If you’ve heard of New Urbanism but don’t know much about it, you should absolutely attend John Norquist’s presentation tonight. As part of Houston Tomorrow’s Distinguished Speaker series, Norquist will be giving a free speech at 7:00 at the United Way Center, 50 Waugh Dr. The good folks at Houston Tomorrow have described the event better than I can, so I’m going to let them do the rest of the talking. Here’s a copy of their event announcement:
September 30, 2009
6:30PM for 1.5 hrs
United Way Community Resource Center
Former Milwaukee mayor and current CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), John Norquist will speak at the United Way Center on September 30, as part of Houston Tomorrow’s Distinguished Speaker Series.
John Norquist’s work promoting New Urbanism as an alternative to sprawl and antidote to sprawl’s social and environmental problems draws on his experience as a big-city mayor and prominent participant in national discussions on urban design and school reform. Under his leadership, Milwaukee experienced a decline in poverty, saw a boom in new downtown housing, and became a leading center of education and welfare reform. He oversaw a revision of the city’s zoning code and reoriented development around walkable streets and public amenities such as the city’s 3.1-mile Riverwalk.
Named a Governing magazine Public Official of the Year during his tenure as Mayor, he has received widespread recognition for championing the removal of a .8-mile stretch of elevated freeway, clearing the way for an anticipated $250 million in infill development in the heart of Milwaukee.
At CNU Norquist has joined local activists in numerous cities in advocating for the replacement of freeways with boulevards. CNU is a rapidly growing organization that promotes walkable, neighborhood-based development as an alternative to sprawl and takes a proactive, multi-disciplinary approach to restoring communities. Members include planners, developers, architects, engineers, public officials, investors, and community activists, all of whom provide leadership in community building.
A leader in national discussions of urban design and educational issues, Norquist is also the author of The Wealth of Cities, and has taught courses in urban policy and urban planning at the University of Chicago, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning, and at Marquette University.
He also chaired the National League of Cities Task Force on Federal Policy and Family Poverty and served on the Amtrak Reform Council.
In addition to his Distinguished Speaker presentation, Norquist is visiting Houston to help promote the founding of a CNU-Houston region chapter. Local members have formed an organizing committee and hope to reach a membership of 50 people in order to qualify as a chapter. For more on that initiative, go to the CNU-Houston website.
New Urbanism considers walkable, human-scaled neighborhoods the building blocks of sustainable communities and regions. See the Charter of the New Urbanism for a statement of the movement’s principles and their definition of the essential qualities of urban places, from the scale of the region to the individual building.