Shaun Donovan, the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and a Harvard-trained architect, recently attended the ground-breaking ceremony for Via Verde, a mixed-income apartment community in the South Bronx that he says exemplifies the Obama administration’s “fundamentally different” approach to housing—a move away from the Corbusian, tabula rasa model to one that supports local visions of site design. RECORD’s Bryant Rousseau spoke with Donovan, 44, about the stimulus package, his focus on planning, and the opportunity for architects to play a larger role in transforming communities.
Bryant Rousseau: When the debate about the economic stimulus package was raging, architects had high hopes that the Recovery Act would provide a significant boost to their work, especially with regards to designing schools. It's fair to say they were disappointed with where the money was eventually directed. Can you give me a statistical sense of the impact the $13.6 billion in stimulus funding allocated to HUD has had on the architecture profession?