2010 Creating Value: Designing for Resilient Cities

NC State University College of Design in conjunction with the Department of City Planning, Urban Design Center and NC State Foundation 7th Annual Urban Design Conference

Creating Value: Designing for Resilient Cities

The 7th Annual Urban Design Conference, Creating Value: Designing for Resilient Cities, will explore the design strategies that cities imagine, develop, and implement as they grow stronger and more vibrant while facing economic, environmental, and social challenges. Presenters and conference attendees will delve into the elements of resiliency that designers, planners, developers and policy-makers use to enhance the value of the cities facing these challenges.

Conference Schedule

7th Annual Urban Design Forum
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Raleigh Convention Center
2 East South Street
8 am to 5:00 pm

Moderated by Paul F. Morris, FASLA, Greenleaf Strategies, LLC

7:45 am Registration Check-In, buffet continental breakfast

8:30 am Welcome and introductions by Dean Marvin J. Malecha, FAIA

8:45 am Presentation by Shelley Poticha, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Sustainable Communities: The New Federal Role

9:45 am Networking Break/poster session

10:00 am Presentation by Jim Heid, UrbanGreen
Resilient Cities and The New Normal: Can We Get it Right This Time?

11:00 am Presentation by Alexandros Washburn, New York City Department of Planning
3 Civic Virtues for Sustainable Urban Growth

12:00 Lunch Buffet

12:45 pm Presentation by Tom Dunbar, Center for Resilient Cities
“Imagining the New”: Applied Resilience Planning in the Urban Context

1:45 pm Presentation by McDuffie (Mac) Nichols, Economics at AECOM
Session title TBA

2:45 pm Networking Break

3:00 pm Presentaton by Maurice Cox, School of Architecture, University of Virginia
Creating Resilient Cities: The Politics, Policies and Players

4:00pm Media Panel: Tomorrow’s Headline?
What will be tomorrow’s headline? Will the policies and strategies discussed today “make” the headlines in the near future? Media panelists will explore how these issues affect communities and constituencies and will interview speakers and participants throughout the day to offer perspectives on presented topics.

David Bracken, The News & Observer
Bob Geary, The Independent
Leoneda Inge, North Carolina Public Radio
Mary Newsom, The Charlotte Observer

4:45pm Conclusions/Closing remarks

5:00pm Adjourn

Immediately following the conference:
Reception for conference participants at the Raleigh’s Department of City Planning Urban Design Center, 133 Fayetteville Street (within walking distance of the Raleigh Convention Center).

Session Descriptions

Sustainable Communities: The New Federal Role
Shelley Poticha

The US departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) have joined forces to form the “Partnership for Sustainable Communities” to help improve access to affordable housing, more transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment in communities nationwide. Through a set of guiding livability principles and a partnership agreement that will guide the agencies’ efforts, this partnership will coordinate federal housing, transportation, and other infrastructure investments to protect the environment, promote equitable development, and help to address the challenges of climate change. The “livability principles” guiding this agreement include: providing more transportation choices; promoting equitable, affordable housing; enhancing economic competitiveness; supporting existing communities; coordinating and leveraging federal policies and investment; and valuing communities and neighborhoods. Poticha will address how this federal partnership will lead the way to develop resilient, sustainable communities and regions.

Resilient Cities and The New Normal: Can We Get it Right This Time?
Jim Heid

Beginning with Urban Renewal to mega-block, mixed use developments to new urbanism we have now moved into a century focused on urban sustainability and resiliency. This evolution recognizes the impending challenges presented by climate change and the very real disruption created by the current economic downturn. Design professionals have always been at the forefront of exploring new concepts, often as the primary architect of their construct. Yet we, as a profession, continue to be challenged to achieve the enduring change we seek – livable, vibrant, diverse cities and regions. Is this the result of the dynamic organism we call ‘cities’ or is it a deficiency of our profession to understand the complexities beyond design that shape our cities? This session we will explore these questions, with a review of the design tools available for creating more sustainable cities. However, more important than what we do, is how we participate in the process. A vision for how our role must change, along with the roles of others, if we are to take advantage of the opportunity the current market upheaval has provided.

