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CNU Illinois meets on a regular basis to cover a diverse set of topics happening in our city, region, and state. Equal doses of networking and exposure to projects that advance the principles of new urbanism, the monthly events are a great way to learn about new ideas and meet new people. Contact Gary Scott at if you have an idea for a future event.


This is CNU: Vision/Meet/Greet

CNU-IL is excited to announce THIS IS CNU--an event designed to provide an update on the national direction of the organization, as well as set priorities for our local chapter. CNU's new Executive Director and champion for New Urbanism Rick Cole will join the conversation to help us set goals and share insights from other CNU chapters. We'd love to hear from fellow urbanists on topics of importance for CNU-IL's future--we hope to see you there!



September 27th |  CNU IL 11 

Missing Middle Mini-Conference

Friday, September 27, 2019 from 1:00pm - 6:00pm

Evanston, Illinois


For its annual state conference, CNU Illinois is proud to again partner with APA Illinois for a “conference within a conference” dedicated to the Missing Middle topic. Earlier this year, CNU Illinois sponsored a contest that challenged design teams to develop missing middle housing concepts in Albany Park, Lake Bluff, and Peoria.  But what did the communities and panelists learn? How can the missing middle help add housing in these different urban contexts? And what can we learn from the host community of Evanston?

To answer these questions, CNU Illinois and APA Illinois are offering a three part Missing Middle track on Friday, September 27, starting at 1:00 PM at the Hotel Orrington in Evanston:

1:00 PM: Missing Middle Panel: From Ideas to Outcomes

APA-IL Conference, Hotel Orrington, Evanston


Our facilitated discussion will feature representatives from Albany Park, Lake Bluff, and Peoria to discuss their participation in the contest, housing challenges within their community, and how the Missing Middle helps - and falls short - of addressing housing goals.


2:15 PM: Accessory Dwelling Unit Walking Tour

APA-IL Conference, Hotel Orrington, Evanston


Join CNU Illinois and the City of Evanston for a walking tour of some of the community’s coach houses, granny flats, and duplexes. The tour will discuss how these units have historically preserved affordable housing and strategies that the City and the Evanston Development Cooperative are considering to add new ADUs.  The final tour stop is the Firehouse Grill, a prime example of adaptive use and perfect spot to grab a refreshment with other conference goers.  


Co-Hosted by:

APA Illlinois Chapter

4:00 PM: Missing Middle Happy Hour

Firehouse Grill, 750 Chicago Ave, Evanston


Friday afternoon, time to kick back and join your fellow housing and urbanism aficionados for an informal happy hour at the end of the APA conference.  The Missing Middle Competition entries will also be on display for anyone who couldn’t make the earlier sessions.  


All are welcome at the Happy Hour, you do not need to register for the APA Illinois conference to attend!


To register for the Panel Discussion and Tour, visit the APA Illinois conference website at this link. Registration is required for the panel and the walking tour. You do not need to register for the conference to attend the happy hour.   


Can’t wait to see you there!

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Past 2018 CNU Illinois Events

Tactical Urbanism Shark Tank

Do you have an idea for tactical placemaking in your neighborhood?

Come pitch your idea for funding!


Tue, July 31, 2018

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM CDT


Haymarket Pub

737 W Randolph St 

Chicago, IL 60661

View Map



Placemaking projects don’t need to be expensive, lengthy, or difficult to deploy. Low cost and creative ideas can be a quick and easy way to reinvigorate your street, sidewalk, or public plaza. CNU Illinois invites you to pitch your idea to help make it happen with a chance to win an implementation grant for up to $1,000! A diverse panel of urbanist gurus with tactical intervention (TI) experience will judge pitches and award prizes to the top ideas.



Community groups, neighborhood organizations, and passionate residents are all invited to enter. To enter the Tactical Urbanism Shark Tank event, please email the following items in a single-page PDF document to

  • a short description of your idea,

  • your plan to implement it,

  • any other groups or partners to help you, and

  • a rough budget to make it happen.


