Nationally recognized smart growth expert Lynn Richards will become the next president and chief executive officer of the Congress for the New Urbanism, the organization announced today. Formerly with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities, Richards will assume her role at CNU July 1.
In this interview with Rob Steuteville, Richards says she is in "listening mode," but also lays out a few goals for the national organization, including working at the state level: "I can use my network to connect CNU with a lot of statewide organizations. You have the ped-bike people, the health initiatives, and community development organizations. These are all local, regional, and state organizations that are advocating for places people love, and we will benefit by bringing them all to the table," Richards explained.
Richards says that with significant and recent turnover in other similar organizations there is a unique opportunity in this moment:
"Shelley Poticha just recently joined NRDC as part of an urban solutions team. Shelley is really interested in working with those communities that received HUD grants: How do we move them from plans to implementation? Harriet Tregoning just went from DC’s Office of Planning over to HUD’s Office of Sustainable Communities which is now Resilient and Sustainable Communities. The exciting thing is that across the country, major organizations are all getting new leadership. Local Government Commission has a new director. The American Planning Association is going to have a new director. HUD has a new director. CNU has a new director. That presents a unique opportunity in the movement for all of us to step back and say, we are carrying no baggage from before, how can we leverage each others’ efforts and strengths?"