CARTA 2015: A Symposium on Designing a Better Future

Saturday, October 3–4, 2015
3:00pm – 4:30pm
CU Denver College of Architecture and Planning, 1250 14th Street, Second Floor

​"So  ​few ​cities ​are ​nice...Very, ​very ​few ​out ​of ​many ​thousands ​ are ​really ​beautiful. Embarrassingly, the more appealing ​ones ​tend ​to ​be ​old."  Alain de Botton

In his ​ ​"How to Make ​an ​Attractive ​City,"  ​Alain ​de ​Botton ​says what many today think: our new cities do not equal our old ones. Is he right? Are we developing our cities ​to ​accommodate ​growth in the best ways? Are we making places that will be economically ​robust, ​​environmentally ​and ​culturally ​sustainable? Are we enhancing ​the ​beauty, ​value, ​and ​identities ​of ​our ​communities with each new building we build? ​

Join ​your fellow professionals, academics, and special guests including, among others, architect and town planner Andrés Duany, Senior Director of the Preservation Green Lab at the National Trust for Historic Preservation James Lindberg, who will speak about the Older, Smaller, Better report, and Portland architect and theorist Michael Mehaffy, who will share his perspective on growth in Portland. The Center for Advanced Research in Traditional Architecture (CARTA) symposium will take place ​from ​9:30am ​to ​4:30pm ​on ​Sunday, ​October ​4, ​2015,  ​at ​the ​University ​of ​Colorado ​Denver ​College ​of ​Architecture ​ and ​Planning ​in ​the ​vibrant ​downtown ​of ​Denver, ​Colorado. We look forward to a day of learning, discussion and debate about these timely questions.

As ​American ​cities ​and ​towns ​build ​staggering ​amounts ​of ​new ​ housing, ​as ​more ​historic ​buildings ​are ​bulldozed ​in ​ neighborhoods ​and ​replaced ​with ​non-contextual ​infill, ​as ​ suburbs ​expand ​outward and ​cities ​re-urbanize, ​it ​is ​clear ​that ​something ​is ​lacking ​in ​ our ​architectural ​response. ​Whether ​we ​consider ​Peter ​Buchanan's  ​"The ​Big ​Rethink"  ​essays ​published ​in ​The ​Architectural ​Review ​in ​2013, ​or ​ Steven ​Bingler's ​and ​Martin ​Pedersen's ​December ​15, ​2014 ​New ​ York ​Times ​editorial ​"How ​to ​Rebuild ​Architecture", ​or ​Jeff ​Sheppard's ​April ​4, ​2015 ​Denver ​Post ​editorial ​"Denver ​is ​a ​great ​city, ​so ​why ​the ​bad ​buildings?",  ​architects ​and ​critics ​from Denver, New York, Phoenix, Portland, Seattle, London, Paris and more ​are ​realizing ​something ​in ​today's ​architecture is unsatisfying. 

As architects question contemporary architecture, ​untold ​numbers ​of ​citizen ​groups ​fight ​against ​ almost ​every ​new ​development ​project ​arguing ​that ​crime ​and ​ congestion ​will ​increase, ​that ​light ​and ​open ​space ​will ​ decrease, ​or that ​there will not be enough ​parking. Citizens argue against density, municipalities push for more, and friction between constituents builds. ​But are ​​the anti-density, anti-growth refrains really ​the ​root ​of ​citizen concerns? ​Or is there unease more ​about ​new ​development ​that ​is ​unfamiliar in character and out ​of ​scale ​ with ​the ​places ​they ​love ​and ​call ​home?

(Old and new development on West 35th Avenue at Navajo Street in Denver's Highland neighborhood shows contrasting ideas of how to build new housing in a city.) 


For the past 30 years traditional ​urban ​design ​methods ​and ​patterns ​have ​been ​ studied, ​applied, ​and ​advanced ​by ​New ​Urbanists, ​resulting ​in ​ many ​new ​traditional ​towns, ​retrofitted ​suburbs, ​Smart ​Growth, ​ and ​Form-Based ​Codes. ​Can we also learn from traditional architecture? 

​There are traditional ​housing ​typologies rarely being used today that ​might ​provide ​more diverse and ​affordable ​options. There are ​historic ​patterns ​and design languages we could learn from to make infill more harmonious with the character of place. Perhaps connecting to such traditions can strengthen the identity and character of a community instead of erasing it. Perhaps the wealth of knowledge contained in traditional architectural patterns and methods can answer the chorus of criticism rising against much contemporary architecture.