At the event, you’ll be asked to make a 2 minute pitch to our panel, which includes:

  • Kareeshma Ali, Design Researcher, Greater Good Studio

  • Luis Gutierrez, Executive Director Latinos Progresando

  • Luis Monterrubio, Urban Planner, Chicago Department of Planning and Development


Don’t have an idea to pitch? Don’t worry! We hope you will come for a drink, a bite to eat and watch the show. You’ll meet passionate urbanists from across the Chicago region and leave with several fantastic ideas for tactical urbanism in your own community.

BYO Tactical Urbanism: Bring Your Own Ideas!

This event is your one-stop for all things Tactical Urbanism in the Chicago region.
Co-hosted by APA-IL CMS, come with your ideas, and leave with the how-to.


Tue, May 22, 2018

2:00 PM – 4:30 PM CDT


Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP)

233 South Wacker Drive #800

Chicago, IL 60606

View Map

The event will give an overview of the kinds of great tactical events that have been produced in Chicago over the past few years as the movement has gained momentum, and feature speakers who will share their stories of implementing tactical strategies. This includes:

  • Boxville Marketplace: Boxvillle, Chicago’s first street food market and container mall, serves Bronzeville with unique products and services at the 51st Street Green Line. Boxville offers community entrepreneurs engaging and affordable spaces for building enterprises.

  • Chatham “Dining on the 5”: The Greater Chatham Initiative and partners hosted a weekend festival called “Dining on the 5,” which featured tactical parklet structures built from wooden pallets, planters, and seating areas for participating businesses on the 75th Street corridor.

  • Downtown Rockford: Downtown Rockford programmed a set of tactical events meant to attract interest in downtown businesses and activate the streets. This included a parklet program, an event series called Shop the Blocks, and piloting a shared use lane on a wide downtown bridge.

  • CDOT Make Way for People Initiative: The Make Way for People initiative aims to cultivate community and culture in Chicago’s neighborhoods through placemaking in the public way by opening streets, parking spots, plazas, and alleys to new programming and market opportunities.

This event will also introduce you the basics of hosting your own Tactical Urbanism event, complete with information about community partners, budgets, management, permits, build-out, liability, and more. Leave with your own Tactical Urbanism Action Plan for a project in your community.


  • Michael Kritzman, AICP, Senior Associate, The Lakota Group & Board Member- CNU Illinois Board. Michael is an urban designer and planner with over a decade of experience working on a wide range of project types nationwide. From pocket parks to urban districts to citywide plans, on each project Michael brings a passion for the process of making vibrant and livable places, with an added focus on economic development. As a Senior Associate at The Lakota Group, Michael plays an integral role in the firm’s development master planning, land use and zoning policy, and district revitalization efforts. Michael has also been a proud, card carrying member of the CNU since 2006; and has served on the CNU Illinois Board of Directors since 2014, where he has helped to lead a number of Tactical Urbanism programs and events.

  • Bernard Loyd, Founder & President, Urban Juncture, Inc. and Urban Juncture Foundation. Bernard is founder and president of Urban Juncture, Inc. and of Urban Juncture Foundation, for- and not-for-profit social enterprises focused on revitalizing urban communities. UJ and UJF empower residents to combine private, public, and philanthropic resources with deeply-rooted cultural assets to develop business and social ventures that provide amenities and create local jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities. He helped develop Boxville, Chicago’s first street food market and container mall, located in the Bronzeville neighborhood.

  • Doug Farr, FAIA, President, Farr Associates. Doug is the president of Farr Associates a Chicago-based firm of optimistic architects and urban designers who plan and design lovable, aspirational buildings and places. He is a published author who lectures widely on the topics of urbanism and sustainability. Doug was the founding chair of the USGBC LEED-ND Core Committee and has served on the boards of urban sustainability organizations including CNU, EcoDistricts, and Elevate Energy. Doug is the author of Sustainable Urbanism, with a new follow-up, Sustainable Nation: Urban Design Patterns for the Future. In Summer 2017, Farr Associates partnered with the Greater Chatham Initiative, the City of Chicago, and CNU to host a tactical pop-up event called “Dining on the 5” for Chatham’s 75th Street business district.

