Lynn Richards, policy director of the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Sustainable Communities, will become the new president and chief executive officer of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) on July 1, the organization announced today. She succeeds John Norquist, who has served as CNU's president and CEO since 2004.

Founded in 1993, CNU advocates for walkable, mixed-used neighborhood development, sustainable communities, and healthier living conditions. Last year, Norquist served as the sustainable communities lead for Hanley Wood's Vision 2020 program, where he championed the need for more walkable, mixed-use developments across the country between now and the year 2020.

In her new role, Richards seeks to continue advancing the CNU mission. "We want to see more great places built. We want to build neighborhoods where more people can walk and bike. We want to create more vibrant and prosperous places that celebrate great design and development approaches," she said in a press release regarding her appointment. "To do this, we need to road-test innovative designs and policies, leverage the collective strength of our chapters together with allied state, regional and local organizations, and expand our partnerships."

Prior to working at the EPA, Richards worked in the former Soviet Republics helping environmental groups to increase their organizational and political effectiveness. She was awarded a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard's Graduate School of Design for the 2012-2013 academic year, and holds a Masters of Science in environmental science and a Masters in public affairs from Indiana University.

Richards' first introduction to CNU members will take place at the organization's annual conference June 4-7 in Buffalo, N.Y.