Scott Bernstein

Scott leads the Center for Neighborhood Technology. CNT works to understand and better disclose the economic value of resource use in urban communities, and helps craft strategies to capture the value of this efficiency productively and locally.

He studied at Northwestern University, served on the research staff of its Center for Urban Affairs, taught at UCLA and was a founding Board member at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Center. President Clinton appointed Scott to the President’s Council for Sustainable Development, where he co-chaired its task forces on Metropolitan Sustainable Communities and on Cross-Cutting Climate Strategies and to other Federal advisory panels on global warming, development strategy, and science policy.

He helped write a climate change strategy for the 1st 100 days of the new Administration. Scott is a Fellow of the Center for State Innovation, a Board Member of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and Congress for the New Urbanism, works with governors, mayors and metropolitan organizations across the U.S., and most recently helped create the Chicago Climate Action Plan at the request of Mayor Richard M. Daley. CNT is a signer of the Charter of the New Urbanism and Scott is a member of the Urban History Association, which includes urbanists old and new.

Some key ideas in this practice are that successful urban and metropolitan economies are “high-road,” that is, they provide higher wage, lower waste and most inclusive economic pathways; that they work best if founded on economies of scope or network economies as opposed to simple economies of scale, and that communities contain assets that too often are hidden, disconnected or poorly deployed; all of which are changeable conditions. A beneficial result of these ideas is a blurring of the lines between “consumers” and “producers” of public goods.


Sampling of Scott’s work includes:

Transportation Policy: Co-founded and chairs the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership, a national coalition which shifted federal policy toward greater local control, and currently serves as Chairman.

Location Efficiency and Affordable Housing: Led the development of the Location Efficient Mortgage® , which increases housing affordability by recognizing the value of convenient living, and the H + T Affordability Index®, to help working families recognize the full value of reducing transportation expenditures. 

Transit-Oriented Development: Co-founded the Center for Transit Oriented Development, which created the nation’s first National TOD Database, covering all 4,000 existing and developing TOD sites in the U.S. These resources provide new performance benchmarks for TOD.

Energy Efficiency: CNT has managed large-scale programs in partnership with energy utilities and foundations to deliver cost-effective energy services for multi-family, commercial, not-for-profit and industrial facilities. 

Green Infrastructure: Helped lead a civic network to question the premise of the proposed Deep Tunnel and Reservoir Program (an earlier “TARP”), arguing that “catching raindrops where they fall and reconnecting the city with regional ecology” made more sense than “bottling and treating rainstorms as a waste product.”


Awards: Scott and CNT have earned awards from the American Society of Landscape Architects; Renew America; the Enterprise Foundation; the Secretary of Energy; United States Environmental Protection Agency; the League of Women Voters; American Institute of Architects; National Housing Institute; Architects Developers and Planners for Social Responsibility; the Governor of Illinois; Mayor Daley of Chicago; Business & Professional People in the Public Interest, the National Information Infrastructure, and the MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Organizations, among others. In 1986, The Neighborhood Works (1978 – 1998), won the Peter Lisagor Award for Public Service Journalism.

Scott Bernstein President and Co-Founder CNT

Scott Bernstein

President and Co-Founder CNT

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Finance & Fiscal Impact
Housing & Community Design
Real Estate
Career Stage
  • Fellow
  • Next Gen
  • Mid-Career
  • Bridge
  • Encore
  • Emeritus