  • Larry Morrissey, Vice President of Government Relations, Marathon Health & Former Mayor of Rockford, Illinois. In May 2017, after 12 years as mayor of the City of Rockford, Larry Morrissey joined Marathon Health as Vice President of Government Relations and Regional Vice President of Sales. In his position, Larry supports employers and communities across the nation pursuing the Healthcare Triple Aim of improved patient experience, improved health outcomes & lower total cost. As Mayor of Rockford, Larry drove a comprehensive approach to employee health and community health. He also advocated for new strategies to activate downtown, including working with Rockford’s River District Association and other city agencies to launch tactical events in 2015, like Shop the Blocks– many of which continue today.

  • Vanessa Irizarry, AICP, LEED AP, Coordinating Planner, CDOT. Vanessa is a Coordinating Planner within the Chicago Department of Transportation’s Livable Streets program. In her role she manages CDOT’s Make Way for People (MWFP) program, working with community groups throughout Chicago in the implementation of tactical urbanism projects from concept development to final permit approval. The City’s MWFP program supports a variety of placemaking initiatives to transform the public way through creative, temporary tactical improvements and cultural programming such as People Spots (aka parklets), People Streets, People Plazas, and People Alleys. By converting underutilized or small sections of the public right-of-way into places for people to sit, eat, and play, the program helps create safe, walkable neighborhoods that support local business and strengthen a sense of place.


P.S. Take your action plan, and turn it into funding! CNU Illinois will host a “Shark Tank” style event in June to fund an organization looking to implement tactical strategies in their community. More information from CNU coming soon!

CM: 1.5 CM Credits Approved

For program questions, please email:

REFUND POLICY: If you are unable to attend an event, any requests for a refund must be made via Eventbrite or emailed to within 2 days of the completion of the event. Refunds will not be made available for any events with a waitlist with the exception of extenuating circumstances. Requests for a refund will be granted at the discretion of the APA CMS.

Celebrate May Day with Sustainable Nation! (CEU credit)


May 1st, 5:30-7:30pm

AIA Chicago (35 E Upper Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601)


Doug Farr, immediate past CNU National Chair and author of Sustainable Urbanism has just released its sequel, Sustainable Nation: Urban Design Patterns for the Future.  He will give a talk condensing the new book in a CEU-eligible presentation, field a few questions and sign as many books as possible.


Sustainable Nation will be available for sale and dedication after the presentation.


To learn more, visit


Member Ask:

CNU will provide light appetizers of cheese, fruit and veggie plates to encourage our collaborations with APA and AIA members. Please mix and mingle after the CEU portion is complete. AIA is graciously providing drinks for the event.


(Note: some CNU members have indicated they want to keep the Maypole tradition alive and will reorganize participants after 7:30 for a night of dancing. Location TBD.)


Contact: Robert Munson,


September |  CNU IL 10 

Mind the (Housing) Gap - Filling the Missing Middle for Walkable and Affordable Neighborhoods

Friday, September 22, 2017 from 9:30am - 3:30pm

Oak Park Library, Veterans Room, 2nd Floor


CNU Illinois is convening municipal planners, architects, engineers, developers, and advocates to explore how small-scale, locally-motivated, and incremental development can address equitable housing. The Missing Middle has many housing types: the two-flat, the townhome, the granny flat, the coach home. Together, they support affordable, diverse, and compact communities.


