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The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) is the leading organization promoting walkable, neighborhood-based development as an alternative to sprawl. CNU takes 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.

CNU History

The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) was founded in 1993 by a group of enthusiastic architects. They had each worked for years to create buildings, neighborhoods, and regions that provide a high quality of life for all residents, while protecting the natural environment. They were brought together by Peter Katz, who soon became the first Executive Director of CNU.


Later that year, CNU held its first annual Congress. A satisfying 100 people showed up, demonstrating that the issues of urbanism were important, if not widely discussed.


Today, CNU has over 3,100 members in 20 countries and 49 states. Federal cabinet secretaries (such as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Andrew Cuomo) and state governors (such as former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening) are proud to call themselves New Urbanists, and are promoting policies to make cities and towns more livable than ever. Over 1100 people attended CNU IX in New York City in June of 2001. Though the movement has drawn criticism from much of the architectural academy, the ideas behind CNU’s Charter have been gradually integrated into the curriculum at the top planning and architecture schools.


More importantly, there are now over 210 New Urbanist developments under construction or complete in the United States. Real estate in these developments often sells at a premium compared to conventional sprawl.


The name CNU comes from the Congresses we sponsor, annual gatherings which bring together members of every field related to development. At Congresses, architects, landscape architects, planners, economists, real estate agents and developers, lawyers, government officials, educators, citizen activists, and students discuss issues related to the health and vitality of regions, towns, and neighborhoods.

financial and tax incentives that act as obstacles to the creation of vibrant, healthy, value-driven and better-performing districts. Initiative work is based on tasks that can be completed within a specific timeframe and directly relate to CNU's strategic goals: Sustainability, Transportation, Regionalism, Affordability, Financing and Entitlements, and Accessibility and Visitability.

CNU Mission

As outlined in the preamble to our Charter, CNU advocates the restructuring of public policy and development practices to support the restoration of existing urban centers and towns within coherent metropolitan regions. We stand for the reconfiguration of sprawling suburbs into communities of real neighborhoods and diverse districts, the conservation of natural environments, and the preservation of our built legacy.


Rebuilding neighborhoods, cities, and regions is profoundly interdisciplinary. We believe that community, economics, environment, and design need to be addressed simultaneously through urban design and planning.


Through our initives, CNU advances these bipartisan reforms that deliver market-based improvements to the economy, the environment and public health. Initiatives work to remove codes, standards, and 

DC Chapter

The CNU D.C. Chapter is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the diverse communities making up the Metropolitan Washington Area. Guided by the Charter for the New Urbanism we work to raise awareness of current issues, provoke debate on solutions and affect change at the local level. We host educational and social events, critique issues affecting the area and offer scholarships for attendance at the National Congress.


The chapter was formed in 2003 by the local members of CNU National in reponse to the annual Congress being held in Washington, DC.  

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