CNU Monthly Review
July 2011


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Leading the Way for FHA, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac Reform 

CNU Officially Launches Initiative to Reform Restrictive Development Requirements


Working with our partners at the National Town Builders Association (NTBA), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the National Association of Realtors, and the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) is excited to formally launch our FHA, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac Reform Initiative, advocating for federal housing finance programs to raise and/or eliminate the restrictive covenants of commercial space in mixed-use developments. 


Specifically, FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and HUD's 221d4 and 220 programs all limit non-residential to a small percentage of the total value or imputed rent of a given project. (Fannie Mae currently sets the cap at 20%; Freddie Mac at 25%; and HUD's 221d4 and 220 programs at 15% and 30%, respectively.)  Combined with the tendency of private lenders to adopt even more restrictive policies than federal underwriting rules, these restrictions work against emerging demographic trends calling out for mixed-use settlement akin to traditional pre-World War II Main Streets.  As CNU CEO & President John Norquist states, "Federal housing finance rules have basically made Main Streets illegal in the United States. It's time to change the rules and let the market deliver good urban development."


To revitalize the economy and realign the market with market demand, CNU, along with its coalition partners, is advocating for the reformation of FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac through the relaxation and/or elimination of mixed-use regulations.


For further details, please see the  FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Reform page on the CNU site, and be sure to read this week's Streetsblog feature on CNU's latest intiative.


Introducing the CNU-A Continuing Education Providers Program
CNU-A Members Offered More Educational Opportunities Through Expansion of CNU-Accreditation Program 


CNU-A is an established, professional accreditation program that recognizes the talent within the New Urbanist movement. With almost 400 active CNU-Accredited members, CNU is now expanding the continuing education component of CNU-A and launching the CNU-A Continuing Education Provider Program.


The primary goal of the CNU-A Continuing Education Provider Program is to expand the available continuing education options available to CNU-A members, thereby making it easier to maintain CNU-A status. CNU-A Continuing Education Providers help members fulfill that goal by offering one or more New Urbanism-related education events per year.


We are pleased to commence the program in partnership with two distinguished organizations, Placemakers and the Form-Based Codes Institute 


Check the CNU-A Continuing Education Providers page often as more partners come on-board. Bookmark the CNU Calendar page to see all upcoming CNU-A Cont. Ed events. 


For further information regarding CNU-A, please visit


And look who just got his CNU-A!


CNU 20 Voices 
Discover CNU 20 Voices 


CNU 20 Voices is a collection of blog posts, videos, pictures, and more from the engaged minds behind CNU 20. Among the collection are dialogues with leaders of the New Urbanism movement and answers to such pressing questions as: What are the forces behind the ideas being explored at CNU 20? What makes West Palm Beach the perfect place to host CNU 20? How will CNU 20 tackle the most pressing urbanist issues of the day?


Currently in the spotlight on CNU 20 Voices is Dan Burden, aka "The Walking Doc" and Executive Director of The Walkable and Livable Communities Institute (WALC). Burden writes a guest blog extolling the many treasures of West Palm Beach, and stars in a short video with architect Ramon Trias building excitement for CNU 20. Watch below!


Dan Burden and Ramon Trias, Part I - CNU 20.MOV
Dan Burden and Ramon Trias, Part I 


Urbanization Knowledge Platform for Latin America
John Norquist Presents on CNU and Smart Growth Policies at Bogota


On July 18 and 19, John Norquist participated in the Urbanization Knowledge Platform for Latin America event in Bogota, Colombia.


Norquist's presentation focused on smart growth practices relevant to Latin American cities, and encouraged public policy as a means to effectively promote those practices.


Sponsored by the World Bank and created by Fedesarrollo- one of Latin America's most prominent economic think tanks- the Knowledge Platform aims to help consolidate policy-making lessons from the region's urbanization process while addressing productivity growth and the reinvention of spaces, inclusiveness and poverty reduction, stronger governments, and sustainable urban growth.  


Meet the ITE in St. Louis 

CNU Planning Director Heather Smith to Present on Complete Streets at ITE Annual Meeting 


CNU Planning Director Heather Smith will be presenting at the "Complete Streets Multimodal Level of Service Workshop" at the ITE Annual Meeting  in St. Louis on August 15.


Building off the success CNU and ITE have shared in the creation of Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approachthe annual meeting provides a forum for discussion on the implementation of Complete Streets policies that ensure roads are designed, built, and operated for pedestrians' safety.


Find out more about the four-day event by visiting the ITE Annual Meeting and Exhibit website, and stay glued to the CNU site for more coverage in August.


Never Miss Another Session: CNU Webcast Library
Relive All the Action from CNU 18 and CNU 19 


Have you ever had to chose between two amazing sessions? Wish you could pore over every detail from that one unforgettable plenary? Didn't get the chance to make it to Atlanta or Madison?


Well, now you can revisit all the action at the past two Congresses with CNU's on-demand Webcast Library!


CNU members can relive CNU 18 and CNU 19 with access to our catalog of audio and video webcasts. Just log in with your CNU member credentials and click on over to Watch Shaun Donovan's address to the attendees of CNU 18, catch the Landscape Urbanism vs. New Urbanism debate between Charles Waldheim and Andres Duany at CNU 19, zero-in on Sprawl Retrofit - login to your account, and see the endless options.


There are over 100 webcasts available, so sit back, relax, and start watching!



Around the Blog

Recent Highlights from the CNU Salons

Upcoming Events
Check out the CNU Event Calendar at


Urban Visionaries: Drawing and Visioning Days

Saturday, July 30 | Miami, FL   


Planning Ethics Seminar

Saturday, July 30 | Los Angeles, CA


Envisioning Downtown Crossing: A Community Conversation and Workshop

Saturday, July 30 - Sunday, July 31 | New Haven, CT


Bus Rapid Transit: Chicago's New Route to Opportunity

Wednesday, August 17 | Chicago, IL


Ecocity World Summit

Monday, August 22 - Friday, August 26 | Montréal (Québec), Canada  

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About the Congress for the New Urbanism
The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) is the leading organization promoting regions, cities and towns built around walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods.  Learn more.