While most housing initiatives focus on the single family home or the multifamily building, our program, Mind the (Housing) Gap, will examine the policies and tools needed to facilitate this missing link in housing inventory:


  • Education about the basic components of the Missing Middle housing and its role in supporting and preserving affordability in walkable communities;


  • keynote presentation by Jim Kumon of the Incremental Development Alliance that lays out the financial and civic groundwork for making small scale development succeed;


  • walking tour of Oak Park will use the Village as a “learning lab” to document how different housing types have helped protect its diversity and include more affordability;


  • An afternoon panel of experts will dive deep into the design, development and policies necessary to encourage Missing Middle Housing across the region; and


  • A lively pecha kucha to highlight local initiatives working to creatively fill our housing gap and strengthen the network of community-minded citizens that can make it happen.



Paid Event: Registration Required : Members ($40), Non-Members ($60), Students ($25) *Continental Breakfast & Lunch Provided


CNU Illinois members as well as non-members are invited to attend.


Attendees are eligible for the following professional continuing education credit:

AICP: 6.5 hours

CNU-A:  4 hours 

Thanks to our Sponsors:



CITY Level

July |  Welcome to Marshall Square!

Tactical Urbanism Event

Saturday, July 29th from 11am - 3pm

Corner of Cermak & Sheffield, Chicago, Illinois



We are inviting community members and volunteers to come together to create a pop-up art installation at the corner of Cermak and Fairfield.


“Welcome to Marshall Square” will feature ‘tactical urbanism’ interventions designed to liven the area and demonstrate how grass root actions can help to make Marshall Square a more livable and connected community.  


The event will focus on low tech improvements using simple, hands-on materials, so come prepared to work and get their hands dirty.  Attendees should dress appropriately for working outside and with various medias.  Children are welcome and encouraged!



Event Details

Saturday, July 29th

11:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Corner of Cermak and FairfieldChicago, IL

Food will be available


The California Pink Line Station, located roughly one block northwest of the event is the recommended public transportation option. 


CNU Illinois members as well as non-members are invited to attend.

April |  An Evening of TOD:  A City Hall Presentation, Walking Tour and Happy Hour!

Thursday, April 20th from 4:15pm - 8:30pm

Chicago City Hall, 121 N LaSalle Dr., Room 300A



Join Us for An Evening of TOD: A City Hall Presentation, Walking Tour, and Happy Hour at Hopewell Brewing!



The City of Chicago’s TOD Ordinance was the first major amendment to the Zoning Code overhaul completed almost a decade ago.  In the years since there have been many new transit-oriented developments near Blue Line stations and other El stops.



But what has it really accomplished and why has this taken off?  And what are the lessons for improving the Ordinance? 


Join CNU Illinois on April 20 at 4:15 for a presentation at City Hall led by the Ordinance’s chief proponent, Alderman Moreno.


Then around 5pm, we will take the Blue Line from Clark/Lake through Wicker Park/Bucktown, past new developments near the California station and on to Logan Square where we will have a walking tour lasting another 15 minutes.  Afterwards we will conclude with a happy hour at Hopewell Brewery.  


And if you can only make it to Hopewell, you're still welcome to geek out with fellow urbanists. Hopewell is at 2760 N. Milwaukee and easily accessed by the CTA Logan Square station on the Blue Line as well as the Milwaukee, Diversey, and Kimball buses.



Time and Places

April 20th, 2017


  • 4:15pm   Presentation, Conference Room B (2nd floor)

  • 5:10pm  Depart for Clark/Lake as a group and take the Blue Line to Logan Square Station

  • 5:30pm  Brief walking tour from Logan Square Station

  • 5:45pm  Hopewell Brewery at 2760 North Milwaukee Avenue (CNU IL will have a table)

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  • Wix Twitter page

March | Design That Draws

Thursday, March 16th from 8:30am - 11am

DePaul Loop Campus, 14 E. Jackson Blvd, Suite 1600


Joine CNU Illinois, APA Chicago Metro Section the Municipal Design Review Network(MDRN), and AIA-Chicago for a Panel on Design That Draws!


