"This year in Denver saw another successful and mind-expanding Congress. For those who weren't able to attend, I hope you put it on your short-list of conferences to attend in the future. From my vantage point as just an attendee, it's still the most intellectually interesting conference in the world of planning and development.
The Congress this year once again had a series of sessions on form-based codes. I was pleased to have our Blue Springs Downtown Development Code (http://www.bluespringsgov.com/index.aspx?nid=211) featured in the session discussing the Driehaus Form-Based Codes awards. We had an interesting exchange on the merit of using Building Types in our codes, with a variety of practitioners chiming in with their experiences. While nothing was settled, I personally enjoy this type of discussion of best practices, and look forward to the critique of various methods.
Following that session, Scott Polikov of Gateway Planning Group & myself led a very interactive session called 'Form-based coding for results: what's working, what's not.' It was a lively session, not just for the topic but also because we changed up the format, presenting our pieces in the newly-popular pecha kucha format (http://www.pecha-kucha.org/), and then having extensive time for Q&A. One colleague who I respect a great deal told me it was one of the best sessions of the Congress, as much as anything b/c we had so much time for direct discussion w/ the audience. Always good to hear.
On Friday night, our XNU group held a reception and discussion at LoDo's Bar & Grill with Brent Toderian, the Planning Director of Vancouver, BC. Brent is a fairly young guy for his position, but very bright and an engaging speaker. He challenged us on a number of levels, both professionally and within the CNU itself to not make excuses. He shared many elements of the Vancouver experience, and what he thinks the relevance is of it to American cities. If you ever have a chance to see Brent speak, I highly recommend it. I especially enjoyed his attitude of 'we don't lie in fear of the attorneys telling us what not to do - we do it, and let it sort itself out later.' It's rare to hear a Planning Director, even in Canada, have such bravado."