CNU February 2010 e-update

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CNU e-Update
February 2010


  1. Call to New Urbanists: Help Identify Obstacles in Federal Policy
  2. CNU 18 Registration Opens: Reserve Your Place Now
  3. Help America Get a Makeover, New Urbanism Style!
  4. Get to Know CNU's Newest Allies
  5. No Longer a Draft, CNU-ITE Walkable Thoroughfares Manual Hits the Streets
  6. New and Newsworthy at
  7. HUD's Sustainable Communities Grants: Providing Advance Notice, Seeking Comments
  8. CNU Co-Founder Duany designs housing for displaced Haitians

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1. Call to New Urbanists: Help the Obama Administration Identify Obstacles in Federal Policy

News from Washington this month has served as a reminder of the Obama Administration's growing interest in rethinking federal transportation and housing policies to be more compatible with new urbanist and smart growth goals.

In early February, the Administration announced that its proposed 2011 Federal Budget would include $530 million for the three-agency Sustainable Communities partnership. Pending Congressional approval, the funds would support "comprehensive regional and community planning efforts that integrate transportation, housing, and other critical investments," with the US Department of Transportation acting as the lead administrator, according to the White House budget office. The budget also proposes a national infrastructure bank with $4 billion to leverage private capital for large-scale projects improving the nation's built environment.

Also, this month, the Department of Transportation announced the recipients of its new TIGER grants (Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery), $1.5 billion in stimulus infrastructure funds awarded not based on conventional auto-congestion-focused formulas but instead on criteria including economic development, environmental sustainability and community livability. The awards included a number of infrastructure investments tied to new urbanist plans, including $63 million for Tucson streetcar service (a component of the Rio Nuevo downtown plan led by Moule Polyzoides Architects & Urbanists), $23 million for a Dallas streetcar line (coordinated in part by new urbanist Gateway Planning of Fort Worth) and $22 million for a multi-modal transportation center accommodating anticipated high-speed rail service in Normal, Illinois (an anchor of Farr Associates' downtown plan for the city). And see below for more information on the $150 million HUD is distributing this year "to improve regional planning efforts that integrate housing and transportation decisions, and increase the capacity to improve land use and zoning."

To build on this momentum, we need your input. Officials at US DOT and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have asked CNU and its members to identify obstacles in federal policy that stand in the way of making healthy, vibrant walkable cities and towns a reality. For example, CNU Director John Norquist and others have identified mortgage lending policies that favor single-use development as a significant policy problem.

These federal officials are all ears and CNU wants them to know about the barriers that frustrate you most in your efforts to implement New Urbanism — plus any practical solutions that you can identify. So we're inviting you to submit your suggestions. Click here to submit your ideas instantly online! Even if you have already participated in listserv discussions on this or similar topics, we urge you to submit your ideas here so we can all be assured they get to the right place. Please do so now (or at least by Friday, March 5) so we can help the federal government get to work tearing down these barriers.


2. Registration Opens for CNU 18: Go Direct to the Source for Solutions for Healthy, Economically Vital Communities

CNU 18 is just a few months away. And with its value-generating partnership of CNU and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plus involvement from other federal government partners — all occurring at a time when today's economic problems make New Urbanism's planning and development solutions an imperative— it's looking more exciting every day. Read the latest on the May 19-22 Atlanta Congress at, including new research confirming New Urbanism's health, economic and environmental advantages and newly added speakers such as Shelley Poticha, Senior Adviser for Sustainable Housing and Communities at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Video Contest: As we did last year, we are calling on all aspiring video directors and urban designers to create an original (three-minute maximum) video. The challenge this year is to illustrate how the principles of New Urbanism improve personal and community health. And just like last year, the winner will get a FREE registration to CNU 18!

The submission deadline is April 20th, 2010, so get out those cameras!

And of course, don't forget to register for CNU 18 today!


3. Help America get a Makeover, New Urbanism Style!

Speaking of video contests, last year's winner "Built to Last," created a sensation across the Web, generating 80,000 hits and online mentions from the Atlantic, Fast Company, Streetsblog and others. Now, its creators are back with plans for an ambitious web and DVD series focused on New Urbanism and how those who live in it (or developed it) have changed their lives for the better. As they wrap up shooting at Glenwood Park and other sites in Altanta for an American Makeover pilot, theyre using a site named Kickstarter to help make their fundraising goal and raise enough to greenlight the full project.

We've signed up to help out, offering a FREE registration to CNU 18 that will be raffled off to a donor who gives $35 or more! Please consider contributing to this worthy cause that will help bring new urbanist ideas to a broader audience.