How can urban design help aging suburbs attract young professionals and families? This joint panel seeks to answer that question. Learn about our Panelists below.


Learn about our Panelists below.

  • Emi Adachi, Vice President of Investment Research at Heitman, will provide an overview of demographic change in suburban communities and trends among millennials.


  • Ferhat Zerin, Principal at Ginko Planning & Design, will discuss her work on downtown redevelopment projects in communities such as Schaumburg, and how urban design projects can attract new residents.


  • Eileen Franz, the Assistant Planning & Zoning Administrator in Elmhurst, will share how their community has worked to attract millennials and young families through investments in their downtown.

  • Wix Facebook page
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  • Wix Twitter page


The following events are being planned for 2017.



April:  TOD Happy Hour

May:  Placemaking Event

June:  Tactical Urbanism Event 

July: Happy Hour

August: Urban Excursion - Missing Middle Housing 

September: Annual Conference 

October: Happy Hour 

December: Holiday Party 


December | Holiday Party & Awards Ceremony

Thank you all for attending our annual holiday party at the Cliff Dwellers Club.   A special thanks to our 2016 jury; Brenda Kiesgen (site design group, ltd.), John Paige (Urban City of Chicago), Heather Smith (The Field Foundation of Illinois), Stacey Meekins (Sam Schwartz Engineering, Jury Chair) and Katie Daley (City of Chicago Planning Dept., Jury Co-Chair).

View the 2016 Charter Award Winners here.

October | Transit-oriented Drinks


TODrinks! Brought to you by CNU Illinois + APA CMS


CNU Illinois and APA Chicago Metro Section teamed up to bring you TODrinks, which was an opportunity to network and socialize with fellow planners, designers, urbanists, and city geeks. Thank you to those who attended and discussed the latest in urbanism, planning, design, and sustainable city building.


Pictures will be coming soon!



September | APA Mini Conference

Leaner. Quicker. Easier to deploy. And sensitive to different neighborhoods and scales. That’s tactical urbanism.
Pragmatic urbanism makes quick improvements to urban spaces to make them more livable and walkable and to build a constituency for longer term improvements. Tactical urbanism allows for vivid exploration at a cheap price tag. But what are best practices in tactical urbanism in Illinois? What innovative practices are out there?
For its annual state conference, CNU Illinois is hosting a “conference within a conference” to build a long term constituency to answer all of these questions. Our sessions are in partnership with APA Illinois and the APA-Illinois State Conference.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

11:45am - 1:00 pm

venueSix10 | Hilton Chicago, Gallery-10th Floor 

610 S Michigan Avenue

Chicago, IL 60605

Thursday September 29, 2016

5:30pm - 7:00 pm

Hilton Chicago, Buckingham Room 

720 S Michigan Avenue

Chicago, IL 60605

Please See the Individual Program Descriptions Below

Thanks to our Sponsors:

Co-Hosted by:

APA Illlinois Chapter

CNU Illinois 9:  Learning Panel on Pragmatic Urbanism


Wednesday, September 28th  

venueSix10 | Hilton Chicago, Gallery-10th Floor, 610 S Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605


As part one of this mini conference, three specialists will present on best practices in tactical urbanism across Illinois. Kareeshma Ali from Farr Associates will discuss lean urbanist interventions in the Downtown Rockford Strategic Action Plan. Katherine Darnstadt from Latent Design will present on the ACTIVATE! Public Space campaign in Chicago, and Heather Schady from the Active Transportation Alliance will present tactical approaches to Complete Streets in southern Cook County. Come listen and be inspired for quicker, cheaper, and more tactical approaches in your community.

Credit hours for CNU-a accredition will be available for this event.

CNU Illinois 9:  Tactical Urbanism SLAM!, Powered by PechaKucha Slam


Thursday, September 29th  

 Hilton Chicago, Buckingham Room, 720 S Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605


It’s back for the second straight year! CNU-IL and AIA will host a pecha kucha happy hour slam. Eight tactical urbanism presenters will present their project in 20 slides, 20 seconds each. Come listen, socialize, listen, eat, drink and be merry.