The Center for Advanced Research in Traditional Architecture (CARTA) at the University of Colorado Denver College of Architecture and Planning was established in 2015 to investigate and solve problems such as these. Join us for our first symposium, examine issues such as these and others related to the ​development ​of ​some ​of ​America's ​fastest ​growing ​cities, and discuss what positive alternatives ​traditional ​design ​can ​offer. 


During our one-day ​symposium, Sunday, October 4, you are invited to join ​with ​your ​fellow architectural, urban design, development, and preservation ​professionals ​to ​address ​the ​above ​issues. ​Subjects ​will ​ include ​case ​studies ​from ​Denver ​and ​other ​American ​cities ​ facing ​similar ​development ​pressures. ​Brief ​lectures ​will ​ kick-off ​small-group ​discussion ​sessions ​where ​you ​will ​be ​able ​to ​discuss ​the ​issues ​presented ​and ​share ​ strategies ​for ​improvement. ​Our ​goal ​is ​high-level ​discussions ​ between ​fellow ​professionals, ​allowing ​each ​participant ​to ​ expand ​their ​range ​of ​reference ​and ​to ​critically ​examine ​ their ​own ​ideas ​for ​improving ​the ​built ​environment. ​Unlike ​ most ​conferences, ​we ​aim ​not ​to ​present ​answers, ​but ​to ​raise  ​questions ​and ​engage ​you ​in ​developing answers. 

In ​addition ​to ​Sunday's ​ symposium, ​there ​will ​be ​informal ​pre-event ​walking ​tours ​the ​ afternoon ​of ​Saturday, ​October ​3, ​2015 ​from ​3:00pm ​until ​ 6:00pm. ​Participants ​will ​visit ​neighborhoods ​in ​Denver ​where ​new ​development ​is ​ occurring, ​and ​share ​experiences ​and ​best ​practices ​with ​each ​ other ​while ​in ​the ​field. ​Saturday ​evening ​will ​also ​include ​ a ​welcome ​party ​and ​networking ​event ​beginning ​at ​6:00pm.


Join with your peers to visit some of Denver’s historic and developing neighborhoods and examine in-person the issues that will be discussed at Sunday’s symposium. Meeting points for walking tours will be announced.


Welcome cocktail party and networking. Location for reception will be announced.


Listen to dynamic presentations, engage in debate on the issues, and strategize with your colleagues in small working groups. Continental breakfast and buffet lunch will be served. Sunday's symposium will be held at the College of Architecture and Planning, 1250 14th ST, 2nd Floor.


Don’t miss the informative sessions of the Traditional Building Conference: Materials and Methods, as it returns to Denver for the second time. See www.traditionalbuildingshow.com for further information. CARTA is very proud to host the Traditional Building Conference at the University of Colorado Denver.

FOR LODGING: Preferred Hotel Program: The University of Colorado Procurement Service Center has worked hard to develop a hotel program that benefits our travelers. The University’s negotiated rates at these preferred hotels are lower than the rates typically available at these properties. In some cases we have been able to negotiate added values and extra amenities for our travelers if they choose to stay at one of our preferred hotels. To book with one of our preferred hotels you can call the hotel directly. If you call to make a reservation directly with any of the preferred hotels, make sure to mention "The University of Colorado special rate". Group rates may differ.

For ease of locating lodging, see this google map: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zzrOXFiqtTR4.kJISaYt0huV4&usp=sha...


Register before September 27, 2015 at a discounted rate:

  • Professional - Symposium (Saturday AND Sunday) Early Bird Registration: $110.00 
  • Professional - Symposium (Sunday ONLY) Early Bird Registration: $90.00
  • Student - Symposium (Saturday AND Sunday) Early Bird Registration: $55.00
  • Student - Symposium (Sunday ONLY) Early Bird Registration: $45.00
  • CU Faculty - Symposium (Saturday AND Sunday) Registration: $55.00
  • CU Faculty - Symposium (Sunday ONLY) Registration: $45.00  

Complimentary registrations for CARTA Faculty Council Members and Volunteers:

  • CU CARTA Faculty Council Member: Free
  • CU Student Volunteer: Free  

Regular registration rates (From September 27 – October 4): 

  • Professional - Symposium (Saturday AND Sunday) Registration: $135.00
  • Professional - Symposium (SUNDAY ONLY) Registration: $110.00
  • Student - Symposium (Saturday AND Sunday) Registration: $67.50
  • Student - Symposium (SUNDAY ONLY) Registration: $57.50


Director, Center for Advanced Research in Traditional Architecture
College of Architecture and Planning
University of Colorado Denver
USPS Mailing address: Campus Box 126, P.O. Box 173364, Denver CO 80217-3364
Physical address: 1250 14th Street, Suite 2000, Denver CO 80204
Telephone: (303) 315-0063