Who We Are
The Congress for the New Urbanism is the leading organization promoting walkable, neighborhood-based development as an alternative to sprawl. We take a proactive, multi-disciplinary approach to restoring our communities. Members are the life of the organization – they are the planners, developers, architects, engineers, public officials, investors, and community activists who create and influence our built environment, transforming growth patterns from the inside out. Whether it’s bringing restorative plans to hurricane-battered communities in the Gulf Coast, turning dying malls into vibrant mixed-use neighborhoods, or reconnecting isolated public housing projects to the surrounding fabric, new urbanists are providing leadership in community building.
Our relationship with our members allows us to do more than just talk about the problems of the built environment. Together, we are creating tools that make it easier to put New Urbanism into practice around the world.
CNU is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
For over twenty years, CNU members have used the principles in CNU's Charter to promote the hallmarks of New Urbanism, including:
Livable streets arranged in compact, walkable blocks.
A range of housing choices to serve people of diverse ages and income levels.
Schools, stores and other nearby destinations reachable by walking, bicycling or transit service.
An affirming, human-scaled public realm where appropriately designed buildings define and enliven streets and other public spaces.
CNU works to deliver these hallmarks to communities across North America and overseas on multiple scales. Whether it be in brownfields, emerging growth areas,
established cities, or small town suburbs, New Urbanism reinforces the character of existing areas in making them walkable, sustainable, and vibrant, revitalizing and energizing communities to their true potential. The principles of New Urbanism are also central to making whole regions more livable, coherent and sustainable.
The National CNU board works with thought leaders and from the worlds of urban design, development, academia, citizen activism, and government policy to form productive alliances in furthering our missions. CNU has been at the forefront of efforts to reform how we design and build communities and their infrastructure. Partners include:
US Department of Housing and Urban Development on Hope VI
US Environmental Protection Agency on Smart Growth
Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Federal Highway Administration on the new manual for Context-Sensitive Urban Thoroughfares
The US Green Building Council and Natural Resources Defense Council in creating the nation's first rating system for green neighborhoods, the LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND)
CNU's founding Charter is a source for the Sustainable Communities partnership of the HUD, EPA and the US Department of Transportation. At CNU's 18th annual Congress, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that LEED-ND and the concept of location efficiency will be used in the evaluation of all HUD grant applications.
The Congress for the New Urbanism, DC Chapter was founded in 2003 by several enthusiastic residents of the Washington, DC metro area in preparation for the XI Congress held in the city.
Since 2003, the local chapter has been involved in providing its members with tours of local New Urbanist projects, lectures with visiting and local speakers, book signings of significant New Urban books, and networking events.
In 2013 the chapter held a day long forum called Live. Work. Walk. DC's Future Growth featuring panels of all star speakers about how the Washington, DC region can influence the future of walkable growth both in our area and the country. Keynote speakers included local New Urbanists Chris Leinberger and Jeff Speck. Other speakers included local architects, planners, developers, governement officals and more.
Since the forum and a board strategic meeting in January 2014, our chapter has begun to take a more active role in critiqueing the urban design of the Washington, DC region. Our mission is:
Engage the local community by taking a position on local issues to raise awareness of the priniples of the Charter of the Congress for the New Urbanism.
For more information about our outreach, please see our blog.