December 15, 2020
In a year characterized by constant change, new challenges and general unpredictability, CNU Florida addressed the heightened need for New Urbanism during the 2020 CNU Florida Statewide Virtual Summit, held September 21–25. Through virtual workshops and collaborative sessions, this year’s summit explored the role New Urbanists play as leaders in our communities, uniquely positioned to help tackle issues from equity to the pandemic to natural disasters.
Beginning with a special pre-summit Complete Streets workshop led by Dover-Kohl and Partners, Hall Planning and Engineering, and the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department, the 2020 CNU Florida Statewide Summit continued the tradition of delivering high caliber, practicable content from leaders at the forefront of reshaping our communities to be better places for people. Sessions by Better Block, the City of West Palm Beach and the West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, and the City of Thomasville with creative firm Fontaine Maury provided tools to equip New Urbanists for their mission to build places people love.
On Monday, CNU President and CEO Lynn Richards kicked off the weeklong summit by challenging attendees to expand their scope to work on both emerging and systemic challenges like equity, racism, and empowering historically oppressed communities. Further addressing both emerging and systemic challenges, a presentation from Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns provided a toolkit for local leaders responding to the pandemic.
As the week progressed, DPZ CoDesign planner Andres Duany challenged current paradigms and dogma as he shared new approaches to urbanism and design in light of the pandemic. The Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority discussed ideas for pivoting in unprecedented times, and lessons were learned from Panama City on rebuilding after natural disasters to be more equitable and more resilient.
With so many new ideas being shared, Florida State University staff highlighted ways to process them through the meaning-making process and demonstrated how places and spaces can be designed to promote meaningful reflection.
These rich sessions, complemented by virtual tours and social hours, coalesced to deliver a successful and inspiring CNU Florida Statewide Summit in a virtual format. With a huge thank you to the sponsors, the speakers, the summit planning team, and everyone who participated, let us apply the tools, expand on the ideas, and leverage the networking from the summit to continue CNU’s leadership in shaping the future of Florida and each of our communities.
As we look ahead, the CNU Florida board is already preparing for the 2021 Statewide Summit. Share your ideas or topics with us at [email protected].
Artie White, 2020 CNU Florida Summit Chair,
CNU Florida Board Treasurer