2011 Founders Forum on the New Urbanism at Seaside, Florida
I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to my first Congress for the New Urbanism. It was Congress III in San Francisco, and Peter Calthorpe was reaching out beyond the first group of founders to housing, environmental and transportation activists. Hooper Brooks of the Surdna Foundation and Hal Harvey of the Energy Foundation, who were both funders of the Surface Transportation Project where I was executive director, more or less insisted that I go. Even that early on, there was street talk about the New Urbanism, and I didn’t like what I was hearing. Elitism, top-down, designer-focused: all of it added up to something very different from the community-engagement model I was peddling as a campaigner against roads and the highway lobby.