Thursday, October 20, 2011

President Obama Confirms Fort Monroe as the Newest National Monument

Photo Credit: Pete Souza, The White House.

On Tuesday November 1st, 2011 President Obama signed a proclamation confirming Fort Monroe as our newest National Monument.

Fort Monroe is located in Hampton, Virginia and boasts extremely well-preserved historic fabric including the largest moated, stone walled fort in North America. The site features a long and fascinating history. As President Obama outlined during his signing speech, Fort Monroe has played a remarkable role in the history of the United States. It was identified as a strategically important location by Captain John Smith in 1608 who declared it “an isle fit for a castle”. It was also the landing site of the first ships carrying Africans to the New World in 1619. During the Civil War, almost 250 years later, Fort Monroe became a refuge for slaves that were escaping from the South. Fort Monroe was consequently dubbed “Freedom’s Fortress”. This action helped pave the way for Abraham Lincoln’s signature of the Emancipation Proclamation.

In 2005, The United States military declared that it was vacating Fort Monroe, after almost 200 years of continuous use, as part of its Base Realignment and Closure process. In 2006, in preparation for the U.S. Army’s departure and the conversion of the fort to civilian use, Dover, Kohl & Partners was invited to help lead a design process to create a Fort Monroe Reuse Plan. The President’s proclamation, which paves the way for designation of approximately 325 of the fort’s acres as a National Park, is consistent with this vision. The plan envisions preservation of the fort’s historic areas including the walled fortress itself. Large tracts of open area are to become permanent public park facilities. Some limited opportunities for neighborhood-scale development are envisioned to help complete the fort’s historic built fabric in places where it is currently frayed at its edges.

CNU Council Montgomery Focuses on the Future of New Urbanism in the New Economy

Members of the Dover, Kohl team joined over fifty New Urbanists for three days, October 14- 16, to participate in spirited discussions and critiques aimed at charting a positive path forward in today’s new, more austere economic climate.

The Council opened with presentations by Victor Dover and Andres Duany, who discussed newly revived opportunities for incremental, human scaled development presented by the new economy, and the need for resilient new development to be “frugal, successional, incremental, and subsidial”.

A series of presentations and critiques followed, which focused on projects begun during the boom years, which are now in the process of retooling their implementation strategies. Proposed strategies focused on a renewed ethos of “Small is Beautiful”. Projects discussed included Dover-Kohl’s Montgomery Downtown Plan and Maxwell Boulevard Plan. Lively discussions also followed a guided tour of Hampstead, a Traditional Neighborhood Development under construction in Montgomery, designed by Duany, Plater Zyberk and Company and developed by Anna Lowder and Harvi Sahota.

Attendees then discussed what the future holds for New Urbanism project types, the role of municipal government in advancing New Urbanism, New Urbanism’s planning tools including the charrette, and new patterns of development finance. Social events hosted by Montgomery included a reception at Dexter Avenue’s Kress Building, a light dinner at the downtown farm, and an evening steamboat ride. The council concluded with several exciting initiatives focused on refining methods for advancing the implementation of small, incremental projects.

See Victor Dover talk about Intelligent Incrementalism at the Council:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

CNU Council VIII

Entitled, CNU Council Montgomery: What is the Future of New Urbanism in the New Economy?, the schedule of events for the council included tours, social events and discussions relevant to all New Urban practitioners in the 21st Century and New Economy.

The council was led by CNU Chairman Victor Dover, Andres Duany, and CNU President and CEO John Norquist. In his letter to attendees Victor Dover says, “The most pressing reason for attending the Council may be this: the degree to which the NU succeeds in Montgomery is a likely indicator of the movement’s success across the nation as it faces the new economic reality of the Great Reset.”