John served as mayor of Milwaukee, Wis., from 1988 to 2004, a period during which the city experienced a decline in poverty and 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. He was named Public Official of the Year by Governing magazine and in 2008, received the Bacon Prize, named for visionary Philadelphia planner Ed Bacon. He also chaired the National League of Cities Task Force on Federal Policy and Family Poverty and served on the Amtrak Reform Council.
At CNU, he champions plans to replace freeways with boulevards and leads the Live/Work/Walk initiative — in which R Street is also a partner organization – which looks to remove federal housing finance rules that serve as obstacles to development of more mixed use urban projects. John is also 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.