Please consider attending. Together, we urbanists can build a stronger learning cohort for tactical improvements to the urban environment. Can’t wait to see you there!



This event was organized by the Chicago Loop Alliance and discussed how downtowns have evolved as places with unique experiences beyond commerce and what it takes to compete.  Cities must provide a full range of lifestyle amenities such as active public spaces and collaborative workspaces. 


Pictures will be coming soon!


In partnership with the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, our walking tour saw multiple projects starting with the Lincoln Hub - a tactical urbanism installation created to calm traffic at Lincoln-Wellington-Southport, and to provide public art at a relatively low public cost. The tour then passed by one of Lakeview’s new transit-oriented developments (TOD) at the northwest corner of Lincoln and Roscoe for discussion of TOD's and their impact on the city.  The last stop was at the People Spot at 3339 N Lincoln to discuss the process and influence these installations have on the surrounding block. The tour ended at the Lakeview Live! Concert for a free beverage provided by the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, live music and food on Paulina just south of Roscoe.  We appreciate those that could make it and add to the passionate conversation.  




We appreciate all of the attendees who were able to participate in the tour of Rebuild Foundation and Theaster Gates' projects on Chicago's south side.  The tour began at the Stony Island Arts Bank - a hybrid gallery, media archive, library and community center; and then continued on with some of Rebuild’s additional sites in the surrounding Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood. After the tour, attendees were able to expore the Arts Bank's collections, including the Johnson Publishing Archive, Frankie Knuckles Records vinyl collection, and the photography exhibition "Ever Young" by James Barnor. Live musical performances by the Foundation's musicians in residence were enjoyed by all after the tour.  Thanks again for those who were able to attend!  


The Rebuild Foundation is a not-for-profit creative engine focused on cultural-driven redevelopment and affordable space initiatives in under-resourced communities, and currently manages projects in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood of Chicago. Rebuild Foundation is the creation of Chicago native, artist, urban planner, and Wall Street Journal 2012 Innovator of the Year, Theaster Gates, Jr. who has conducted innovative renovation of unused spaces and community service activities through his art practice since 2005.  To learn more about the Rebuild Foundation, visit

June | Live Podcast Event

CNU Illinois partnered with Newcity and MAS Context to present a live recording of "A Lot You Got to Holler," Newcity's podcast about architecture, urbanism and design that discussed what data can tell us about how our city functions.  The podcast featured co-hosts Ben Schulman, Newcity Design section editor, and architectural journalist, Zach Mortice, who interviewed John Tolva, former Chief Technology Officer for the City of Chicago, and president of PositivEnergy Practice.  The event was hosted at the Chicago Design Museum in the Block37 building.  


Thank you to those who participated in this event and made it a successful event!

June | CNU 24 - Detriot, Michigan



Thanks to all those who came to Detroit this year and attended the block party!  It was a great time to meet people, new and old, who reside in Illinois as well as meeting members in other states while sharing in various food truck options.  We hope those that attended left with a great experience in getting to know Detroit, others within the CNU community, and ideas to explore in their Illinois community.  





May | Motor Row Transit Oriented Happy Hour

Our May happy hour included new guests and season urbanisst coming together to discuss what CNU is all about.  Conversation included attendance at the CNU National Conference, details of the Chapter Block Party, and local topics.  Thank you to those who came and contributed to the conversation while enjoying a local brewmaster's many savory recipes in Motor Row. 


April | Chicago Urbanists Happy Hour

In April, there were close to thirty people, members and guests, who attended Begyle Brewery for an informal happy hour.  Guests, new and old, were reaquainted to start a new year off with urbanist discussions while enjoying local brews at this community supported brewing company in the Ravenswood Industrial Corridor. 





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