3 Civic Virtues for Sustainable Urban Growth
Alexandros Washburn, AIA

New York City is growing rapidly in a period of climate change. How will the city grow? Will we follow the examples of Robert Moses? Or will we follow the example of Jane Jacobs? We might want to follow the example of Olmsted. On Earth Day 2007, Mayor Bloomberg launched PlaNYC, a 135-point plan to accommodate 1 million more New Yorkers while reducing the city’s carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2030. The plan is highly technical, but it is based on a new vision of civic virtue. Urban design is developing a new language of design to interpret these sustainable civic virtues, just as the Greeks developed a language of architecture to express theirs. What are these new virtues? They are the qualities that will allow the city to grow safely in a period of rapid climate change, while leaving both the city and the overall environment better and more sustainable for it. The virtues are prudence, thrift and creativity, virtues that every city dweller has within them. These virtues are expressions of the three ways a city can deal with climate change: adaption, mitigation and resource creation. I will give you New York examples of each, and specifically examine a major resource creation project: the New Hi Line Park and its surrounding neighborhood. We will look closely at the planning techniques used to align politics, finance and design that made this project happen. Ultimately, we should understand how this project fits in to the larger agenda of letting New York City grow while adapting to the effects of climate change, mitigating the city’s carbon footprint, and generating a major renewable resource, in this case, parkland. The result relies on the type of creativity you can only find in cities, and the result would satisfy all three great New Yorkers: quantity for Moses, quality for Jacobs, and a bit of nature in the city for Olmsted, too.

“Imagining the New”: Applied Resilience Planning in the Urban Context
Thomas F. Dunbar, FASLA

Resilience is identified as “the ability of a social-ecological system to deal with disturbance while retaining its essential function and structure” Session participants will learn about the values embodied in resilience planning and the applied resilience planning process and framework practiced by the Wisconsin-based, non-profit Center for Resilient Cities. Dunbar will describe the evolution of this framework through three Center projects. Urban agriculture, green building, green infrastructure and collaborative partnerships are key elements in each of the projects. Participants will be invited to contribute their experiences and thoughts to the evolving understanding of applied resilience planning in the urban context.

Sustainable Economics in Resilient Cities
McDuffie Nichols

Recent economic upheaval has focused attention on “sustainable” development practices. The question of development feasibility has been revised to not only include financing and cash flow for the project developer, but also environmental economics, market diversity and community-supportive uses and design. Session participants will hear how sustainable and mixed-use development strategies are being used by cities to build a broad-based economic foundation that can not only survive, but thrive in the future. This session will explore how thoughtful designers and developers create livable, resilient places that make sense economically, as well as aesthetically. Using economic metrics, case study examples and group discussion, this session will explore how solid economic planning can create vibrant cities.

Creating Resilient Cities: The Politics, Policies and Players
Maurice Cox

The public realm is the political context for urban transformation. Elected and appointed officials, community stakeholders, and private sector investors all play important roles in the complex work of urban transformation. Advocates for excellence in the design of cities frequently lament our lack of collective will to make big plans or to say no to insignificant ones. This session will explore a number of design leadership venues created by the National Endowment for the Arts to assist public officials and design advocates in their efforts to build community resilience to embrace transformative positive change in American cities.

Speaker Biographies

Maurice Cox is an urban designer, architectural educator at the University of Virgina, School of Architecture and former Mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia. He most recently served as Director of Design for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) where he presided over the largest expansion of direct grants to the design fields, oversaw the Governors’ Institute on Community Design, the Your Town Rural Institute, and the Mayors’ Institute on City Design (MICD). To strengthen urban design implementation by MICD alumni mayors, Cox developed the MICD Technical Assistance Workshops and assisted in the creation of the NEA’s MICD’s 25th Anniversary Initiative celebrating the program’s 25-year history of transforming communities through design. Cox served as a Charlottesville City Councilor for six years before becoming the mayor of that city, from 2002-2004. His experience merging architecture, politics and design education led to his being named one of “20 Masters of Design” in 2004 by Fast Company Business Magazine. He was a founding partner of RBGC Architecture, Research and Urbanism from 1996-2006. The firm received national acclaim for its partnerships with communities traditionally underserved by architecture. The firm’s design for a New Rural Village in Bayview, Virginia, received numerous national design awards as well as being featured on CBS’s “60 Minutes” and in the documentary film “This Black Soil”. A recipient of the 2009 Edmund Bacon Prize, the Harvard University Graduate School of Design 2004-05 Loeb Fellowship and the 2006 John Hejduk Award for Architecture, Cox received his architectural education from the Cooper Union School of Architecture.

