Staff

  • Southside
    Ten acres that transformed a city #thisiscnu

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • Mercado District | Tucson, Arizona
    A timeless place from the ground up. #thisiscnu

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • From parking lot to urban tour-de-force
    <strong>UCLA Weyburn</strong>&nbsp;<em>Los Angeles, California</em>

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • Jazz Market New Orleans Audience Seating
    Jazz Market New Orleans Audience Seating
    Trumpeting a cultural revival
    <strong>Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market</strong>&nbsp; <em>New Orleans, Louisiana</em>

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • A unique building becomes a hub for historic neighborhoods
    <strong>Ponce City Market</strong> <em>Atlanta, GA</em>

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • A mixed-use center for town and gown
    <strong>Storrs Center</strong> <em>Mansfield, CT</em>

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • Expanding options for a car-oriented suburban area
    <strong>Village of Providence</strong> <em>Huntsville, AL</em>

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • Crosstown_Concourse_2018_Charter_LooneyRicksKiss
    Crosstown_Concourse_2018_Charter_LooneyRicksKiss
    From former warehouse to "vertical village"
    <strong>Crosstown Concourse</strong>&nbsp; <em>Memphis, Tennessee</em>

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • Historic arcade houses young professionals
    <strong>Microlofts at The Arcade Providence</strong>&nbsp;<em>Providence, Rhode Island</em>

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

Rick Cole

Executive Director

Rick Cole serves as CNU Executive Director, bringing unique experience as a former elected local official, local government executive and urban policy expert.

“This is a critical juncture, not just for CNU, but for cities and towns across America,” Cole told attendees at CNU’s 29th annual Congress shortly after becoming Executive Director. “We’re in the midst of an overdue reckoning with institutional racism in American life. We face the existential threat of global climate change. We’re confronted by growing inequality as our cities and towns are marked by both unparalleled prosperity and unrelenting poverty. And we’re still emerging from the convulsions of a worldwide pandemic. This is a time of new danger for the people who’ve sustained our cities. This is also a time of new opportunity for those who believe in the promise of urban life. This is a time for new urbanism! CNU needs to be back at the center of the national conversation!”

As Mayor of Pasadena, California, Cole was among the first elected officials in the nation to embrace New Urbanism, leading an effort to rewrite the city’s General Plan to embrace timeless ways of building and target new, human-scale development around the coming of light rail transit. Later, as City Manager of Azusa, he spearheaded the first citywide form-based code in California, a new urbanist tool for producing high quality design. Cole also championed civic engagement, affordable housing, complete streets, green building, and community wellbeing as the City Manager of Ventura and then Santa Monica. During his service as Deputy Mayor for Budget and Innovation for the City of Los Angeles, where he oversaw a $5 billion budget, he secured a $3.2 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to set up an “I-Team” to seek ways to maximize community reinvestment to benefit existing residents.

In addition to his leadership role at CNU, Cole teaches Urban Policy at Occidental College and Pepperdine University. He has been an active leader in the International City Managers Association and the City Managers Department of the League of California Cities. Cole has been recognized as one of “America's Public Officials of the Year” by Governing Magazine and one of the "Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers" by Government Technology Magazine and won awards for municipal management excellence from the American Society of Public Administrators and the Municipal Management Association of Southern California. Cole served on the 2006 CNU Charter Awards jury and was twice honored by CNU for his public service leadership, including the highest honor from CNU’s California Chapter, the Paul Crawford Memorial Award an “outstanding member who has made considerable contributions to the advancement of the principles of the New Urbanism.

Email: rcole@cnu.org
Phone: 805.901.4284


Margaret O'Neal

Margaret Gattis

Deputy Director

Margaret Gattis is the Deputy Director at the Congress for the New Urbanism where she supports the Executive Director in achieving the goals of our strategic plan, provides strategic direction for the organization’s programmatic work, and develops evolving systems of operation that ensure all CNU staff are able to build places people love. Additionally, Margaret is responsible for designing and executing the annual Congress, in collaboration with CNU staff and board. Bringing a passion for cities, architecture, and people-centered design to CNU, Margaret spent over a decade advocating for the reuse of older and historic buildings at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, leading on-the-ground technical assistance projects across the country and contributing to groundbreaking research about the environmental, economic, and social value that older, smaller buildings contribute to cities for the Trust’s Preservation Green Lab. Margaret holds a BS in political science from Clemson University’s College of Behavioral, Social, and Health Sciences and a Masters in Community Planning from the University of Maryland’s School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. When she’s not keeping CNU’s trains on time, Margaret can be found traipsing with her kids through the woods and rivers of the mid-Atlantic region or drinking local beer on a front porch (or stoop!).

