Changing land-use and development culture
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A new approach to the built environment requires comprehensive education on the part of regulators and land-use professionals, so that plans don’t just sit on the shelf. Like many aspects of Plan El Paso, the city has gone the extra mile in this area.
Perhaps the best professional education program focusing on New Urbanism is run jointly by the University of Miami and the Congress for the New Urbanism. Four hundred and thirty-seven (437) people have gone through the CNU-Accreditation (CNU-A) program, of which 17 percent of the total have been from El Paso. “In the most recent exam registration, residents of the City of El Paso made up 81 percent of the registrants,” notes Abigail Bouzan-Kaloustian of CNU.
Mathew McElroy, deputy director of Planning and Economic Development, explains the city’s education program:
“The New Urbanism and SmartCode were both very new for City of El Paso staff, the design community, and for developers. Everyone had heard of it, knew a tiny bit of it here and there, but no one that I came across could profess any real expertise. We had developers, for example, saying, ‘I have a great project, it’s got skinny streets!’ — never mind that the streets got