Norquist Receives Ed Bacon Award for Professional Excellence

Bacon valued the complexity of urban fabric when others sought to destroy it

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CNU President & CEO John Norquist was presented with the Ed Bacon Award for Professional Excellence on December 2nd in Philadelphia. The award's namesake, Ed Bacon, was the Executive Director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission from 1949-1970.

In a press release announcing the award, the Ed Bacon Foundation commented that "Norquist, who previously gained national acclaim for his focus on urban design and development as Mayor of Milwaukee from 1988-2004, was selected by the Foundation’s Board of Directors to receive this annual honor, bestowed on an outstanding national figure who has advocated for excellence in urban development, planning, and design."

Norquist joins an impressive list of past winners including Paul Goldberger (2007), Pulitzer-Prize winning architecture critic at The New Yorker; and Robert A.M. Stern (2006), celebrated architect and dean of Yale’s school of architecture.

Elinor Bacon, daughter of Ed Bacon, and a plenary speaker at the upcoming CNU 17, introduced Norquist at the ceremony. She said that Norquist is similar to her father in that he pushes for bold ideas and has a willingness to take risks.

In accepting the award, Norquist praised Bacon's commitment to saving historic parts of the city. While many of Bacon's contemporaries were undertaking massive urban renewal projects - which destroyed old urban fabric and separated neighborhoods - Bacon was responsible for saving Philadelphia's beloved Society Hill neighborhood, a place with charming narrow streets. A place that Norquist said, "would not have survived" in other cities.

Bacon was also behind the planning of Philadelphia's LOVE park, Penn Center, Market East, Penn's Landing, and the Independence Mall.