“Reinventing Chicago” Preview: Andrés Duany
CNT’s upcoming event, Reinventing Chicago: What’s Technology Got To Do with It? features talks from experts such as CNT’s own President Scott Bernstein, the Chief Technology Officer for the City of Chicago John Tolva, and seminal architect and urban planner Andrés Duany. We are very excited to be working with Mr. Duany, because in looking for a figure in smart, sustainable development, we couldn’t have found a better authority.
Andrés worked as a successful condominium developer in Miami, Florida until 1980, when he became disillusioned with developer culture and formed an independent practice with his wife: Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ). DPZ began working on smart urban planning using a philosophy that came to be known as New Urbanism. Thirty years later, Andrés says this of New Urbanism:
“Basically it is making communities that are mixed-use and mixed-income and complete, to the extent that they allow you to live without a car. And that has all sorts of implications. For the 50 percent of Americans who do not drive, they have a kind of freedom of movement.”
Andrés co-founded the Congress for the New Urbanism in 1993 and has published numerous books and academic articles.
The tennets of New Urbanism have been adopted by all sorts of communities; his ideas are now widespread and seen as an effective response to the suburban planning of past decades. The importance he places on walkability has been instrumental in developing concepts like Transit-Oriented Development (TOD), and DPZ’s work has focused on affordable and sustainable building methods. For Andrés, “green” building should be the same as affordable building.
“I think it’s absolutely absurd that people say that LEED-certified buildings might cost two, three, four, five times as much. And I say, ‘What are you talking about? How did you get there?’ ”
This is the sort of attitude that CNT has been espousing for years, from our own LEED-Platinum building in Wicker Park to our work renovating older buildings to make them more energy efficient.
Andrés’ work has been featured perhaps most prominently in the film The Truman Show in which Seaside, Florida, a DPZ’s community was the filming location and ideological backdrop. Viewing that film, one can see the way that buildings are grouped close together without being claustrophobic or crowded, and pleasant surroundings make for a much more walking-friendly atmosphere than most suburbs.
At the Reinventing Chicago conversation, Andrés will be discussing urban form, and with input from Scott Bernstein on sustainable regional economy and John Tolva on technology, the conversation will generate ideas as to how the internet and other tools can inform and support sustainable development in real places – like Chicago.
These ideas will provide a starting point for the Urban Sustainability Hackathon the following weekend at which coders and developers will produce some new apps and tools to promote sustainable development and living.
Reinventing Chicago will take place on Thursday, October 4 at Red Frog Events in Chicago. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up-to-date on information about the event. For sponsorship and ticket information, visit the event’s page or contact Nicole Gotthelf.