Thomas R. Dunbar, FASLA, is the Executive Director of the Center for Resilient Cities, an organization with projects in Madison and Milwaukee that uses resilience design to weave green landscapes into the built environment, creating organic opportunities for social and economic development. From 1982-2007, Dunbar was Principal, Landscape Architect and Planner with Dunbar/Jones PLC in Des Moines, Iowa, focusing on landscape architecture, urban design and planning. Prior to moving to Des Moines to join the Environmental Design Group in 1978, Dunbar worked in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Manhattan, Kansas; Madison, Wisconsin; and Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has taught at Iowa State University, the University of Manitoba, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Kansas State University. Dunbar is active in many professional organizations and has been recognized many times for his accomplishments and community service. He is a Past President of the American Society of Landscape Architects and currently serves on the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board and the Leadership Development Committee. Dunbar received his Master of Science/Landscape Architecture and Master of Business/Administration degrees at UW-Madison in 1974, and the University of Iowa in 1985, respectively.

Jim Heid, President and Founder of UrbanGreen is a real estate advisor, land planner and sustainability expert, whose focus is the creation of developments that provide a positive contribution to their environment, region, and residents. In 2000, he founded UrbanGreen to advise established development companies, governments and legacy nongovernmental organizations that seek better development models. With more than 30 years experience in the design and development of new community, urban infill, and resort developments, Heid is known to effectively resolve the complex layers of community design and real estate development using a variety of proven tools and best practices. He is motivated by the need to deliver high quality developments to a broader market—in an increasingly complex world of entitlements and financing—without compromising environmental, economic or placemaking objectives. Over the past decade he has pioneered many of the Urban Land Institute’s evolving contributions to sustainable land development, climate change and real estate investment. For ULI he serves on the Climate, Land Use, and Energy Committee. He frequently presents at national conferences and is the primary instructor for ULI’s Sustainable Communities Development Workshops. Prior to founding UrbanGreen, Heid worked as an urban designer/ land planner and real estate strategy advisor with Design Workshop and EDAW, where he also served as Chief Operating Officer. In 1994, he earned a Master’s of Real Estate Development from MIT.

McDuffie (Mac) Nichols, Managing Principal for the Washington, DC office of Economics at AECOM, has more than 25 years of experience in downtown revitalization and redevelopment, urban neighborhood commercial district revitalization, historic real estate development, retail and mixed-use development, community development, smart growth and public-private partnerships. He has extensive experience developing revitalization projects and implementation strategies for private corporations, nonprofit organizations and government. He joined AECOM’s Economics group (formerly Economics Research Associates) in 2005, working on urban mixed-use projects. Prior to joining ERA, Nichols served as Director of Preservation Development Initiatives at the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, DC, managing a pilot program combining urban commercial development, residential neighborhood revitalization in historic and older districts, cultural heritage tourism and targeted financial incentives. As the Senior Program Manager for Technical Services at the National Trust’s National Main Street Center, Nichols oversaw a nonprofit consulting practice serving 43 statewide Main Street revitalization programs. He consulted on downtown and neighborhood commercial revitalization programs in more than 200 local Main Street revitalization programs in 49 states in the US, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, India and Singapore. He consulted on the development of urban neighborhood commercial district revitalization programs for Boston, Baltimore, Detroit, and Los Angeles. He directed a project creating a “community-initiated development” process for nonprofit revitalization organizations. He developed rural Main Street revitalization programs for communities with populations under 5,000.

Shelley Poticha, Senior Advisor for Sustainable Housing and Communities, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, has also been a Co-Chair at Transportation for America since its launch in 2008, president and CEO of the national nonprofit Reconnecting America since 2004, and former executive director of the Congress for the New Urbanism. Throughout her career, Poticha has become a national leader for the reform of land-use and transportation planning and policy and has helped stimulate a national conversation about the role of transportation in shaping communities and making them more sustainable and affordable. Poticha has co-authored several books, including The New Transit Town: Best Practices in Transit-Oriented Development, Street Smart: Streetcars and Cities in the 21st Century, and The Next American Metropolis, as well as the Charter of the New Urbanism.

