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CNU 18: Atlanta 2010

I found out last night that I've been accepted to volunteer at the Congress for the New Urbanism Conference hosted this year in Atlanta. I had to apply for consideration and didn't send in my forms until the due date, so this is good news, and surprising. I'm not sure how competitive it was, but I'm very happy to be exempted from the $435 registration fee.

...And the list of speakers! I only recognize about a third of the names, but those that I do recognize are really exciting - folks from juries in college, people I've read and cited in papers, and a lot of people that are high up in the great, good firms in Atlanta.

My Most Notables:

Peter Clathorpe
William de St. Aubin, Sizemore Group
Peter Drey, Cooper Carry
Andres Duany
Ray Gindroz, Urban Design Associates
David Green, Lord Aeck Sargent (formerly with Perkins+Will)
Kenneth Groves, City of Montgomery
Peter Katz
James Howard Kunstler
Steve Mouzon
Nathan Norris
Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk
Stefanos Polyzoides
Terry Shook, Shook Kelley Architects
Dan Solomon
Jeff Speck
Bill Tunnell
Fred Yalouris


For me, this list is amazing, and these are the talks I'll be hoping to attend. Half of the folks on this list are sitting on my book shelf right now; the other half are people that I've sought out to work with or learn from over the last several years. Of all of them, I think I'm most most excited about Dan Solomon, who wrote one of my all-time most influential books - Global City Blues. You should read it if you haven't.

Man...This is a good list.

It looks like in all they've got about 150 speakers. I don't know how they're going to have time for all of them. But rest assured, I'm going to write about everything; people I meet, talks I hear, EVERYTHING. It's gonna be great.

Bob Danger Lives in Fireland

"Mo reaches inside his coat pocket and pulls out an incredibly nice fountain pen and a business card that says YOU ARE WELCOME on one side and I CERTAINLY DO APOLOGIZE on the other. He circles the former and writes a URL underneath that I can't, in good faith, repeat here."


I'm seriously considering having some of those cards printed. I like Fireland, and I like Bob Danger. He makes me feel alive.

Go to Fireland.

Learning Activism Symposium

It looks like the Citizen Architect is right up there with the Green Architect these days. Hopefully this one isn't a fad.

From Portland Architecture, yet another forum discussing the role of the Citizen Architect. Scanning the article, I happened to notice the name of one of my Auburn University studiomates, Danny Wicke. We've been out of touch for years, partially because I stayed at Auburn for my masters while he went out to do his thesis at Rural. Apparently, he's been quite busy traveling and speaking here, here, and here. I'm impressed.

More Excellence from Jason Fried

Since the epic layoff of Spring 2009, I've been on a possibly Quixotic journey into the world of the freelance creative value producer. Early on I found that Jason Fried was at or near the center of a world of creative professionals who are wreaking havoc all over the internet and they make it look good.

They don't buy the get paid for showing up paradigm. Here he rails against modern office culture and talks about how counterproductive it is to work in shared environments where any and everyone has seemingly limitless power to interrupt you. The workplace is for work; let me work.

Sometimes when it gets really late, I like to listen to his words and think about Ayn Rand.

Fun Small Buildings

Nice little simple structures designed and built by Architect Amir Sanei. I've never heard of him or his architectural toys until now, though apparently he's been featured in Dwell.

One day someday I'll have a place (a backyard maybe) where I can play around with bricks and scraps and test out some of the stuff I read about and draw all the time. Until then, I'll keep reading and drawing and admiring other people's work from afar.

Snakebit Missionaries

In the South, it's very common for a dozen high school or college kids to pile into a bus or plane bound for Mexico to "build" a church or school or house. These mission trips used to bother me a lot. I resented the rich American kids and their professional (but good hearted) parents shelling out $500 a pop to spend a vacation in a semi-exotic local where they "worked" for people in need. The sense of self-satisfaction it gave the kids, I found doubly annoying. It was as if the kids didn't get the joke: Those needy people could have built something better in half the time with less than the amount of money it cost to get even one of you down there. If you or your parents or your church really wanted to help I thought, you should have cancelled the trip and sent the money instead, right?

I don't feel this way anymore because now I get it, and now I believe that churches and parents get it as well. I heard a minister say "Of course these types of trips are for the people going. If it wasn't about the kids going, we'd just send money." They're working a long-term, world changing strategy here - a Snakebit mentality. Sambo Mockbee felt the same way, I think. Infect the wealthy with service and care and they'll never get enough of serving.

Saul Bass on Beauty

“The fact of the matter is, I want everything we do, that I do personally, that our office does, to be beautiful. I don’t give a damn whether the client understands that that’s worth anything, or whether the client thinks it’s worth anything, or whether it is worth anything.”

Saul Bass via 9-bits