This fall, leaders from several national planning and development NGOs met in Louisville, KY to discuss the idea of small-scale urban buildings and fine-grain urban neighborhoods. Summit participants were John Anderson and Jim Kumon of Incremental Development Alliance, Christopher Coes of LOCUS, Brian Falk of Lean Urbanism, Jim Heid of ULI, Jim Lindberg and Margret O'Neal of Preservation Green Lab, Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns, Lynn Richards of CNU, Frank Starkey of National Town Builder Association, Matt Wagner of National Main Street Center, and me.
The summit was unprecedented. We locked ourselves in a room for eight hours to discuss a single emerging trend, its importance, our different perspectives on it, and how to cooperate to maximize impact and change. We recently finalized a joint statement based on our discussion: "We, the participants of Small-Scale Urbanism Summit 2015, agree that:
- Scale or grain is an independent variable of urban buildings and neighborhoods.
- Scale or grain that is small has many benefits, faces barriers, and needs support.
- Groups that we are part of have missions that implicate small, thus it is shared value.
- Our groups can provide support for small.
- Summit participants will use best efforts to encourage our groups to support small.
- Such support will primarily continue existing group strengths, but with focus on small.
- Such support may involve new dedication of resources (money, time, etc.).
- In order to achieve maximum benefit, groups should continue to communicate and cooperate."
I hope the summit, joint statement, and ongoing cooperation lead to a significant increase in top-down support for small-scale urban buildings and fine-grain urban neighborhoods.