May 30 2013

Nature & Urbanism with Richard Louv: Opening Plenary of The Congress for the New Urbanism’s CNU21

To officially begin CNU21, Salt Lake City’s Mayor, Ralph Becker, welcomed all of the Congress attendees. Most had travelled quite a long way, and he encouraged attendees to explore his fair city while here.

Richard Louv, author, was the most impassioned speaker. Best known for his book, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder,” he described how we’ve disconnected family, nature, and community. Here’s some of my favorite quotes from his speech:

“What are we doing to our kids?” in reference to the average child’s sedentary lifestyle.

“Sitting is the new smoking,” in reference to their similar health effects.

“I believe cities can become engines of biodiversity.”

“Conservation is no longer enough. Now, we must create nature.”

A panorama of the 21st Congress for the New Urbanism Opening Plenary, as Richard Louv spoke.

Louv discussed how both children and adults have been “programmed” to fear the unknown, and thus, nature. He said that through this fear, parents schedule their children’s time too much. He encouraged regular unstructured play outdoors for children, and outside exercise rather than indoor gym exercise for adults.

He told the audience that preschoolers are now the fastest growing market for antidepressants. One in five boys in the U.S. are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder.

Louv pushed that we’ve bought into the misconception that we can experience anything through a screen as a society.

He explained how “Family Nature Clubs” through the Children and Nature Network have grown immensely. The simple task of these clubs is to meet up with other families at a park and allow children to play freely in greenspace. It could also be a hike or bike ride- so long as the families are outside together.

Did you have a sort of “Huckleberry Finn” childhood? Do you want that for your children or something different?

Credits: Photo and references linked to sources. Photo taken by Aascot Holt.

Aascot Holt

Aascot Holt is an undergraduate at Eastern Washington University, pursuing a major in Urban and Regional Planning and a minor in Geography. She will graduate in the spring of 2013. She is from Stevenson, WA and currently lives in Spokane, WA in a brick 1936 kit house. She is most intrigued by small-city and small town planning, parks and recreation planning, long-range planning, and historic preservation. She hopes to continue her habit of being involved with many planning projects at a time, and fears being pigeonholed. Aascot maintains the “Being A Planning Student” Tumblr as well as her planning-centric blog, The Comprehensive. She is currently writing Cheney, WA’s entirely new comprehensive parks, recreation, and trails plan, completely pro bono. More can be learned about her endeavors via LinkedIn.

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 30th, 2013 at 11:48 am and is filed under CNU 21, Community/Economic Development, Education and Careers, Environment, Environmental Design, Environmental Non-Profit, Infrastructure, Land Use, Social/Demographics, The Congress for the New Urbanism, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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