Model D’s guide to one of the biggest city-think gatherings of the year

Starting this week, thousands of city-minded individuals from across the world will descend on Detroit for the 24th annual Congress of New Urbanism—the first time it's ever been held here. The four day festival consists of talks, events, workshops and more on the various ways to address design in cities.

The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), which holds their festival in a new city each year, is a national nonprofit that advocates for walkable, prosperous places. "All New Urbanists share the conviction that our physical environment has a direct impact on our chances for happy, prosperous lives," says their mission statement.

There's dozens of options each day for CNU attendees. Here's our guide to official and unofficial events happening during CNU24 with a slant towards those affiliated or sponsored by Model D.

Incremental Development Happy Hour
Bank Suey at 6:00 p.m.

Kick off CNU24 with a toast to small scale development in Hamtramck. Meet Dallas developer Monte Anderson, recovered Mall of America builder John Anderson, IncDev executive director Jim Kumon, Canadian placemaker Gracen Johnson, along with a host of local developers and community planners.

If you're really interested in small scale Development, catch the whole workshop starting 8 a.m. that day.

Opening PlenaryCarol Coletta of the Knight Fondation
The Fillmore at 6:00 p.m.

Carol Coletta, a leading expert on urban transformation policy and newly named senior fellow with the The Kresge Foundation’s American Cities Practice, will talk about philanthropy's role in shaping cities.

Then, former Charleston, S.C. mayor Joseph "Joe" Riley, Jr., addresses the Congress. Serving as mayor for 40 years starting in 1975 Riley led a city government with an impressive record of innovation in public safety, housing, arts and culture, children’s issues, the creation of park and other public spaces, and economic revitalization and development. Charleston is recognized as one of the most livable and progressive cities in the United States.

Corktown Pub Crawl
Starts at Mudgies or Batch Brewing at 7:30 p.m.

A CNU tradition, this year's pub crawl is curated by Detroiter and UIX alum Chad Rochkind. Locations include Batch Brewing, McShanes, Sugar House, and more.

Big Ideas + Small Projects Happy Hour
Detroit Beer Co. at 6:00 p.m.

Presented by us (Model D), Key Public Strategies, and Incremental Development Alliance, this happy hour highlights local, small scale projects. Hear presentations from projects from across the country making a big impact in their neighborhood.

Detroit’s own Claire Nowak-Boyd (read her op-ed in Model D) will be one of the presenters.

New Urban Film Festival
Detroit Opera House, Chrysler Black Box Theater, 6th Floor at 7:00 p.m.

The New Urbanism Film Festival showcases short and feature length documentaries about the urban environment. Held every Fall in Los Angeles, audiences are engaged in new urbanism theory, history, and practical case studies. This event showcases the winning films from the 2015 festival.

Click here for the complete line up of films.

Build Bazaar
Detroit Opera House, starts at 10:00 a.m.

Build Bazaar is a rotating pop-up marketplace celebrating emerging entrepreneurs from Build Institute programs. From artisanal candles and soap, to fresh baked goods and handmade wares, this event will feature an exciting and diverse range of local vendors and will be open all day.

The Urban Consulate

Deep Dive Detroit: Dinner & Dialogue

Urban Consulate, 8:00 p.m.

Please join Urban Consulate (founded by former Model D publisher Claire Nelson) for an evening of robust conversation over dinner. Led by community planner Lauren Hood of Live6 Alliance, Dinner & Dialogue allows conference attendees the opportunity to discuss the Detroit story with actual Detroiters.

Tickets: $75 per person. Registration and more info here.

Out in the Field: Plein Air Painting, Sketching, and Photography
Boll Family YMCA lobby, 1:30 p.m.

Seeing a great design solution out in the field and then remembering it for later use is a tremendous asset to those involved in making new walkable places. Learn hands-on techniques to improve your “visual design library." Grab your sketch pad, pencils, brushes, camera and other graphic tools of choice as attendees head outside for a quick guided session to practice sketching and painting in the field. Leading practitioners will provide helpful tips and demonstrations of techniques.

Congress for the New Urbanism, a nonprofit organization that advocates for walkable and prosperous places, holds their annual, flagship event in a different city every year. 2016's will be in Detroit from June 8-11. To register, click hereCheck out the entire NextGen schedule here, along with more public events presented by CNU here.

Alissa Shelton is co-chair of the CNU24 NextGen committee, as well as an "incremental developer" on her own project in Hamtramck, Bank Suey.
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