John Norquist

Rank: 
98

John Norquist, President and CEO, Center for the New Urbanism, was mayor of Milwaukee from 1988 to 2004. He advises hundreds of city and federal officials across the country on transportation, development and urban planning issues. 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.

Norquist sees highways as the great destroyers of a city's soul and has drawn widespread recognition for championing the removal of a .8 mile stretch of elevated freeway in the heart of Milwaukee (Park East Freeway), clearing the way for an anticipated $250 million in infill development. He was also strongly in favor of light-rail as a solution for the city's transit problems. As mayor, he consistently reduced the property tax rate every year he was in office and kept city budgets from growing beyond the rate of inflation.

In 2008, Norquist was honored nationally by the Ed Bacon Foundation for his excellence and leadership in urban development, planning, and design. Norquist is 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.