CNU representative speaks at Revitalize meeting

Revitalize Dunkirk received a lesson in New Urbanism at its monthly meeting Thursday. George Grasser from the Congress of New Urbanism was the guest speaker. He explained how new urbanism is trying to get back to its roots.

“New urbanism is really old urbanism. It’s trying to bring back neighborhood focus, sustainable communities and neighborhoods,” he said.

Complete streets and home-based zoning started with new urbanism, according to Grasser. Home-based zoning is zoning residences as to how the building looks compared to its use. He explained new urbanism as starting out with “cutesy houses and picket fences,” but is now more focused on having compact cities and neighborhoods.

Grasser also touched on revitalizing a municipality’s main street. He said that even if there is a matching grant for main street facade improvement, many businesses do not have the funds to provide for a matching grant.

“Facade improvements, they don’t really work unless a lot of people do it. You can’t have two or three people fixing their facade and the stores on either side don’t look very good – that doesn’t work,” Grasser said.

Each year the CNU has a congress, and this year it’s being held in Buffalo. Grasser said there are numerous events that are free and open to the public from June 3-7.

“No Congress has ever had the number of events that we are going to have that are free for people who can’t afford to pay for the Congress,” Grasser said.

Free events range from presentations on great places for all ages, urbanism, a more walkable Buffalo, and a presentation from Peatonito, Mexico City’s pedestrian crusader. The opening session at the Buffalo Convention Center and the Closing Ceremony at Larkinville are also free and open to the public. There are also 20 tours taking place during the conference but these tours require a fee. For more information on the conference, visit

The meeting also announced the installment of raised flower beds throughout the city. Flower beds have been installed at the intersection of Route 60 and Grant Street, the Dunkirk Senior Center and at the Steger Building. Applications to lease a flower bed are available at the city’s development department in the Stearns Building.

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