HUD With an Emphasis on the 'UD'

The federal government is attempting to pay closer attention to urban issues, and its Department of Housing and Urban Development is leading the way.

Next American City profiles HUD in transition, and talks with its secretary, Shaun Donovan, about what's going to be different.

"Obama's team took office in crisis mode, with housing the most pressing concern. They had to, at once, try to help keep Americans in their homes and promote an agenda of change and sustainability. Put another way, they had to help keep hard-hit sprawling suburbs, the least sustainable urban forms, above water, while promoting a nationwide agenda for sustainability. 'Chewing gum while walking' doesn't seem to do this justice, but those are the words HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan uses to describe their strategy.

Donovan believes the interagency partnership is the 'most potent' example of how the administration has used the housing crisis as an opportunity to lay a long-term foundation for sustainability and equity. 'For those who haven't worked in government,' he says, 'it may not seem like it's transformational, but the idea that my team is sitting in a room with [DOT head] Ray LaHood's team and [EPA director] Lisa Jackson's team evaluating TIGER [Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery] grant applications for streetcars and other critical infrastructure investments means that we're really transforming the sort of siloed approach that the federal government has traditionally taken.'"



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