Membrane separations are critically important in areas ranging from healthcare and analytical chemistry to bioprocessing and water purification. An ideal nanoporous membrane would consist of a thin film with physically continuous and vertically aligned nanopores and would display a narrow distribution of pore sizes. However, the current state of the art departs considerably from this ideal and is beset by intrinsic trade-offs between permeability and selectivity. To circumvent this challenge, we have employed the strategy of polymerization of liquid crystals to form ordered nanoporous polymers and developed effective methods to control the orientation of the nanopores. I will discuss our recent success in making polymer membranes with vertically aligned 1-nm pores by magnetic field or soft confinement directed assembly of a crosslinkable liquid crystal. And I will also talk about a more sustainable strategy to fabricate polymer membranes with such a morphology using renewable feedstocks.