What is CNU?

The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) is the leading organization promoting walkable, mixed-use neighborhood development, sustainable communities and healthier living conditions.

For over twenty years, CNU members have used the principles in CNU’s Charter to promote the hallmarks of New Urbanism, including:

  • Livable streets arranged in compact, walkable blocks.
  • A range of housing choices to serve people of diverse ages and income levels.
  • Schools, stores and other nearby destinations reachable by walking, bicycling or transit service.
  • An affirming, human-scaled public realm where appropriately designed buildings define and enliven streets and other public spaces.

Established by co-founders Andres Duany, Peter Calthorpe, Elizabeth Moule, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Stefanos Polyzoides and Dan Solomon and supported today by distinguished board members and other thought-leaders from the worlds of urban design, development, academia, citizen activism, and government policy, CNU works to deliver these hallmarks to communities across North America and overseas on multiple scales. Whether it be in brownfields, emerging growth areas, established cities, or small town suburbs, New Urbanism reinforces the character of existing areas in making them walkable, sustainable, and vibrant, revitalizing and energizing communities to their true potential. The principles of New Urbanism are also central to making whole regions more livable, coherent and sustainable.

With a history of forming productive alliances, CNU has been at the forefront of efforts to reform how we design and build communities and their infrastructure.


Our partners have included:


CNU takes a proactive, multi-disciplinary approach to restoring our communities. Members are the life of the organization – they are the planners, developers, architects, engineers, public officials, investors and community activists who create and influence our built environment, transforming growth patterns from the inside out, and making it easier for people to live healthy lives. Whether it’s bringing restorative plans to hurricane-battered communities in the Gulf Coast, turning dying malls into active mixed-use neighborhoods, or reconnecting isolated public housing projects to the surrounding fabric, new urbanists are providing leadership in community building.

Our relationship with our members allows us to do more than just talk about the problems of the built environment. Together, through our Initiatives and our annual Congress gathering, we are creating tools that make it easier to put New Urbanism into practice around the world.


About CNU Chapters

From the CNU.org website

Chapters bring CNU’s message home at the regional, state, and multi-state levels. They will provide new ways to take part in the movement. And they will enhance public and professional education and networking. What chapters can do for you:

  • Help you meet colleagues
  • Share information about policies, resources, and best practices in the region
  • Teach the public in your area about New Urbanism, broadening the movement’s support base
  • Like CNU’s annual Congresses, provide in-depth education — close to home

Help you and other people in your region influence the movement’s priorities

Chapters go through three phases to become full-fledged organizations. They start out as Organizing Committees, which have no dues and mostly try to garner regional support. Once they have enough members and financial stability, they become Provisional Chapters. Provisional Chapters can charge dues, hire staff, and start to behave like full, independent organizations. Once they have incorporated and gotten nonprofit status, they become full Chapters.

A CNU chapter is an independent nonprofit corporations with its own members, dues, and activities. It has an independent board of directors. It can hire staff, host events, contract for services, and work with volunteers. It is allowed to use CNU’s brand identity — such as logos, colors, and name — in return for helping to recruit and raise money for CNU.

We are excited about the mutual support that regional chapters and the international CNU can give one another. At last, CNU will have a consistent local voice to translate the Charter for local audiences, bring in speakers and other events, and gather together our supporters for mutual benefit.

For information on how to become a chapter, download the ChaptersHandbookDraft (pdf, 128 kb)

CNU is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

CNU Board members have developed a strategic plan for the organization. The plan lays out a strategy for enabling and promoting the reform of the regulatory structure governing development and the practices of the building industry and related professionals.