In this last of our CNU preview pieces, I wanted to talk a bit about the Open Source topics I would be suggesting in the hopes that (a) some of you may seek out and have a discussion with me at Open Source, and (b) you may be inspired to offer your own topic for myself and others to consider. 

A brief review of Open Source, this from our friend Edward Erfurt of the Restless Urbanist:

Mechanics: the first step in the process is for anyone in the audience who wants to come to the front of the room, write a topic you care about and your name on a piece of paper, and read out your topic and name to the group.  You will then choose a time slot and location for your discussion by selecting one of the sticky notes.  

A main wall in the Ballroom becomes our community bulletin board with the schedule of the “insta-Congress”.  Once everyone has named their topics, we will open up the “village marketplace” so that people can find which sessions they want to join. Sessions and presentations may inspire additional topics, which can be added to the marketplace throughout the Congress. 

Passion & Responsibility: Open Space Technology is based on the twin pair of passion and responsibility.  Things only get done when someone takes responsibility for it, and people really only take responsibility for the things they are passionate about.

When you put your topic and name down, you are taking responsibility for (1) showing up at the appointed time and place, (2) getting the conversation started, and (3) finding someone in your group to take notes.

[For more, check out the complete post at The Restless Urbanist.]

Here are the Open Source topics I will be offering.

1. Complete Streets and New Urbanism 

How does the rising popularity of the Complete Streets concept help the New Urbanist cause? Are there ways to improve the application of Complete Streets to further New Urbanist principles?

2. Austerity Urbanism

The roots of New Urbanism -- the old urbanism of the pre-automobile era -- were clearly developed in more austere times. How can this help the New Urbanism (and by extension, our places) today as we react to economic contraction and changing financial realities? 

3. Moving the debate beyond sprawl and motoring.

Our national response to hard economic times has followed the familiar template of propping up the post WW II development pattern as the solution. How do we move the national debate beyond the paralysis we have over sustaining the unsustainable. In the lexicon of the book Switch: How to change things when change is hard, how do we inspire the "elephant" and "clear the path".


If you find these topics to be of interest, I hope to meet you at one or all of these sessions. If there is something you're excited to explore, you can share it here, but also please make sure you share it at the Open Source Congress. It is the fruits from these types of discussions that really are the strength of the New Urbanist movement.


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