Sign up to be a Debater at our Annual CNU Debates

Every year at the annual Congress for the New Urbanism, Strong Towns has the honor of hosting a highly entertaining (and educational!) series of debates on some of the most pressing current issues in the world of urbanism. We've dished on gentrification. We've debated the merits of smart growth. We've even questioned the tenets of New Urbanism itself. 

Today, we're excited to share this year's potential debate topics and put out a call for debaters. Read on to get more details and sign up to participate.

Debate Info & Format

On Friday, May 18 at 8:00 PM, Chuck Marohn will host the Congress for the New Urbanism Annual Debates live from CNU 26 at the Knights of Columbus, Council 631 Hall (3 West Liberty Street) in Savannah, GA.

This event is a mashup of Oxford-style debating and American Idol. First, each side will have two debaters give an opening argument. Then we'll move onto a Q&A session, followed by a chance for each participant to offer a closing argument. Throughout the debate, our judges (see below) will give feedback and critique. Audience voting will determine the winning team.

The event is open to the public and you don't need to be a CNU attendee to participate. Get more info about all our events at CNU including presentations and live podcasting sessions.

The 4 topics currently under consideration for this year's debates are:

  1. CNU would benefit America's cities the most by focusing its efforts towards changing federal policy.
  2. The challenges our cities face are too great, and too critical, for us to shun megaprojects.
  3. Widespread deployment of automated vehicles will, in time, make America's cities more livable, equitable and prosperous.
  4. Hurricane Harvey definitively demonstrated that land use policy cannot be left to local governments.

We'll narrow this list down to 2 topics based on interest.

Sign up to be a Debater

Join in the fun this year by signing up to be a debater. Please indicate on the form below if you would like to argue in favor or against on the following propositions (or if you'd prefer not to tackle a certain topic) Please apply by May 11 in order to be considered.

Name *

Meet Your Judges

We're pleased to welcome back last year's judges: 

  • Andres Duany - architect, urban planner, and founder of New Urbanism (but don't let that intimidate you if you're thinking of debating proposal #1)
  • Kate Durio - writer, downtown expert and Assistant to the Mayor-President of Lafayette, LA
  • R. John Anderson - founding member of the Incremental Development Alliance, principal at Anderson | Kim and a seasoned judge at the debates