Le Corbusier's Vision of 20th Century city
Le Corbusier's vision of the city of the future, created in the early 1920s, became the pattern for urban development in the 20th century, a trend which Norquist believes has led to sprawl and near death of people-friendly urban community centers.

GOing Conference Audio: Part 6

Congress of New Urbanism President John Norquist on the origins of urban decay and suburban sprawl and what can be done to reinvigorate America's lost Main Streets

By EV World

Building cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles only addresses part of the complex, interwoven tapestry of uban and suburban development. Cars enable us to cope with the sprawl, but inexoriably help create it, as well.

Another driver, beside the automobile, has been an 80-year-long fixation with self-aggrandizing architecture and city planning that nearly wiped out thousands of years of urban planning experience and insight. Instead of walkable communities, paved shopping malls and strip malls now anchor monotonous tracts of homes. Few in America walk or bike for a loaf of bread or a bottle of wine anymore. Instead, most of us think nothing of firing up our heavy SUVs, sedans and pickups to run our errands to distant stores, in part because there are few sidewalks or bike paths to take us there.

That's why the new urbanism movement was founded. It's mission is to encourage architects and planners and developers to rethink urban and suburban design, to reinvent how communities are planned and how people and goods are moved. The Congress of New Urbanism is one of the driving forces behind this trend, and this week we feature its President and CEO, John Norquist. Norquist is introduced by Milwaukee's former city planner, Peter Park, who no heads up Denver's planning efforts.

EV World Premium subscribes can listen to Norquist's 42-minute long address online in MP3 audio format by clicking the play button on the Flash-based MP3 Player at the right, or by downloading the file to your computer hard drive and playing it on your favorite MP3 device. We thank John and the GOing conference organizers for permitting us to make his remarks available.

John Norquist
President, Congress for New Urbanism

In 2003, John Norquist became the President and CEO of The Congress for New Urbanism. HIs 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 major and prominent participant in national discussions on urban design and school reform.

John was the Mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin from 1988-2003. 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 has overseen 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. He has drawn 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.

A leader in national discussions of urban design and educational issues, Norquist is the author of The Wealth of Cities, and has taught courses in urban policy.

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Published: 23-Oct-2004


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