This week at Strong Towns we are going to be previewing CNU 21 in Salt Lake City. The Congress for the New Urbanism will open on Wednesday, May 29 in downtown SLC. There is still plenty of time to register and be part of the most intellectually stimulating gathering of people that I've engaged with, all of them working on the issues we are most passionate about here. If there is one event each year that I can't miss, it is this one.
A couple years ago I wrote about why I became a New Urbanist (I included the essay in my book). It is not your traditional tale, but if you attend CNU you will find out there are few paths that are "traditional". I dedicated my first book to my friends in CNU's NextGen, people I didn't even know four years ago but they have now become a huge part of my life, professionally and personally. Each Congress that list grows.
So today I am very honored to announce that I have been asked to deliver the closing plenary at this year's Congress. I will be joined by Mark Gorton (who I'll provide more on in a second).
I'm beyond humbled by this invitation. Five years ago I went to my first CNU. I didn't know anyone. I didn't want to meet anyone. I wasn't sure all this new urbanist stuff was for me, but I wanted to check it out. I was a spy among them, but I came away stunned and inspired. And that was just from listening, not any of the deep personal engagement that is the hallmark of CNU.
So this group is a collection of my intellectual heroes. Andres Duany, of course, but also people like Victor Dover, who has encouraged me at every step. John Anderson, who has not only been a mentor and a guide to CNU but has become a good friend. I am going to stop at those three because, if I got going, it would be dozens and dozens and I would be certain to miss some key people. Let's just say that I would travel to Salt Lake City to hear any of these people speak, so I'm blown away that they have given me such a prominent role this year.
And to top it off, I get to share the stage with Mark Gorton. I got to meet Mark in person for the first time last year, but we had communicated before that and I'm obviously aware (as many of you are) with the ventures he has been part of over the years, such as the Streetsblog network and Streetfilms. Mark is very intelligent, well-spoken and has many great insights to share. He is a true visionary. The officials at CNU originally framed this to me as kind of a debate, but I suspect that, despite our different backgrounds, there ultimately would be few things Mark and I could not find some common ground on.
So make plans to be in Salt Lake City at the end of the month. If you've never been there, it is a gorgeous place. I wanted to take today and highlight the great opportunity I've been given with the closing plenary, but the rest of this week I'm going to share some of the other great things that are going on, from NextGen to Debate Night to some lunches, meetups and sessions I want to highlight.
Let me know if I'll see you.
This week the regular conversation continues over on the Strong Towns Network. Join us there for new content all week. Today I have some thoughts on the Bretton Woods agreement after reading a recent book on the topic.