Meet CNU's New Executive Director

The Congress for the New Urbanism has announced the hiring of Rick Cole as the its new executive director, filling a role left vacant by the departure of Lynn Richards earlier this year.

Read Time: 2 minutes

May 5, 2021, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Rick Cole, a prominent figure in the Southern California planning community, will be the next executive director of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU). The announcement of Cole's hiring fills the void left by the departure of Lynn Richards, who stepped down in January after seven years at the helm of the D.C.-based planning reform advocacy organization.

"Rick's experience leading organizations of all size, his long history leveraging New Urbanist principles to champion walkable urbanism, and his dedication to ensuring that CNU remain a powerful player in creating and repairing places that work for everyone make him the ideal candidate for this position," writes Margaret O'Neal in an article for the CNU website.

Cole was most recently announced as special housing advisor to the mayor of Pasadena after leaving a post as city manager of Santa Monica—and sounding alarms about the potential fiscal impact of the pandemic on his way out—at the beginning of 2020.

Previously, Cole served as mayor of the city of Pasadena and as the city manager in both Azusa and Ventura, in addition to a role as the deputy mayor of budget and innovation for the city of Los Angeles at the beginning of Mayor Eric Garcetti's time in office.

"As Mayor of Pasadena, California, Cole was among the first elected officials in the nation to embrace New Urbanism, leading an effort to rewrite the city’s General Plan to embrace timeless ways of building and target new, human-scale development around the coming of light rail transit. Later, as City Manager of Azusa, he spearheaded the first citywide form-based code in California, a new urbanist tool for producing high quality design," writes O'Neal.

Cole's frequent contributions to planning media, especially through the Los Angeles-based publication The Planning Report, means there are numerous entries on the Rick Cole tag on Planetizen.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021 in CNU Public Square

Green bike lane with flexible delineators and textures paint in Hoboken, New Jersey

America’s Best New Bike Lanes

PeopleForBikes highlights some of the most exciting new bike infrastructure projects completed in 2022.

January 31, 2023 - PeopleforBikes

Aerial view of MBTA commuter rail station in Concord, Massachusetts among green trees

Massachusetts Zoning Reform Law Reaches First Deadline

Cities and towns had until January 31 to submit their draft plans for rezoning areas near transit stations to comply with a new state law.

February 1, 2023 - Streetsblog Mass

Green alley under construction

Green Alleys: A New Paradigm for Stormwater Management

Rather than shuttling stormwater away from the city and into the ocean as quickly as possible, Los Angeles is now—slowly—moving toward a ‘city-as-sponge’ approach that would capture and reclaim more water to recharge crucial reservoirs.

February 2, 2023 - Curbed

Texas Capitol Building

Property Appraisal Caps Unlikely to Pass in Texas

Critics of a proposal to limit property value increases to reduce homeowners’ property tax burden say the measure would destabilize the housing market and cause cities to raise other taxes to compensate.

10 minutes ago - Houston Chronicle

Aerial view of residential development near beach in Oahu, Hawaii

Hawaii State Bills Could Limit or Expand Affordable Housing Law

Some legislators see a law that provides a zoning exemption to affordable housing builders as a necessary way to alleviate the housing crisis, while others worry about the impact of fast-tracked development on land zoned for conservation.

1 hour ago - Honolulu Civil Beat


Cleveland: The Nation’s Most Equitably Walkable City

A new study assesses which cities have the broadest access to walkable neighborhoods.

2 hours ago - Streetsblog USA

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.