Michigan Prosperity Agenda: CNU 24 Congress to Put National Spotlight on Detroit and Michigan
Since the inception of the Prosperity Agenda radio show about five years ago, we’ve been talking about placemaking here in Michigan and the importance of creating communities that you love. Sometimes we can view this work in a vacuum but in truth placemaking is part of a much larger, global movement.
This international placemaking revolution will be put on display right here in Detroit in June when the 24th annual Congress for the New Urbanism comes to Michigan for the first time - ever. CNU 24, as it’s affectionately called, will bring to our city upward of 2,000 planners, architects, designers and community leaders from around the Globe. It will put Detroit in the national spotlight, but it’s also a highly interactive event. We here in Michigan hope to learn as much as those who come to Michigan for the Congress.
You could call CNU 24 a conference, but it’s really much more than that.
On this month’s Prosperity Agenda radio show on News/Talk 760 WJR we talk to some of those involved in CNU 24 and why it’s so important to Michigan.
Michigan Municipal League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin is the host and is joined each month by a co-host. This month’s co-host is Crystal Proxmire, publisher, editor and reporter of Oakland 115. Our guests are CNU CEO and President Lynn Richards, CNU Board Chairman Doug Farr, and Birmingham Mayor Pro Tem and CNU 24 Host Co-Chair Mark Nickita.
The show airs 7 p.m. April 27 on News/Talk 760 WJR, but you can listen anytime on the audio links below. Listen as we talk about the conference and how people are building better Michigan communities.
View past radio shows here. You can also listen anytime by clicking on the audio links below or by subscribing to the FREE iTunes podcast. Learn more about the League’s placemaking work here on this blog.
Listen to the full show: (37:50)
Dan Gilmartin, executive director and CEO of the Michigan Municipal League, explains that the Prosperity Agenda radio show is about challenging listeners to help make Michigan a better place to live, work and play. Gilmartin said having vibrant and prosperous local communities is a key factor.
- Dan Gilmartin explains this month’s show. (1:14)
Crystal Proxmire is the editor and publisher of Oakland 115. She grew up in Ferndale and attended Hazel Park High School. She’s been writing since age 9 long dreamed of being a journalist. She lost her newspaper reporting job in the Muskegon area in 2006 during the downturn of the newspaper industry and reinvented herself as a hyper-local online community journalist. Crystal talks about what she covers and her focus on local communities.
- The world needs journalism. There are a lot of Oakland County communities that don’t have a local paper and that’s where Oakland 115 comes in. Here Crystal explain. (6:47)
Lynn Richards is President and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism. Previously, Richards had a long and distinguished career at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), holding multiple leadership roles over 13 years including Acting Director and Policy Director in the Office of Sustainable Communities. She worked with dozens of state and local governments to implement placemaking approaches by developing policies, urban design strategies, and environmental solutions for vibrant, prosperous neighborhoods. Before joining the EPA, Richards worked briefly in the private sector at a consulting firm. She lived and worked in the former Soviet Republics from 1988 to 1995, helping environmental groups increase their organizational and political effectiveness. Richards was awarded a Loeb Fellowship in Advanced Environmental Studies at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in the 2012-2013 school year.
- Richards talks about why CNU decided to bring its annual Congress to Detroit. The question isn’t “why come to Detroit?” it’s actually “Why not come to Detroit?” Hear Lynn explain. (10:12)
Doug Farr is the founding principal of Farr Associates, an architecture and planning firm regarded by many as one of the most sustainable design practices in the country. Having a mission to design sustainable human environments, Farr Associate's unique niche is in applying the principles of green building at the scale of the neighborhood and in designing green buildings exclusively for urban contexts. Doug is chairman of the board of the Congress for New. Farr Associates designs healthy and valuable places and buildings for its private, not for profit and public sector clients. Having worked for John Vinci, Davis Brody and Paul Rudolph, Farr's own work has been featured in Architectural Record, the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, and Doug is a featured speaker on an upcoming six-part PBS series on sustainability and green buildings.
- Doug grew up in Detroit and talks about what it means to him to be coming back to the Motor City for the CNU 24. (9:43)
Mark Nickita, AIA is an urbanist, architect, retail entrepreneur, developer, educator, an elected municipal leader and President of Archive DS, an award-winning, architectural and urban design firm in Detroit and Toronto. He has distinct expertise in the development, enhancement and the regeneration of existing, pedestrian-oriented urban environments including downtowns, neighborhoods, developed corridors, mixed-use areas and underutilized districts of post-industrial cities. His urban design projects include large scale redevelopment master plans, mixed-use corridor strategies, non-motorized and transit infrastructure planning, including the Detroit Citywide Non-Motorized Plan and the Woodward Avenue Bus Rapid Transit Alternative Analysis. With the goal of building and enhancing Places for people, he has resided and traveled to over 400 major cities throughout the world in order to better understand architecture, design and urban issues. Mark is a City Commissioner, current Mayor Pro-Tem and has served as Mayor of Birmingham and is also co-owner of urban retail establishments in Downtown Detroit, including the Pure Detroit Stores, Workshop, the Rowland Cafe and Stella Cafes.
Nickita and his partners are about city building and making cities better for people. Listen to Mark explain how they do that. (9:54)