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Since 1996, the Charter for the New Urbanism has recognized that “physical solutions by themselves will not solve social and economic problems, but neither can economic vitality, community stability, and environmental health be sustained without a coherent and supportive physical framework.”
For more than two decades, CNU has been working at the building, block, neighborhood, city, and regional scales to create more inclusive and equitable communities. Early momentum came in the mid-1990s from a partnership with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to create design guidelines for the HOPE VI program, to rehabilitate the nation's most deteriorated and isolated public housing facilities into mixed-income neighborhoods that integrate with the broader community.
More recently, CNU has advocated to remove the elevated urban freeways that tore established neighborhoods apart—a true opportunity to reverse decades of community disinvestment and repair neighborhood segregation. Now, CNU is using its expertise to develop transportation and land use strategies for cities through its Legacy Projects, which provide design assistance in underserved communities. Each expert-led Legacy Project is aimed at empowering local leaders, advocates, and residents in underserved communities to implement New Urbanist principles that help people and businesses thrive. CNU will continue to focus its Legacy Projects around those communities too often excluded from structurally unfair economic investment and the conventional planning process.
All of this work is reflected within CNU’s inclusion statement, initiated by the National Board of Directors in March 2016, and formally adopted in September 2018.