CNU President John Norquist to Step Down After a Decade

Norquist spearheaded campaigns for highway removal, better housing policy and walkable communities

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John Norquist, the influential and outspoken President and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism, has announced that he will step down from his position after the 22nd Annual Congress in Buffalo in 2014. Norquist's career at CNU spanned the boom and bust of the housing industry, and he has been critical to maintaining and strengthening the organization. Norquist initiated the establishment of CNU chapters in the US and Canada and has built partnerships with public, private and non-profit organizations that have helped CNU grow to over 2500 members.

 "One of John's great contributions has been to bring together people of all political stripes to understand that walkable communities are good for everyone," said Ellen Dunham-Jones, CNU's Board Chair. "He has put the organization's emphasis from being theoretical to action-oriented, advocating on behalf of CNU's great initiatives like urban highway removal, design for healthy neighborhoods and changing federal policies that limit mixed-use development."

"After working full time for more than 40 years, I look forward to having time to write and teach," Norquist stated, adding he would stay active in the New Urbanism movement. The CNU Board has formed a search committee to select a successor, and hopes to announce the new president in the spring of 2014.

One of CNU's major accomplishments during Norquist's tenure was the nurturing of a partnership with the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) that resulted in a new paradigm for street design serving the needs of all users. Recently anointed by the Federal Highway Administration as a go-to guide for urban street design, Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach is on its way to becoming an industry standard. Norquist also helped produce CNU's Street Network Principles and a new edition of the CNU Charter Book.

Norquist has also made countless appearances in cities and towns across the U.S., Canada, and around the world to help promote urbanism. Before leading CNU, Norquist served as Mayor of Milwaukee from 1988 to 2004, giving him a particular strength in understanding the politics of cities and towns as it relates to the built environment. He authored The Wealth of Cities (Addison Wesley, 1998), a book that describes and prescribes new urbanism to America's cities.

Incoming Board Chair Douglas Farr attested that "Norquist is leaving CNU in a strong position to expand the new urbanism movement. CNU's board, staff, growing chapters and skilled member population are well-positioned to deliver to a world more willing to embrace the CNU goal of communities that perform well environmentally, economically and generate social equity."  

A search committee has been appointed and is accepting applications from interested and qualified individuals. Please refer to the job listing for more details.