CNU21 Duany's Thursday Morning Plenary

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Andrés Duany and the crowd at Thursday morning plenary at CNU21 in Salt Lake City


   Andrés Duany led off Thursday morning at CNU21 by laying out a far-ranging view of what the near future needs to look like, and what we can do to get there. Here's a selection of my tweets from that session:

• CNU has now held 10 more congresses than CIAM.

• CNU's great conflicts have always been conflicts of ideas, not conflicts of territory.

• LEED, while powerful, has become a dinosaur. It can barely move.

• I was for establishing standards; Dan Solomon was always against it, and he won. 3 years ago, I told Dan "we could have been LEED"

• Now, looking at how ossified LEED is, I say "thank you Dan Solomon for paralyzing my argument!!"

view across the crowd as Andrés Duany delivers the Thursday morning plenary at CNU21 in Salt Lake City

• Duany, to Edward Erfurt early this morning: "I don't think this talk is coming together." Edward: "Good. We need talks like that."

• Landscape Urbanism and Harvard have set themselves up as "not the New Urbanism."

• You're not a New Urbanist if you haven't read the Charter.

• Emily Talen said: "the New Urbanism is intrinsically top-down and bottom-up."

• The New Urbanism is the Charter and the charrette. Principles and practice. It has never been combined like this before.

• Urban Land has become a New Urbanist publication. Why do we need one when they do such a good job?

• The New Urbanism forges ideas, and others take them up. And that's the way it should be.

• We don't worry about taking credit; we want to see the work get done.

• We knew the greatest beast we had to enter as a virus was environmentalism. We didn't know how technocratic it would be.

• The virus is now inside the beast, but unfortunately, the beast is infecting the virus.

• New Urbanism could become just like 1000 other environmental organizations, and we don't need 1001.

• Becoming just another environmental organization would make the New Urbanism completely irrelevant.

• Nature was about beauty until about 1900, when it became scientific.

• The American environmental movement is the only environmental system in the world that doesn't include humans.

• American environmentalism began with the national parks. Every human that enters degrades the ideal.

• Defining humans as being outside nature leads to draconian environmental laws.

• No European environmentalism could ever say "you can't build on the hills," or in the woods, or near the river.

• American environmentalists say Times Square is horrible, but it hosts millions of visitors who aren't in Yellowstone bothering the bears.

• New Urbanism works to build places so enticing that people will willingly choose to live compactly and efficiently in the city rather than ruining the countryside.

• Nature doesn't care so much whether rainwater enters the aquifer here or a mile down; it doesn't hurt the little water molecules.

• We do not polemicize the visual green. If we did, you can't build Charleston again.

• If an ideology won't let Charleston be built again, I cannot condone it.

Chuck Marohn interviewing Edward
Erfurt after CNU21 Thursday morning plenary session

Chuck Marohn interviewing Edward

Erfurt after the plenary

• You cannot achieve the extraordinary reward of street life by Landscape Urbanism, except by using PhotoShop.

• It's not our fault that New Urbanism becomes too expensive; that simply means there's not enough of it yet.

• "Locally widespread but nationally rare": environmental parlor trick for protecting species that are plentiful.

• American environmentalism is perpetually the overlord and the underdog.

• New Urbanists study success wherever it occurs.

• We know Portland's small blocks are good and Salt Lake City's big blocks are bad, right? look deeper, and we need both.

• The problem with Salt Lake City is that it's not today what Joseph Smith and Brigham Young had in mind.

• The problem with Salt Lake City today is that the original grid was infected with the DNA of sprawl.

• Nature doesn't begin as primal forest; New York didn't begin with 100-story buildings.

• The problem with the New Urbanism over the past 10 years was that we were bitten by the bug of financial protocols.

• Make many small successional deals, not one big deal.

• We absolutely need to deliver town centers at the beginning - the inaugural condition is a single-story town center.

• Everything of the New Urbanism in its first decade was incubated. we must restore that.

• Seaside has a comprehensive set of green measures, but they were all done because they were cheaper.

• "Environmentalism costs more, but it pays for itself in 8 years" is utterly biased to high-tech.

• High-tech environmentalism is absolutely going to crash. The Original Green will replace it.

• Code-writing was the least cool of the uncool, but those incredibly lean early New Urbanist codes were glamorous.

• Fat codes are bad because you can't amortize small projects.

• why has NextGen become tactical? Because they can't get things done through today's code burden. So they bypass them.

