CNU Honors Rich McLaughlin

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The New Urbanism movement lost one of its pioneers and a practitioner truly committed to advancing the principles of the Charter, when Rich McLaughlin died of pancreatic cancer on December 31. He founded the Town Planning Collaborative in Minneapolis in the mid-1990s. Before that, at the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council in Florida, Rich was one of the intellectuals to form what would become the basis for the New Urbanism.

Rich McLaughlin has left a legacy in many communities as well as in the community of New Urbanists. He developed N-Vision, a neighborhood modeling system that equips planners and developers with New Urbanism-friendly tools. His Model Blocks tool has been useful for community meetings and charrettes (see bottom right picture), many of which Rich has led throughout Minnesota. He has helped with the site plan for Clover Ridge, a dense development of vernacular manufactured housing in Chaska, a community 30 miles from Minneapolis threatened by sprawl (see middle photo).

"I suggest that if we can get two closely connected things right -- scale and time -- we will have it made. Everything else flows from these," wrote McLaughlin in 2004, a quote featured in an obituary in this month’s New Urban News.

"Rich once gave me a tour of a city he felt was grossly underrated -- Duluth, Minnesota," says CNU President and CNU John Norquist. "It was January and very cold, but his fascination with Duluth was so infectious that when the tour was completed I felt like I'd just visited Seaside with Andres."

We'll all miss Rich McLaughlin. CNU is making plans to remember him at CNU XV in Philadelphia.