Click here to learn more about the project and how you can help make American Makeover happen and be entered into the CNU18 drawing!


4. New CNU Ally

The Partnership for Sustainable Communities (P4SC) has published a report titled Beyond Green Building: How to Get Deals Done in the New Era of Sustainable Community Planning and Development, a free 30-page report on the state of the rapidly changing world of sustainable community planning and development.

P4SC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting land use reform, including higher density zoning, infill development, and measures to encourage affordable housing. The organization helps developers and architects work with cities to enact progressive policies and smooth the entitlement process for affordable housing and mixed-use projects. It supports the principals outlined in the Charter for the New Urbanism. The partnership was founded by Andre Shashaty, founding editor and long-time publisher of Affordable Housing Finance magazine.

For more information, go to Click on the link in the left hand column, “Subscribe to P4SC New Wire.” You will be added to P4SC’s mailing list for a periodic update on sustainable development and will also receive a link to the “Beyond Green Building” report. P4SC invites CNU members to submit feedback, comments and ideas for editorial coverage — send to Shashaty at



5. No Longer a Draft, CNU-ITE Walkable Thoroughfares Manual Hits the Streets and Demonstrates Its Value

The Walkable Thoroughfares Manual jointly created by the Institute of Transportation Engineers and CNU (formerly out in draft form) will debut as an official ITE Recommended Practice at the group's spring technical conference in Savannah this monrth. But it unofficially hit the streets at a recent workshop in Elgin, Illinois.

Demonstrating that there’s no chance of the manual sitting on shelves and gathering dust, CNU and ITE teamed up just before the publication’s release on a two-day February workshop that served as the kick-off event for efforts to apply the manual to the challenges of real cities. In addition to helping Elgin tame key streets and turn neighborhoods into valuable destinations rather than pass-through zones, CNU seeks to incorporate lessons from Elgin in creating models for applying the manual’s solutions in cities across the country.

Participants included Mayor Ed Schock, CNU’s John Norquist, ITE Deputy Executive Director Phillip Caruso, new urbanist transportation engineers Lucy Gibson and Norman Garrick and Ty Warner, a top planner at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. See the March issue of New Urban News for a full report on this exciting effort to apply ideas from this important new document and take a look at presentations from the workshop.


6. News and Noteworthy At CNU

  • Brookings: Fastest Growing Poverty Rates Occur in the Suburbs - New report finds that "between 2000 and 2008, suburbs in the country’s largest metro areas saw their poor population grow by 25 percent—almost five times faster than primary cities and well ahead of the growth seen in smaller metro areas and non-metropolitan communities. As a result, by 2008 large suburbs were home to 1.5 million more poor than their primary cities and housed almost one-third of the nation’s poor overall."
  • HUD Official Offers Economics-Savvy Vision for New Sustainability Office - Former CNU Executive Director and CNU 18 speaker Shelley Poticha discusses planning for recovery, suburban infill and her vision for the new office.
  • Vancouver's Olympic Village —Smart, Green & Urban -The athlete’s village built for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and the planned neighborhood that will surround it, may be one of the very greenest neighborhoods in North America. It will also meet LEED-ND standards informed by new urbanist principles — a refreshing and enlightened change from common visions of Olympic villages as isolated single-use campuses.
  • JOB POSTING: Idaho Smart Growth seeking RFP on Land Use Analysis


7. HUD Provides Advance Notice and Seeks Comments on Its Sustainable Communities Grants

Via the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regarding its $150 million 2010 grants "to improve regional planning efforts that integrate housing and transportation decisions, and increase the capacity to improve land use and zoning:"

As part of a commitment to listening and learning, HUD is providing an Advance Notice with a description and framework of the grant program for public comment. HUD will be seeking input from the public, including State and local governments, regional bodies, community development entities, and a broad range of other stakeholders on how the Program should be structured in order to have the most meaningful impact on sustainable regional planning.

You can provide your comments and read more about the program here


8. CNU Co-Founder Duany Designs Housing for Displaced Haitians

Architect, planner and CNU Co-founder Andrés Duany has designed a prefabricated cabin for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. On Wednesday, Miami-based InnoVida announced they would donate 1,000 of the structures to the battered nation's homeless.

As noted by CNU last month, recovery experts are taking lessons from Hurricane Katrina and other disaster relief efforts to inform ways to move forward as Haiti's medium- and long-range priorities shift.

The Duany-designed cabin, which can house up to eight individuals, incorporates many of these lessons and represents the newest developments in emergency housing.




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