What We Do

CNU’s members are dedicated to building places people love.

Take a street: Our members are the activists advocating a safer street with added bike lines, the engineers designing the street with the community’s input, and the urban designers who make it beautiful. We’re also the architects designing the buildings to frame the newly designed street, and the developers who build them.

CNU works at multiple scales to get great places built. We target key issues like health, equity, and transportation reform from every angle—from policy to design to community advocacy. We help incubate and amplify our members’ innovative work into major national projects like LEED-NDSprawl Retrofit, and Lean Urbanism. And when our members build, design, or restore amazing places, we show the world.

The process of building just one great street—let alone a whole city or neighborhood—is complex. Federal, state, and local rules dictate much of where and what can be built. Dozens of requirements for zoning, financing, building codes, infrastructure—to name a few—impose significant barriers to creating the type of vibrant and diverse places people want. As a national platform, CNU identifies barriers – and opportunities—and creates coalitions to advocate for and change the rules.

We develop education and training programs geared specifically to professionals, advocates, and local governments to maximize their efforts in creating more walkable and prosperous places.

Our annual Congress, now in its twenty-fourth year, is the premiere national event on building better places. Each year, 1200+ attendees convene to hear from speakers, participate in workshops, collaborate on projects, and learn new strategies from leaders in dozens of fields.

CNU works to address and elevate the policy, regulatory, and code obstacles to building better places. People across the U.S. want to live and work in unique, natural, walkable places. We help to make that happen.