• The last act of the first generation of New Urbanists should be to deliver a world where the young can operate.

• Centuries do not begin when 00 clicks. The 20th century lasted until the real estate bubble of 2008.

OpenSource Congress sessions at the end of Thursday morning plenary at CNU21

OpenSource Congress sessions made up the last half of the plenary

• The real estate bubble. Peak oil. Climate change. All of this happened at the same time. It didn't have to… nothing tied them together… but it did anyway.

• The real estate bubble revealed the economic limits of the US permanently. Essentially, we're broke.

• It's not about oil running out. It's that energy is going to hereafter be more expensive.

• The problem with climate change is that it's so slow-motion, but there's a pall that we have lost the war.

• When people are depressed, they lose their idealism, but we can turn all of these problems into virtues.

• We can turn these into virtues, pleasures, joys, and meaningful things IF we avoid getting infected by the pall.

• We have to say that sustainability is adapting to the circumstances.

• The Now Urbanism

• Architects have no hope of achieving the Vernacular Mind; it's been engineered out of them.

• A new century. Protean CNU. Viruses & Membranes. The Vernacular Mind. Subsidiarity Process. Successional Growth.

• Interim Buildings. Light Green Tech. Pink Codes. Flexbuildings. Pod Practices.

• The SmartCode has flaws because it plugs into the existing system.

• CNU is based on the genetics of CIAM: separate firms pulling together to create a movement.

• If you get along, you're not noticed. The New Urbanism was noticed by ITE and ULI because we caused them problems.

• Adaptation has no friends and is in bad odor because it's considered to be giving up, but it's what will work, and what will give us hope.

• "Copyright - Use Without Permission" that's what we do to prevent our materials from being copyrighted against us.

• Lean Engineering = the Original Green.

• Let us rediscover real engineering that allowed the cities of the West to be built with little money.

• Lean Engineering = Light Imprint.

• Lean = the Subsidiarity Process.

• Subsidiarity: person-family-street face-block-neighborhood-municipality-state-nation-UN. 

Decision should be made at smallest scale at which it makes sense.

• Today's true avant-garde isn't doing frivolous buildings, but rather lean ones.

• The model that's crashing next are the architecture schools.

• I hire people because of the firms they've worked in, not the schools they've gone to.

• We should self-certify the graduates of our firms.


   ~Steve Mouzon


PS: Here are my upcoming sessions… please come!


Original Green Hope for Architecture (with Clay Chapman): Tonight at 8:30 PM at the Peery Hotel


Agrarian Urbanism and the Mormon Block: Saturday at 10:45 AM, Grand Ballroom BC


Art Room: Design Techniques for Charrettes: Saturday at 2 PM, Murano room


Legacy Comments


Steve Mouzon · Board Member at Sky Institute for the Future

Thursday morning's plenary at CNU21 led off with an important address by Andrés Duany about the directions architecture and urbanism should be taking now. Lots of great Duany quotes here... what do you think?

May 31, 2013 3:23pm


Kevin Hamak · Owner at Farmer K, LLC

I love these quotes by Andres Duanny: 
-If an ideology won't let Charleston be built again, I cannot condone it.
-You cannot achieve the extraordinary reward of street life by Landscape Urbanism, except by using PhotoShop.

May 31, 2013 4:26pm


Grant Humphreys · The Town Founder at Carlton Landing

Steve, you're an amazing machine. Thanks for making such a great record of this great talk!

 Jun 1, 2013 12:12pm


Richard Bono · Owl Valley Studio at Richard J. Bono, Architect

What a clutch of rabidly anti and un environmental statements from Mr. Duany who, though living in Miami, average six feet above sea level, fails to see the irony of his words, no less their emptiness. And he does spout many words....very many words. Where there is a notable lack of words, are in his recommendations to other vulnerable places, like his home town. There are no words in the Miami 21 Plan on ocean rise. Not one. He fails even to address the all time number one existential issue facing his own city.

Jun 2, 2013 4:13am


Richard Bono · Owl Valley Studio at Richard J. Bono, Architect

And let us not forget the lovable Mr. Mouson. He lives in very lovable South Beach, not three feet above sea level. Mr. Mouson too is in love with words, usually his own words. Both he and Mr. Duany are a living embarrassment to the cause of responsible urbanism, and an example of the kind of bad acting that have made, and will make, the "new" urbanism dead in the water....so to speak.

 Jun 2, 2013 4:23am


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