Alexandros E. Washburn, AIA, is the Chief Urban Designer of the City of New York, Department of City Planning. He is a professional architect whose approach to urban design combines ecology and urbanism. He has a Master’s of Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and practiced as an architect in Washington, DC, before joining the Capitol Hill staff of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. In 1996, he founded the Pennsylvania Station Redevelopment Corporation, now known as the Moynihan Station Development Corporation. In 2000, he began teaching the Design of Infrastructure at Princeton University and in 2001 became a partner of W Architecture and Landscape Architecture in New York City. In 2007, he joined the Bloomberg administration as Chief Urban Designer at the Department of City Planning. His daily responsibilities include the design of various public projects, city-wide urban design policy development and design review of individual projects seeking approval under the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Process to ensure that they support the overall urban design and environmental goals of the city. From individual buildings to the most complex infrastructure projects, he judges success in urban design from the point of view of the pedestrian. In his daily work, he tries to achieve the “quantity of Robert Moses with the quality of Jane Jacobs.” And for this missing link—between the human-scale and the mega-project—he turns to another great New Yorker, Fredrick Law Olmsted, designer of Central Park, for inspiration. He sees the integration of urbanity and ecology as the next great wave in city-building. Washburn lives with his family in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and is currently writing a book, The Nature of Urban Design.

MODERATOR: Paul F. Morris, FASLA, President and Principal Consultant of Greenleaf Strategies, is an expert community planning, design and development consultant. He specializes in advancing government and private sector initiatives which merge ecology and economy to realize the best of the built and natural environment. He facilitates efficient resolution of complex and controversial problems requiring broad-based consensus among large and diverse stakeholder groups. He is recognized internationally for his expertise in urban regeneration, transit oriented development, sustainability and public-private partnerships. Morris has been involved in more than 400 projects around the globe ranging in scope from regional open space, to land use and infrastructure plans; to urban design and development projects; to economic diversification strategies for rural communities; and regenerative investment for emerging economies and world heritage sites. He has received numerous honors and citations throughout his career and has been widely published. Prior to forming Greenleaf Strategies, Morris spent eight years at Parsons Brinckerhoff rising through the ranks to executive vice president and global director. In his two years at the private equity firm Cherokee Investment Partners, he developed and directed the firm’s sustainable investment policies, green-building programs and signature public-private real estate partnerships; leading planning and design activities across the firm’s $2 billion international portfolio. Previously, he was managing partner of McKeever/Morris, Inc. Morris earned his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Oregon and graduate certificate for Innovations in Zoning, Planning and Development from Harvard University.

NOTE: Previously confirmed speaker Joan Busquets is unexpectedly unable to present at the conference.

Sponsors to Date


Clark Nexsen
US Green Building Council North Carolina Triangle Chapter


ColeJenest & Stone
Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee


Adams Products Company
AIA Triangle
Cherokee Investment Partners, LLC
Clancy & Theys Construction Company
CLH Design, P.A.
Empire Properties
Greenleaf Strategies, LLC
North Carolina Solar Center
Rodgers Builders, Inc.
ValleyCrest Landscape Companies

Conference Advisory Committee

Partner, Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee

Partner, ColeJenest & Stone

Robin Abrams, Ph.D., AIA, ASLA
Head, School of Architecture
NC State University College of Design

Elizabeth Alley, AICP
Planner II, City of Raleigh Urban Design Center

Chris E. Brasier, FAIA, LEED AP

Gene Bressler, FASLA
Head, Department of Landscape Architecture
NC State University College of Design

Nilda Cosco, Ph.D.
Education Specialist, The Natural Learning Initiative
NC State University College of Design

Sean A. Dolle, PE, LEED®AP
Design Consultant/Civil Engineer

Daniel T. Douglas, AICP
Director of Urban Planning and Design, KlingStubbins

Paul F. Morris, FASLA
Greenleaf Strategies, LLC

Celen Pasalar, Ph.D.
Director, Downtown Studio/Extension Planning Specialist
NC State University

Traci Rose Rider, Ph.D.
Trace Collaborative

Dona Stankus, AIA
Director, NC Healthy Built Homes Program
NC State University NC Solar Center

Rodney Swink, FASLA
Adjunct Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture
NC State University College of Design

Sean Vance, AIA
Extension Assistant Professor (Architecture)
Director, Center for Universal Design
NC State University College of Design