The Congress for New Urbanism

The Congress for the New Urbanism, based in Chicago, is an international organization dedicated to the principles of its charter. Modeled after C.I.A.M., the CNU seeks to provide design guidance to counteract “sprawl” and many other problems with the built environment that principally occurred in the latter half of the twentieth century. Mr. Chellman was one of the first Members of the Board of the CNU and he continues to support its principles. However, Mr. Chellman also believes that “New Urbanism” is a poor term.

This criticism is not simply from the fact that anything “new” soon ceases to become just that. More importantly, with respect to the first term, there is nothing really “new” about much of what is espoused by the CNU. That which has constituted good design has for the most part remained the same for centuries. Of course transportation has changed greatly in recent decades, but that has occurred before in history. One fact that remains true and it is a very simple principle, is that the best places are those places where it feels good to be a pedestrian.

“Urbanism” is problematic because to many people, it is too limiting a term. Good design should occur both in urban areas and in non-urban areas (see definition of TND).