- Registration 8:00 to 8:45 a.m. -- Seminar 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Where: The Belo Mansion Pavilion -- 2101 Ross Avenue, Dallas, TX 75201

For more event details, and to see other links on the Congress for the New Urbanism, click here.

As I heard Duany speak on the radio show, he seemed to confirm alot of my longtime ideas about the prerequisites for sustainable community. He spoke of suburban neighborhoods, with their wraparound driveaways and lack of front porches as antithetical to social interaction and "neighborliness." He also suggested that the welcome rise in front-yard vegetable gardening "supports urban pedestrianism." People basically enjoy walking on streets where there is something pleasant to look at and where people are out living in their yards (and on their porches). The more he spoke about these ideas, the bigger grew the smile on my face. I am living now in a thriving "neighborly" neighborhood, which appears to be a pretty good example of a new urbanism retrofit success. Two neighbors on my street have front-yard edible gardens; bicyclists and pedestrians are daily present on the sidewalks and streets; and the locally-owned businesses along Magnolia not only seem to be doing well but there are new places pegged to open very soon. Actually, yesterday, I noticed a new shingle sign had been put up within the past 24 hours. The sign announces a new clinic--located on the same block as King Tut, a florist, and the Hoagies sandwich shop. "Acupuncture Community Clinic" is the name of the clinic, and this week I hope to do what any friendly pedestrian in this, my favorite 'hood in Fort Worth, might do: stop in and welcome them to Fairmount.

Yes, this 'hood still needs a coffee shop, bakery, community garden, and bookstore. But at least we're getting a "grocer" of sorts--Ellerbe Fine Foods will be opening doors at 1505 W. Magnolia later this spring. According to a splash ad in a recent pull-out of the Weekly, Ellerbe will offer "Casual Fine Dining, Take-Away & Marketplace in Fort Worth's Southside".

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