Peter Katz, Better! Cities & Towns
Read Parts One and Two.
When several members of CNU’s board first met with HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, they were intrigued to learn that he’d been coming to Kentlands, a DPZ-designed TND in Gaithersburg, MD, for years to better understand the principles of New Urbanism, and how they could be applied to public housing. By the time Cisneros made his 1996 appearance at CNU IV in Charleston, South Carolina, he and special assistant Marc Weiss were already geared up to launch a major initiative with CNU’s newly-formed inner-city task force.
It was a great start to a collaboration that would have a lasting impact on both organizations. Importantly, it also had a major impact on the physical form of America’s public housing, most notably through HUD’s HOPE VI and Homeownership Zone programs.
Probably the toughest accomplishment of my tenure as CNU director was related to the organization’s collaboration with HUD. The agency wanted to showcase New Urbanism examples in its educational materials about inner-city redevelopment, but it was reluctant to adopt the term itself or to cite New Urbanism planning principles in any of its official funding documents.