Email: mgattis@cnu.org
Phone: 202.870.8096


Robert Steuteville

Robert Steuteville

Senior Communications Advisor

Robert Steuteville is founder and executive director of Better Cities & Towns, a 501c3 nonprofit that seeks to educate and raise awareness for more sustainable and livable communities. Steuteville has been writing, editing, and publishing in the field of New Urbanism since 1996, when he founded New Urban News, a trade publication that covered the trend until 2012, when the name was changed to Better Cities & Towns. He authored or co-authored four editions of New Urbanism: Best Practices Guide, which is used for CNU accreditation. He published the Smart Code Version 9 and Manual. He is leading a team that is writing a form-based code, using the Smart Code as a basis, for the city and town of Ithaca, New York. Steuteville is a signer of the Charter of the New Urbanism, which was unveiled in Charleston, South Carolina, when New Urban News was launched. He participated in the Mississippi Renewal Forum, when new urbanists made plans for 11 communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina. He lives in Ithaca, New York, with his family.

Email: rsteuteville@cnu.org


Scott Shields

Scott Shields

Director of Membership & Outreach

Scott Shields is the Director of Membership and Outreach for the Congress for the New Urbanism, where his work focuses on supporting and growing both the membership of the organization as well as the broader new urbanist movement. From building and maintaining CNU’s digital platforms to coordinating the work of its local Chapters and affiliates, he brings almost two decades of experience in organizing and activism. Prior to joining the CNU staff, Scott’s career centered around non-profit organizations, local government, elected officials, and the labor movement. A long time new urbanist himself, he grew up in the New York metropolitan area, experiencing both the benefits of vibrant, walkable urban spaces, and the negative impacts of suburban sprawl. He lives in New Jersey with his partner, two children, and an ever-expanding menagerie of pets, constantly on the lookout for new hiking trails and music venues.

Email: sshields@cnu.org
Phone: 973.658.6877


Marsha Garcia

Marsha Garcia

Director of Education and Training

Marsha Garcia is the Director of Education and Training for the Congress of the New Urbanism and is responsible for developing and delivering tools and education outreach materials to support existing members, and grow the next generation of new urban designers and leaders. Prior to CNU Marsha was the University of Rhode Island’s first Campus Sustainability Officer where she created and instituted outreach and engagement initiatives related to sustainability at the University; a role she served for over 12 years. Before her arrival on campus, she held various positions in the environmental field in the Washington, DC, area. She was the manager of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Community by Design's Sustainability Design and Assessment Teams programs, a position she held after initially managing the education and outreach programs for the AIA Knowledge Communities including the Committee on the Environment, Building Science & Performance Committee, and the Design-Build Community. She came to AIA after working for the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) as an assistant manager jump starting the LEED Education Programs in 2001 at its national headquarters. Previous to USGBC she coordinated programs at the National Wildlife Federation in Virginia. Marsha obtained a Master of Science in environmental sciences and policy, with a focus on environmental planning, from the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, and a Bachelor’s degree from Drew University in New Jersey. She lives just outside Philadelphia, PA, with her husband, daughter, and two dogs, where they enjoy the many hiking trails, green spaces, and cultural opportunities the area has to offer.

Email: mgarcia@cnu.org


Lauren Mayer

Lauren Mayer

Communications Manager

Lauren Mayer is the Communications Manager at the Congress for the New Urbanism where she contributes to the strategic direction of CNU’s communications and outreach, executes general communications, and supports programmatic work. Prior to joining CNU, Lauren was an ORISE fellow with U.S. EPA doing communications work in the Office of Water. Lauren holds a BA in environmental studies and media & cultural studies from Macalester College. Lauren enjoys walking and biking around DC with friends, skiing, and camping.

Email: lmayer@cnu.org
Phone: 202.656.3618


Desiree Powell

Desiree Powell

Programs Coordinator

Desiree “Dee” Powell is an Arlington, Texas native where she graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with her Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies and Masters in City & Regional Planning. She is currently an urban planner in Texas and an urban designer in her own urban planning/design firm, DRBTS (Do Right By The Streets), which focuses on place keeping as a tool to implement temporary-to-permanent space activation projects in communities of color. Desiree centers her work from her lived experiences as a Black woman along with impacts of music, streetwear and sports. She's a lover of sports and being active, coffee and writing whenever she can.

Email: dpowell@cnu.org


Adilah Abdul-Matin

Adilah Abdul-Matin

Membership Diversity Coordinator

Adilah is the Membership Diversity Coordinator at the Congress for New Urbanism and contributes to the development and retention of CNU members and supporters. Adilah has a decade of experience working in state government, education, and non-profit organizations. She worked in membership development creating new strategies to integrate new and existing members into a community professional organization. Adilah is a New Urbanist at heart, who prefers walking around her native Troy, NY to driving. She grew up building summer forts in the forest near her home with friends and as an adult spends her weekends on local hiking trails or attending music festivals.

Email: aabdul-matin@cnu.org