John O. Norquist is the President and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism. John Norquist’s work promoting New Urbanism as an alternative and antidote to sprawl’s social and environmental problems draws on his experience as big-city mayor and prominent participant in national discussions on urban design and transportation policy.
Norquist served as Mayor of Milwaukee from 1988-2004. 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. Named a Governing Magazine Public Official of the Year during his tenure, Norquist also received widespread recognition for championing the removal of a .8 mile stretch of elevated freeway. In 2008, he received the Bacon Prize, named for visionary Philadelphia planner Ed Bacon.
At CNU, he has joined local activists in numerous cities as a key champion of plans to replace freeways with boulevards. 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 and planning at the University of Chicago, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning, and at Marquette University.
Norquist served in the Army Reserves from 1971 to 1977, and earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin. Before becoming Mayor, he represented Milwaukee’s south and west sides in the Wisconsin Legislature. He chaired the National League of Cities Task Force on Federal Policy and Family Poverty and served on the Amtrak Reform Council. He is married to former CNU Board Member Susan Mudd. They have two children, Benjamin and Katherine.