As part of our continuing preview of the upcoming Congress for the New Urbanism in Madison, Wisconsin, I wanted to make sure that everyone knew about the events that Strong Towns be directly involved in.

Wednesday - NextGen

As we posted yesterday, Wednesday is the One Day Congress put on by the Next Generation of New Urbanists. We're going to have some great speakers and some meaningful conversation about the future of New Urbanism and the future of our places. The NextGen Congress is a great place for first-time New Urbanists to ask questions and get acclimated to the difference between a "Congress" and your regular blah-blah-blah conference. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

If you are a Strong Towns reader and are attending your first conference, please let me know. Jon Commers and I will both be there and would love to get introduced and help you get involved in the NextGen proceedings. If you are a veteran of CNU and/or NextGen, please introduce yourself as well. I love meeting our readers in person, especially when I can get photos and some audio quotes to share here.

Thursday - Open Source

Our friend, the Restless Urbanist Edward Erfurt, shared a post on our site about the Open Source Session taking place on Saturday. I plan to offer at least two topics and, if people sign up, will get those discussions going. More on this here at the blog tomorrow.

Thursday - Conservative Caucus

A handful of conservative-minded New Urbanists have decided to organize a get together for fun, good conversation and to raise awareness of how New Urbanist principles are consistent with traditional, conservative thought. My fellow NextGen members Eliza Harris and Edward Erfurt have helped set up a friendly and inclusive lunch at the Brocach Irish Pub, which is just two blocks from the Congress.

I'll be there and, just to prove we welcome all points of view to the table, I hope to drag the much-less-conservative (actually, liberal) Jon Commers with me.

In all seriousness, the planning profession can often seem dominated by liberal-minded people. One of the great things about New Urbanism is how it transcends easy labels, providing a platform for a wide variety of thought. We want to hold this gathering to demonstrate that the New Urbanist movement is consistent with traditional, conservative thought and hopefully attract more conservative-minded people to the New Urbanist cause. We hope to make it an annual event, so please plan on attending.

Thursday - Pecha Kucha

I've been invited to participate in a Pecha Kucha event to be held in the Project Lodge between 6 and 8 PM. The topic will be Our Town, Grassroots Strategies for Local Placemaking. While I have not put together my presentation yet, I have an idea that is a bit of a twist on this topic that people may not be expecting from an engineer/planner. That's all I will reveal - you'll have to attend to hear more.

Friday - Sprawl Repair Session

I am really honored to be part of the main program this year, having been invited to speak as part of a panel Friday afternoon. Here are the details of the session from the program:

Sprawl Retrofit Action: From Design to Reality; Seeping vs. Sweeping

Friday, June 3, 2011 | 3:45 PM - 5:00 PM 

Sprawl retrofit must be pursued through urban design and regulatory reform, but equally, through the deployment of economic strategies and tools for effective implementation. The strategies for funding and incentives must be counterparts to the ones that made sprawl the prevalent form of development. In effect, reforming the economic “operating system” of sprawl will require asking hard questions such as: What are the tools for redevelopment, and how can we re-deploy them? Rather than the instant and total overhaul of communities in pursuance of repair – like the disastrous “urban renewal” projects promoted in American cities for decades -- should sprawl retrofit be a more bottom-up strategy for widespread incremental and opportunistic improvement? What are the best practices for achieving these goals?

Charles Marohn, Jr., P.E., AICP, Executive Director, Strong Towns
Josh Martin, Land Use & Communities Program Director , South Carolina Coastal Conservation League
Michael Mehaffy, Managing Director, Sustasis Foundation 
Joseph Minicozzi, AICP, New Projects Director, Public Interest Projects, Inc.
Jed Selby, Co-Founder & President, South Main Development, Inc.
Daniel K. Slone, Esquire, Partner, McGuireWoods LLP 

And then on Saturday I plan to rest....but not before I've heard the closing plenary discussion with Andres Duany and Charles Waldheim.

If you are not heading to Madison, you can follow the proceedings live right here. I'll be blogging as often and as thoroughly as time allows while also taking audio for podcast updates. You can also follow the Twitter stream at the hash tag #CNU19.