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New Urbanism Summit in Poughkeepsie will Focus on Revitalizing Downtowns, Urban Agriculture and Climate Change

Jay Burgess, Scenic Hudson, Director of Communications, 845 473 4440, Ext. 222
Larry Gould, CNU New York, Chief Executive Officer, 646 274 3725

Scenic Hudson helped attract statewide conference here

James Howard Kunstler—author and critic of sprawl—to speak

HUDSON VALLEY, N.Y.—Planning professionals, elected officials, developers, citizens and others are invited to attend a conference to learn, share and debate ideas for “New Urbanism,” including downtown revitalization, adaptation to climate change, retrofitting suburbs and urban agriculture. The event is produced by the New York Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), which helps create vibrant and walkable cities, towns and neighborhoods where people have diverse choices for how they live, work, shop and get around. Scenic Hudson is a sponsor and helped bring to the Hudson Valley this statewide conference that will promote the innovative community-building efforts happening in cities such as Poughkeepsie, Beacon and Kingston.

Walking tours and keynote address on day one

The Hudson Valley Summit will take place in Poughkeepsie on Friday and Saturday, June 2–3. Kicking off Friday afternoon activities are walking tours of Walkway Over the Hudson and the waterfront as well as Poughkeepsie’s emerging Main Street district, redeveloped Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory and an indoor organic farming operation. Following that, a welcoming event at Canvas restaurant, on Main Street, will feature the keynote address by James Howard Kunstler. A noted author, journalist and blogger, Mr. Kunstler is a social critic who lectures across the country on how energy challenges and related issues will move Americans to live in smaller-scaled communities with local sources for food and other resources. He has addressed the American Institute of Architects, International Council of Shopping Centers, National Association of Science and Technology, and many other organizations. Widely sought to speak at colleges and universities, Mr. Kunstler has presented at institutions such as Yale, MIT, Texas A&M and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Featured speakers, panel discussion and topical breakout sessions on day two

Day two activities will happen at the Changepoint Church, on Mill Street, Poughkeepsie. The panel discussion featuring regional planning and economic experts will include Scenic Hudson Land Use Advocacy Director Jeff Anzevino and Scenic Hudson Urban Planner Peter Barnard. Also participating will be City of Poughkeepsie Community Development Coordinator Paul Hesse, New York City-based land use and economic consultant Kevin Dwarka, and Pace University Land Use Law Center Deputy Director Tiffany Zezula.

Conference attendees will be able to choose among various breakout sessions on topics covering New Urbanism, re-establishing downtowns, climate change impacts on shorelines, and urban and rural agriculture. These forums will feature regional and national leaders. The lunchtime keynote will be delivered by Lynn Richards, president and CEO of the CNU, headquartered in Washington, D.C. Ms. Richards will explain the role and resources of CNU and how they can provide technical support to practitioners in the Hudson Valley region.

After Ms. Richards, the summit will hear from author Phil Langdon, on “How Walkable Communities Improve Over Time.” This presentation provides an overview of what residents and businesses can do, and have done, to strengthen the appeal of an existing neighborhood or an old town center. From his new book, Within Walking Distance, Mr. Langdon presents examples of how residents and merchants in several Northeastern locales added valuable new features, usually along their principal streets.

The conference cost is $75. For more info and to register, at

Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison said, “We are incredibly excited to welcome professionals from the planning world to our city for this conference. Our administration and city staff have worked hard to establish a sound planning foundation, steeped in the principles of inclusive, responsible and sustainable growth. The recent wave of energy, excitement and investment in our city suggests that we are beginning to realize the fruits of our labor. The City of Poughkeepsie has the potential to serve as a model for how other communities, facing similar challenges such as legacy urban renewal issues and years of disinvestment, can apply new urbanist strategies to reinvent and reinvigorate themselves.”

CNU NY Chief Executive Officer Larry Gould said, “New Urbanism provides benefits to residents, businesses, developers and municipalities. Development based on principles of New Urbanism is an effective way to revitalize our cities, and build our economy in a way that creates compact, mixed-use, walkable communities that reduce our carbon footprint and mitigate against future climate change. The CNU NY is pleased to provide Hudson Valley success stories as best practices for planners, developers, local officials and other stakeholders from across the state.”

Mr. Anzevino of Scenic Hudson said, “This is a great opportunity for the Hudson Valley. Professionals and citizens can attend to learn about great ideas, innovative work, and policy and design opportunities as well as network with neighboring and national experts. Having our region picked as a host area signals that the Hudson Valley has outstanding resources and is demonstrating leadership in creating well-designed areas that are unique and authentic and the kinds of places where people want to live.”

Other partners working together to produce this conference include Renaissance Downtowns, Orange County Citizens Foundation, VHB, APA New York, Pace Land Use Law Center, Leyland Alliance, and Tighe & Bond.

About Congress for the New Urbanism New York

CNU New York is the statewide chapter of the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU). Since 1991, the CNU has worked for the development of walkable and sustainable cities, towns and neighborhoods and against the spread of auto-based sprawl. Our charter says The Congress for the New Urbanism views disinvestment in central cities, the spread of placeless sprawl, increasing separation by race and income, environmental deterioration, loss of agricultural lands and wilderness, and the erosion of society’s built heritage as one interrelated community-building challenge. CNU stands for the restoration of existing urban centers and towns within coherent metropolitan regions, the reconfiguration of sprawling suburbs into communities of real neighborhoods and diverse districts, the conservation of natural environments, and the preservation of our built legacy.

About Scenic Hudson

Scenic Hudson preserves land and farms and creates parks that connect people with the inspirational power of the Hudson River, while fighting threats to the river and natural resources that are the foundation of the valley’s prosperity. A crusader for the valley since 1963, we are credited with saving fabled Storm King Mountain from a destructive industrial project and launching the modern grass-roots environmental movement. Today with more than 25,000 ardent supporters, we are the largest environmental group focused on the Hudson River Valley. Our team of experts combines land acquisition, support for agriculture, citizen-based advocacy and sophisticated planning tools to create environmentally healthy communities, champion smart economic growth, open up riverfronts to the public and preserve the valley’s inspiring beauty and natural resources. To date Scenic Hudson has created or enhanced more than 65 parks, preserves and historic sites up and down the Hudson River and conserved more than 40,000 acres.