Certification in New Urbanism Launched for City Planners

New urbanism arose from a desire to create "complete" environments, often fostering pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. Earlier this month, the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU), the leading international new urbanist organization, began offering a new accreditation for planners.

CNU is collaborating with the University of Miami School of Architecture for the first phase of the program. Professionals can take the online exam during three periods set during the year-- the next exam period will start the second week of October and last until late November.

The exam costs $225, and is comprised of 101 random multiple choice and two short answer questions. Reaching CNU-Accredited status or CNU-A can bring about business recognition or identification, reference criteria, or even optional credits in the LEED for Neighborhoods (LEED-ND) rating system.

After receiving accreditation, individuals could qualify for a LEED-ND point if they are part of a project team of a project seeking green neighborhood certification.

Maintaining the accreditation involves attending at least one local chapter or CNU event yearly, as well as keeping up with annual dues. The University of Miami will also offer an online course intended for accreditation preparation, called The Principles and Practice of New Urbanism, though it is not required.

CNU is entering into a market potentially already satisfied by the US Green Building Council. The promise of new LEED exams may compete with the CNU-A; however, both will be necessary as cities make progress towards sustainable goals.